Can you clean that spot again? Anatomy of a stain…

Occasionally, we get a customer who asks us to re-clean a certain spot because they think we must have missed it the first time.

In order to set the homeowner’s expectations, we like to do a test cleaning around one tile during the quotation process.  The test tile allows us to determine what method of cleaning the customer will be most happy with (based on cost and results).  Sometimes, we are lucky enough to choose a test tile that has hidden grout stains.  This allows us to demonstrate what stains are and whether or not we will be able to remove them.  Often though we choose a tile that is free of deep stains and we do a fantastic job of removing the dirt, cleaning residue, and light stains.  When the test tile comes out perfect, the customer’s expects the entire floor to look as good as the test tile.  However, during the floor cleaning we will uncover any of these grout stains if they are present.    Unfortunately, there is no amount of cleaning (or re-cleaning) that will remove these deep stains.  The stain has soaked into the grout and it cannot be removed by simply cleaning the surface.  This is where the homeowner usually asks us to re-clean a few spots on the floor.

Let’s take a look at some pictures that tell this story.

Stain Blog - 1st - Stain befroe cleaning
Picture taken before cleaning was started.



In this first picture, the floor has not been cleaned.  At this point it is very difficult if not impossible to see any grout staining.  This is because when the grout is dirty, you are unable to differentiate between dirty and stained.  I apologize the pic is a little blurry.
Stain Blog - 1st - Stain befroe cleaningStain Blog - 1st - Stain befroe cleaning







After tile cleaning
The stain was discovered during the cleaning.











In the second picture, you can see the obvious stain in the grout.  Many times a customer will think this spot needs to be treated and cleaned again.  Unfortunately, there is no amount of cleaning that will pull the stain out of the grout.  Something spilled here and it was not cleaned up immediately.  Therefore, it soaked deep into the grout and became permanent.








Stain Blog - 3rd - Stain after drying3
The stained grout has had time to dry.

























The third picture is of the same stain but it has had time to dry.  You can still see the stain, but it is not so pronounced when it is dry.  This picture was taken about a week after the initial restoration.

On this particular floor, the customer had already decided on the color seal solution.  So, they were not too concerned with the color difference in the grout due to the stain.  We came back a few days after the cleaning in order to apply the color sealant.















Stain Blog - 4th - Stain after color
Stain is now covered by the color sealant!



Finally, the last picture was taken after the grout was color sealed.



















So what do you do if we “uncover” a stain in your floor?

  • You may choose to live with it.  After all, we do live on our floors and the stains don’t affect your quality of life!
  • You may choose to have the grout removed and replaced.  Look out though.  It can be a mess and it is difficult to match the new grout color to the old grout color.
  • You may choose to have us color seal the grout which will completely cover the stains and make the grout look new.

In conclusion, we may find stains on your grout after we’ve cleaned your floor.  If you are looking for perfect grout, you may want to consider a color sealant.  Otherwise, the vast majority of our customers are thrilled with the results of our cleaning.