Clean tile and grout looks attractive but provides other benefits. Beneath the surface, there are elements that can affect health. Positive health effects are realized by keeping tile and grout clean. In a commercial environment, this means fewer sick employees, which can result in improved productivity. This illustrates the importance of janitorial services to the operation of a commercial building.
Restrooms are typically the largest tiled surfaces in a building, with tile covering the floors, walls, and even countertops. Grout is used to bind the tiles and is comprised of water, cement, and a binding agent that adheres it to the tile and the surface being covered. Additional ingredients may be included to protect grout against moisture and water. A waterproofing additive can make a tiled surface appear more lustrous.
Tile and grout seem innocuous in themselves but danger lurks. Moisture exposure and reactions with the environment can cause grout to lose its integrity. This allows water and other moisture to enter, creating damage that cannot be reversed. Simply look at a chipped, cracked, or loose tile to see what can happen. Colonies of mildew tend to develop, creating an unhealthy situation for all who encounter the area.
Mildew is a form of mold, which is a fungi. To develop and reproduce, it requires only warmth and moisture. Within 24 hours of moisture residing on grout, colonies of mildew can develop. In the typical person, inhalation of airbound mildew spores creates coughing, sneezing, a stuffed or runny nose, skin itching or irritation, or inflamed and watery eyes. Some people experience a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
If grout and tile feature a chemical waterproofing additive, surface stains can be removed with a mild cleaning solution that will not damage the protective coating. Commercial cleaning products designed for tile and grout or a combination of bleach and water should be used on unprotected surfaces. Spraying the cleaner onto the surface, scrubbing with a circular motion, and rinsing the area with clean water should remove mildew. To prevent moisture from entering the grout, the area should be dried.
An air conditioner unit with a dehumidifier or a standalone dehumidifying unit will draw moisture out of the area. An electric fan also helps to remove moisture from air by producing a room temperature air current that evaporates water molecules. A subsurface extractor is typically used by professional cleaners working in large areas where moisture must be removed.