Alkaline, Acidic, and Ph Neutral Tile, Grout and Stone Cleaning Products

Best Tile and Grout Cleaning Products

By Troy Cantini

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.

sealing tile countertop grout

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.

Alkaline based cleaning products are aggressive alkaline based cleaners with a high pH value of typically pH 12 or above.  These types of cleaners are designed to aggressively react with dirt, grease and other types of organic grime that is common in on tile floors and in the grout lines. These types of cleaners are relatively inexpensive and work extremely well at cleaning even the most dirty types dirt grease and grime. Being an alkaline cleaner does not make it any more harmful to use than other common cleaning supplies but you do not want to expose your skin, eyes other body parts to this cleaner for an extended period of time. You should thoroughly rinse your eyes out if an alkaline cleaner gets accidentally splashed in your eyes. You should always read the manufactures instructions when handling any type of alkaline cleaning product.

An example of an alkaline tile and grout cleaner is Stonetech Klenzall. The one quart container will clean approximately 200 Sq/ft of dirty tile and grout. You can use the Klenzall on virtually any types of tile grout and stone tiles. Stonetech Klenzall will give you excellent deep cleaning results without damaging or etching even the most delicate stone tiles. It is important to thoroughly rinse away the alkaline cleaning product after you have cleaned your tile, grout and stone and do not allow the Klenzall to dry on the surface of your tiles.

Acidic based tile and grout cleaners are extremely effective at cleaning grout.  Acidic cleaners work by reacting with the cements in the grout to remove dirt from the grout. A small top layer of grout will be also be removed by the acidic cleaner to reveal the underlying clean grout. Acidic base grout cleaners are particularly effective at cleaning and whitening white grouts that have stubborn stains in them. Acidic cleaners are also extremely effective at cleaning up and removing soap scum and hard water deposits in ceramic and porcelain tile showers.

An example of an acidic cleaner designed for cleaning tile and grout is Stonetech's Restore.  A one gallon container will clean approximately 1000 sq/ft of tile and grout.

Acidic cleaners are safe to use on ceramic and porcelain tiles but they should never be used on most types of stone tiles.  Acidic cleaners will quickly etch the finish of most types of stone tiles especially calcite based tiles like marble, travertine and limestone. There are some types slate and granite tiles that non acid sensitive. For these types of non acid sensitive tiles an acidic cleaner can be used but it is always important to first test the acidic cleaner on the tiles to ensure you will not etch or discolor the tiles.

PH neutral cleaners are the most gentle type of cleaning product used for cleaning tile and grout.  Ph neutral cleaners are not as effective at dissolving dirt, grease and grime than the other types of cleaning products. They are good for everyday tile and grout cleaning purposes. The advantage of pH neutral cleaners is that they can be heavily diluted in water and therefore they do not need to be effectively rinsed away like alkaline and acidic based cleaners. Ph neutral cleaners are safe to use on all types of tile, grout and stone without worrying about damaging even the most delicate stone tiles.

An example of a quality pH neutral tile and grout cleaning product is Stonetech's All Purpose Cleaner.  It is highly concentrated and you only need to use 2-4 ounces per gallon of hot water.

Another advantage of pH neutral tile and grout cleaners is that they will not break down any of the sealers that have been applied to the tiles and grout.  In cases where the grout has been painted with a grout colorant then a pH neutral cleaner is the only type of cleaner that should be used on a grout colorant. Grout colorants clean up extremely easy using only pH neutral cleaners so more aggressive types of cleaning products are not necessary. Also aggressive alkaline and acidic cleaners will break down the grout colorant when used repeatedly over time. Ph neutral cleaners will not damage the surrounding surfaces when cleaning the tiles and grout. Wood floors, stainless steel appliances, painted surfaces and wallpaper can all be potentially stained, etched or damaged with alkaline and acidic cleaning supplies.

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