What is dirt?
I looked it up and was surprised at how villainous the word dirt is made out to be. If you look up the origin of the word, it’s even scarier. From a cleaning viewpoint the most functional way to look at dirt is as a misplaced particle. In the yard dirt is soil. On your floor, soil is dirt. In a frying pan, oil makes food yummy. Splattered on the floor, oil becomes grease – an awful sounding word! One thing we do know is that dirt is indestructible. It can’t be made to disappear. It can only be moved to a more desirable location like a mop or washrag or your neighbor’s yard.
How effective is mopping?
Mops are made of cotton or sponge; they both absorb liquid. We put the mop in a pail to absorb the cleaning detergent, wring it out and proceed to mop. We put the dirty mop back into the now dirty cleaning solution and continue to mop. We repeat, using dirtier and dirtier water as we go along, until finished.
Where does the dirt go when you mop?
You will see a lot of dirt in the cleaning solution pail. And I’m sure you’ve notice no matter how much you rinse the mop it never returns to its original color. So where is the dirt? It’s dissolved into the cleaning solution and distributed between the pail, mop, floor, grout and edges of the room. A film of soil is left on the tile and the rest is moved to the edges and into the grout. Over time this accumulates.
What can be done to break down and remove grease and detergents that attract soil?
To remove the grease and residue the floor would have to be cleaned a few times changing the water and detergent each time. You would also need to do a fresh-water mopping with a new mop to get the detergent out. If it has already accumulated in the grout and along the edges, a lot of hand scrubbing and rinsing is in order. Sounds like a permanent item on your To Do List (meaning it never gets done).
Professionals use specialized products and equipment that makes the task much easier and much more effective.
Another thing to keep in mind is that deep cleaning the grout breaks down the sealant. Sealant deters the rapid absorption of soil and extends the life of the cleaning dramatically. So, once deep cleaned, a sealant should be reapplied.
How often should tile be cleaned?
It depends on your lifestyle. If you eat out all the time and rarely use your stovetop, it could be quite a while. If you stir-fry every day, and have lots of foot traffic, it could be quite often. Kids? Pets? You get the picture. If the grout was properly re-sealed and if a relatively clean mop is used for regular cleaning, it could be quite a while before you notice a darkening of the grout. At this point it would be a good idea to have a professional come and clean your tile and grout again. Or you may like the look!