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HARD SURFACE CLEANING TIPS

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What every consumer should know about tile and grout cleaning…

We are so excited for this opportunity to provide you with information about hard surface care and help you choose a tile cleaning and maintenance company.

It seems that hard surface care is the subject of much confusion. In fact, people have so many misconceptions about hard surfaces, we decided to offer this consumer education message so when you select a tile floor care company, you can make an informed, intelligent decision.

We’ll share with you:

  • Simple tests for determining your stain protection levels
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about cleaning hard surfaces
  • Easy care tips to keep those hard surface floors sparkling clean
  • Spot removal techniques the pros are using

If you have ANY of these hard surfaces, in or surrounding your home, you need this information!

  • Ceramic tile
  • Grout
  • Porcelain tile
  • Flagstone
  • Concrete
  • Slate
  • Travertine
  • Clay pavers
  • Brick
  • Any other natural stone surface

Cleaning hard surfaces isn’t easy. The biggest problem we all face with today’s hard surfaces is ‘protection’ or ‘repellency’. Most surfaces have not been properly sealed, if at all. Hard surfaces that are unsealed or are sealed with poor quality sealers are a sponge for oil, food or beverage spills, which can result in permanent staining. Proper sealing can and will lead to easier maintenance. This will protect your hard surface investments, allowing you to take proper care of them, while adding beauty and value to your home.

Did you know?

  • Vinegar and ammonia can damage most sealers?
  • Most contractors do not seal the surfaces they install?
  • Many floor cleaning products leave a residue that can inhibit sealers and attract soil faster?

In this fact-filled consumer’s message you will learn how to properly maintain your hard surfaces.

So, let’s get started!

HARD SURFACE STAIN PROTECTION AND REPELLENCY TESTS

Here is a simple water based stain protection test you can do in your own home:

  1. Take a spoonful of water and pour it on the hard surface you wish to test, including any grout
  2. Wait about 15 minutes
  3. Visual Test: Did the water absorb? Did the color change?
  4. Using a clean white absorbent cloth, ‘dab’ the excess moisture.
  5. Touch Test: Does the tile or grout feel wet? Does moisture still feel evident?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your hard surfaces are not sealed correctly and are vulnerable to staining. Give us a call to talk about proper sealing applications.

Most contractors do not seal the surfaces they install for various reasons. The main reason is that it can’t be done until at least 3 days after installation, which means they’d have to come back. Most contractors don’t offer a protection service so they don’t even inform consumers of the importance of this process. However, the benefits of sealing are obvious. There are some sealers available to the general public through hardware stores, etc. Unfortunately, they are inferior to sealers that a hard surface professional would use. Some need repetitive application, some are too easily ‘washed’ off with general maintenance products, and some only protect against water based stains, leaving your floor vulnerable.

Even if you use the best sealers available, without a solid understanding of the product and the specific surface you are sealing, you still won’t have a properly sealed floor. Only specific training and years of experience can give you the knowledge required to get maximum protection for your hard surfaces.

Sealed surfaces do not allow penetration of liquids that can become permanent. Protect your hard surfaces today for a fraction of the cost of replacement. You won’t be sorry!

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Hard Surfaces

Q: I have been told that bleaching the grout lines will make them look whiter? Is this true?
A: Bleach will make them brighter, but you may need to check with the grout manufacturer before starting, to be sure the color wasn’t dyed, or bleach will certainly remove the color.

Q: I have what looks like water stains on the tiles in my kitchen, what can they be and how can I remove them?
A: So called “water” stains could be several different things, depending on the particular tile you have. Most of the time, water or mineral deposits can be removed with either polishing with honing powders and a hog hair pad or by using specific acid cleaners. Please DO NOT attempt either of these without proper training, as you may permanently damage the tile. To remove these stains it may be necessary to contact a professional.

Q: I bought a ‘steamer’ to clean my tile floors with. It works pretty well, but some of the grout lines are cracking? What should I do?
A: First, stop all ‘steaming’ until you have the grout repaired. Moisture that gets between the tile and sub-floor will be trapped under your tiles and will expand and loosen tile from the concrete or sub-floor.Rinsing the floor is a good thing, BUT, you need the right products to make sure you are not damaging the sealer.

