Types of Floor Cleaners

It is important to know what types of tiles you have before choosing a tile and grout cleaning product.  Ceramic and porcelain tiles will not be damaged by any type of alkaline, acidic or pH neutral cleaners that are designed for cleaning tile, grout and stone. When cleaning stone tiles and grout only specific types of cleaners can be used that will not dull, damage or etch the finish of the natural stone tiles.

When cleaning tile, grout and stone it is important to only use cleaning product specifically designed for cleaning tile, grout and stone.  Tile, grout and stone specific cleaners are designed specifically to be effective at cleaning tile and grout while still being easily rinsed up and removed. It is also important to not use any type of vinegar, bleach, dish washing detergent or other normal household cleaning products when cleaning tile and grout.

Viscous cleaners like dish washing detergent are extremely difficult to rinse up and remove from tile and grout surfaces.  Household cleaners can be caustic to certain types of tiles and they were never specifically designed for cleaning tile grout and stone. Household cleaners can also leave a soapy residue on the tiles and grout that can attract dirt and accumulate on the surface. This dirty soapy residue can be difficult to remove and may require a professional tile, grout and stone cleaning and restoration professional to remove this soapy residue.

Tile and grout cleaning cleaning products are divided into three (3) distinct categories: Alkaline, Acidic and PH Neutral.

  1. Alkaline based cleaning products are aggressive alkaline based cleaners with a high pH value of typically pH 12 or above.
  2. Acidic based tile and grout cleaners are extremely effective at cleaning grout.
  3. PH neutral cleaners are the most gentle type of cleaning product used for cleaning tile and grout.


Find out more from the professionals at Virginia Stone Restoration. Give us a call at 571-488-1892.

Information from

travertine, tile floor, stone restoration, fairfax, virginia, great falls

Waxing Natural Stone Floors

A problem on natural stone floors we often encounter is black grout lines, black spots in the floor and general dinginess. This is from wax being applied to the floor. Never apply wax to the top of a natural stone floor. Unfortunately, this is a mistake too many homeowners have made. Let’s discuss why this happens, and how it can be fixed.


First, there are some floors where applying wax is appropriate. In the kitchen, wax used to be applied on linoleum floors. The floors looked great, but it was a very labor intensive process. The result was a no-wax linoleum floor. This is probably the reason we see wax applied in kitchens. Wood floors used to be waxed and buffed. This has fallen out of use in favor of more permanent polyurethane finish. On the commercial side, there is Vinyl Composition Flooring, or VCT tile. This is in many grocery stores. It looks great when waxed. Unfortunately, many janitorial companies think applying wax to any floor is a good idea.

At first, it looks like a great idea! It will make the floor look shiny and highly reflective. Then people begin using it. High traffic areas get walked on, and dirt gets trapped in the wax. The grout lines turn black first, then the pores of the stone turn black. Finally, nearly all of the shine fades away. The result are the black grout lines, black spots and dinginess explained above.

The problem is compounded when more coats of wax are applied to the top. They temporarily lighten up the black grout lines, but then turn black again.


    First we need to determine if the natural stone floor has sanded or unsanded grout. If it is unsanded grout, the wax can be stripped from the floor. This will make the floor look better instantly. The grout lines will return to their original color.


    Once the wax is stripped from the grout, the floor can then be honed and polished.


    For sanded grout, the fix is more complex. Sometimes the wax can be stripped from sanded grout, other times the wax is stuck in the grout lines. The typical result is removing 90% of the wax, and having discolored grout lines on the remainder.


    The ultimate fix removes all the sanded grout with a grout saw. Then the grout is reapplied and allowed to cure. Then we can grind down the floor, hone and polish.


    Stone Cleaner:

    A pH neutral stone cleaner maintains a floor best. I recommend against using a spray mops on natural stone floors. The spray chemical has very small amounts of wax in it, and this builds up over time.


    If you are in Northern Virginia, and you think wax was applied to your stone floor, give us a call at 571-488-1892 to discuss.