Tiles and grout in kitchens and bathrooms are undoubtedly very difficult to maintain, especially if you are using only standard household cleaning tools and procedures.
If you are anything like me, chances are that you have already tried the oxygen bleach solution, as well as the many cleaning products retailed in your local supermarket.
After scratching my elbows and firmly scrubbing the grout in my bathroom in an attempt to eliminate, or at least reduce the number of stains produced by soap scum and dirt, I decided that I needed to finally upgrade my old and totally ineffective brush to a more technologically advanced cleaning machine.
To save you hours of browsing through products and reading reviews, I am going to list a couple of tips that will most definitely help you make the right choice.
Adjustable Temperature Levels
Look for a cleaning machine with adjustable temperature levels.
If there is something I learned after personally trying lots of tile and grout cleaning machines from manufacturers like Kleenjet and XTreme Power, it’s that the importance of having adjustable temperature levels can not be stressed enough.
I am personally using a steam cleaning machine that can heat up to 356 degrees, which allows the water to boil much faster, therefore producing a lot more steam to clean, sterilize and deodorize my tile and grout.
You will most definitely need this for your kitchen if the floor is tiled and grouted, because there is a good chance that stains, dirt and odors have infiltrated their porous surface, making the entire room look and smell terrible.
310 degrees is a decent alternative if you cannot afford spending $3,000 or upwards, as most high-quality commercial-grade steam cleaning machines are expensive – very expensive!
Stainless Steel Boiler
Opt for a machine that has a stainless steel boiler.
One of the biggest mistakes I made with my first tile & grout steam cleaning machine was buying a cheap model that came with ABS plastic boiler, as it started to distort right after the second use.
If you are planning on spending more than $1,000 on your machine, you certainly do not want to throw it away after a month or two just because the boiler could not withstand the high temperature of the boiling water.
As such, I recommend going for a stainless steel boiler, as it will properly handle any temperature without distorting.
If you need to clean a larger surfaces on a regular basis (i.e. weekly or fortnightly), choose a more capacitive boiler – 3 or 4 ounces should be enough, as most steam cleaners use little water to produce the steam.
Portability is a must have!
Living in a large home can be a burden when it comes to cleaning, so you need a machine that is versatile and can be easily ported from room to room (if they have tiled and grouted floors).
Though it might add a couple of dollars more to the initial price value of your machine, you should confidently spend the money since you will be able to work faster and easier thereafter.
I have tiled floors in all three bathrooms in my house, as well as in my kitchen, and a portable cleaner helped me a ton, as it had wheels that made it simpler to maneuver and carry around.
If your house has more than one level, portability becomes a must-have – trust me, those small devices are a lot heavier than they seem, and you will certainly have a hard time carrying them up and downstairs.
Integrated Vacuum Extraction
Go for integrated vacuum extraction if you can.
It is no secret that tiles and grout have porous surfaces where dirt can easily infiltrate. Though a steam cleaner can be extremely efficient at removing stains, and killing off bad odors, it will not do very much for the dirt that is stuck within your floors.
There is a particular feature I value a lot in steam cleaning machines – vacuum extraction.
As its name suggests, this feature allows the machine to extract the dirt from your tiles and grout, which cuts cleaning time in half, helping you keep your floors looking like new.
It is important to keep in mind that unlike your regular hard floor canister vacuum cleaner, most tile & grout cleaning machines are expensive, meaning that you should pay very close attention before buying one.
Unless you are like me and can afford spending a few thousand dollars every now and then on something that’s valuable for your home, I suggest researching products in a price range you can afford, then browsing through other housekeepers’ reviews to make sure that you will be making the right choice. A great place to start is none other than Amazon.com’s marketplace.