Q: How long will sealers last?
A: That depends on the sealer, the method of application, and the frequency and type of maintenance. Your sealer can last anywhere from six months to ten years or more.

This is just a sample of the various questions asked by new clients. For more answers to your questions about hard surfaces, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

And now, here are some

Easy Care Tips To Keep Those Hard Surface Floors Sparkling Clean

  • At entry points to areas with hard surfaces, place floor mats for soil and moisture removal. The less brought in, the less to clean.
  • Regular vacuuming. Some surfaces don’t always appear to need cleaning, but assume it does. As sure as dust settles on a windowsill, so it does on the floors. Be sure to use a vacuum with a floor height adjustment on the lowest setting.
  • Avoid spills as much as possible. Hot liquid spills are especially hazardous and a lot harder to clean up because they can penetrate more rapidly. Spot removal should be done as soon an accident occurs.
  • After mopping, open windows or turn on fans to get air circulating. The faster it dries the better the results and less chance for rapid re-soiling.
  • If area rugs or throw rugs are used to decorate or ‘soften’ interior hard surfaces, be sure to use non-skid pads. The ‘backings’ used by most manufacturers of area rugs are abrasive. Contrary to popular belief, the non-skid pads are excellent. It is recommended that they are taken up and floors cleaned under them every month.
  • Chairs and tables on hard surface areas could cause serious damage to floors if the legs are not protected. Teflon or felt can be used to prevent abrasive damage caused by furniture.
  • Clean and rinse your floors often, once per month in low traffic areas and at least weekly in high traffic or kitchen areas. Rinse with plain water.
  • Allow dwell time for stubborn spots and stains. Cleaning products are not magic. The longer they sit on that stubborn spot the better they work. Extra rinsing may be needed after the stain is removed. If a stain appears permanent, DON”T PANIC, call us!

Here are some Spot Removal Techniques The Professionals Use In Their Homes

Dry Soil: Hard surfaces should be cleaned regularly with just warm water and a clean, non-abrasive cloth, sponge or a mop. Neutral cleaners should be used and will help remove soils that normal mopping and dusting leave behind.

Liquid Spills – Lightly blot the excess liquid with a clean, dry, white cloth. As the cloth becomes saturated be sure to turn frequently. If color from the liquid is still evident, lightly mist neutral cleaner to the floor, allow 5 minutes dwell time, then wipe in a circular motion with a clean dry cloth. Repeat if necessary. Rinse with water and towel dry.

Food Spills – Scoop up excess foodstuffs from the floor. Then blot excess liquid residues left by the food. Using a damp white cloth, dab or lightly wipe the floor in a circular motion. Spray neutral cleaner lightly to avoid overwetting, let it dwell 5 minutes, and wipe dry using a dry white cloth. Rinse with water and towel dry.

Oily Stains/Spots – Blot up the excess. Spray with neutral cleaner, cover with 2-4 dry paper towels, apply a weight (books work well), and allow a dwell time of 30 minutes. Lift the weight and check the paper towels. If all the towels are damp with stain and cleaner, the process is working. If no dampness has occurred, apply more neutral cleaner to the stain, let it sit 15 minutes, then check again. Wipe dry with a clean white cloth; if the stain is not removed, consult the Hard Surface cleaning professionals at Lack’s Cleaning Service.

Mud and Clay – Let mud or clay dry completely. Vacuum. Remove dried mud excess using a soft nylon brush, or lightly with an old toothbrush. Spray the remainder with neutral solution, and wipe clean with a clean white cloth. If grout lines are still affected, apply small amounts of clear, sugar-free club soda and let it sit one minute, then wipe dry.

Acidic Spills – Liquids and substances such as soft drinks, coffee, pet urine, vomit, vinegar, orange juice, wine, or mustard are highly acidic. If not removed in an urgent manner these could etch some surfaces. In the case of an acidic spill or accident, follow the most suitable spot removal procedure described previously. Some spills will fall into a few categories such as the case of tomato paste. Tomatoes being acidic, solid as a food, liquid from the juices and oily from the paste will be difficult to remove and you may want to consult a hard surface professional at Lack’s Cleaning Service immediately.

