Slate flooring unlike some other hard surface flooring such as marble, is very porous and therefore more susceptible to embedded soiling and staining. Therefore it is a good idea to seal slate floors when they are installed, and re-seal 1 or 2 times a year; if the slate floor was not sealed when it was installed, sealing it after a thorough cleaning is a good time. Placing area mats or small rugs (but not rubber-backed that might stick to the slate) over slate flooring by sinks or other areas susceptible to spills or exposed to heavy traffic is also recommended. Maintain the slate floor by dry mopping frequently based on the amount of traffic the floor gets. You can also vacuum using a soft brush attachment.
When it is time to clean your slate floor the following materials will be necessary – a broom, dust mop, bucket with warm water and mild detergent (clothes washing detergent will work), and a mop for cleaning with (but check that it isn’t an oil-based mop). Now proceed through the following steps:
- sweep the floor thoroughly
- use a dust mop to get the finer dust and particles – keep the mop moving in one direction instead of a back and forth motion which can just move dust and debris around
- fill the bucket with 2-3 gallons of warm water and 1-2 tablespoons of laundry detergent (vary the amount of cleaning solution you mix to the size of your job). Don’t use acid based cleaners such as vinegar that can cause damage to slate.
- mop the slate floor with long slow smooth strokes, rinsing and wringing the mop frequently
- clean the bucket and mop, refill the bucket with some warm water, and rinse the floor with another mopping (no detergent)
- let the floor dry before walking; install wet floor signs if the slate floor has public traffic
When there are spills on slate flooring –
- wipe up (and mop up if necessary) with paper toweling or clean cloths
- in the grout lines use a small nylon brush to agitate and rinse if necessary
- sprinkle on baking soda – dampen the grout with a wet sponge and then sprinkle with baking soda; let it sit for a few minutes then scrub with small stiff nylon brush (old tooth brushes can work but never use brushes with metal bristles on grout) and use the sponge to wipe down – if you are happy with the results, use this process as part of your regular cleaning maintenance program.
- spray on hydrogen peroxide – hydrogen peroxide can weaken and discolor fibers but it is a very effective disinfectant (and will keep mold and mildew from growing in shower stalls, etc.); it may also lighten the grout as it works (so if you have colored grout test it first); dilute 50/50 with warm water and spray on; let sit 15 minutes; wipe off with a clean wet sponge; don’t mix it with anything else
- for colored grout try shaving cream; test in an inconspicuous area; let sit for 15 minutes and rinse off
- oxygen bleach time – oxygen bleach time won’t effect colors compared to chlorine bleach; however it takes more time for the oxygen reaction to work, so the longer you let it sit, the better it will work and the less agitation with brushes you will have to do; fill the grout lines with the oxygen bleach powder diluted in warm water; let sit for 30 minutes and then scrub lightly as you apply more solution to the grout lines; the oxygen ions will continue to work for up to 6 hours and will attack the most stubborn stains including red wine and beet juice; when you feel the job is complete, rinse the grout with a clean wet sponge.
- steam cleaning – steam cleaning with pressure can dislodge particles and debris embedded in the grout that might not be dislodged with wiping; for smaller areas use an held hand iron on the steam setting about an inch above the grout; wipe off with a clean wet sponge when finished; because steam with pressure can dislodge bacteria from grout, it can be an effective and efficient method for large areas such as athletic locker rooms, etc. by a professional with large steam cleaning equipment.
If you have any questions about your tile and grout cleaning needs, call Ram Cleaning Services at 403-291-1051 and ask to speak to one of our cleaning representatives
Complete cleaning and maintenance in Calgary and area since 1967
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