As with all spill occurrences, if the floors have been properly sealed and protected, the barrier created between the spill and the surface will dramatically increase the chances of successful removal.

Do’s And Don’ts On Indoor Hard Surface Care

  • Do a regular ‘damp mop.’ Use a dry non-treated dust mop. It is the unseen dirt and grit that damages hard surfaces. Prevention is the best fix.
  • Do keep off floors until dry, wet floors may be slippery.
  • Do everything possible to prevent accidents with perfumes, toothpaste, and makeup. These often contain harmful ingredients that may degrade your sealer.
  • Do all you can to prevent over-spraying of aerosols in areas with protected hard surfaces. Air fresheners, bug sprays and other surface cleaners can settle on your floors and leave a residue making cleaning a bigger chore. Be careful when using furniture polish sprays, as some may make the floor too slick for safety.
  • Do consult your cleaning professionals at Lack’s Cleaning Service about our maintenance plans.
  • Don’t use vinegar, bleach, or ammonia for cleaning.
  • Don’t use abrasive products such as dry or wet compound cleansers, or tub and tile cleaners.
  • Don’t use store bought citrus based (lemon or orange) solvent cleaners.
  • Don’t drag furniture across hard surfaces. Also avoid dropping heavy items onto hard surfaces.
  • Don’t scrub hard surfaces. If properly sealed, light duty cleaning is all that should be necessary.
  • Don’t attempt to re-color grout lines. There are professional applications that can restore your grout to new-looking color. In fact, any color of the rainbow can be chosen.
  • Don’t over wet floors when cleaning, and always remove excess moisture. Air circulation helps speed up dry times.
  • Don’t break your back trying to get those floors looking the best they can be. Consult your floor care company for advice or a free written price quote.

To learn more about our maintenance plans designed to keep your hard surfaces beautiful, clean and healthy click here or call us at (623) 776-1534.

And now, here’s

A Maintenance Plan You’ll Wish You Implemented The Day Of Installation!

Initial Clean:
Have your floor care expert at Lack’s Cleaning Service advise you on the plan of attack for restoring your floor (if needed). Discuss repair work, stripping, grout coloring, repair, oil stain removal, etc. Inquire about the best sealing product available to you for your particular hard surface. Get that initial clean and protection service completed.

Initial Maintenance:
Ask your Lack’s Cleaning Service professional about techniques for use of neutral cleaners on your floors or countertops. Vacuum these surfaces on a regular basis and damp mop as needed. Spot clean with urgency.

Semi-Annual Cleaning:
Schedule a mid-year professional cleaning by Lack’s Cleaning Service. Over a 6-month period, your floors are likely to gather light build up of dust and other foreign particles that may require a high heat extraction process for removal.

Spring/ Fall Maintenance Clean:
Take up all rugs and non-skid pads, remove all moveable furniture. Vacuum, apply a heavier application of revitalizing neutral cleaner and damp mop.

Annual Cleaning:
Schedule an annual maintenance cleaning. This will include a full steam cleaning and re-application of sealer. A full inspection of wear patterns and other problem areas is recommended.

EXPERIENCE GUARANTEED HARD SURFACE CLEANING SERVICES, RISK-FREE!

Hard surfaces are an investment in your home’s value and resale ability. Don’t trust your next cleaning service to an amateur. No professional cleaning service can offer you an honest price quote over the telephone. It is an absolute must that you obtain a FREE written, itemized audit before hiring any company to work on your hard surfaces.

Be sure the company has a 100% No-Risk Guarantee, and has testimonies from satisfied clients. Certifications and endorsements are also signs of a company to do business with. Ask what, if any, continued education the cleaning technicians receive.

Hopefully this information has shown you that cleaning and maintaining your hard surfaces isn’t really the daunting task it appears to be. There are people out there who offer professional help, such as the professionals at Lack’s Cleaning Service. Call now to schedule a FREE HARD SURFACES INSPECTION—it’s more than just an estimate—to give you a complete evaluation of your floors and to show you how our services will benefit you. It’s time you stopped breaking your back, so you can sit back, relax and let the professionals at Lack’s Cleaning Service take care of your hard surfaces!

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