I’m often asked about using a no-rinse cleaner for maintaining stone, tile and grout. People are always looking for the quickest way to clean their tile and grout with the least amount of effort and may decide to use a no-rinse floor cleaner rather than rinsing when cleaning their tile floor.
Both types of cleaners do a good job of loosening dirt from the tile and grout surface and floating it to the top for removal. But what’s the difference between rinsing and using a no-rinse tile and grout cleaner?
Most cleaners “do what they do” using surfactants. A surfactant is an additive that increases waters “wetness”. I know, sounds strange right? By decreasing waters surface tension, surfactants allow cleaners to be more effective at lifting the dirt and spills from the surface.
But here’s the part that gets me about no-rinse cleaners…I guess it’s best described using an analogy.
Let’s say you’ve had a great year and buy yourself Ferrari. You wax your Ferrari so that it’s easier to clean the bugs off from driving down the coast on the weekend..so let’s compare that to protecting your grout with a sealer. Now let’s say you’ve had a long weekend on the coast driving your convertible Ferrari up and down the winding highway and now it’s time to clean it. (I think I need a vacation… and a Ferrari)
So you break out the bucket and sponge and use a no-rinse cleaner. You wipe the whole car down with the no-rinse cleaner and a sponge and then it’s clean right?
You’ve just wiped a bunch of dirty water and bug guts all over your Ferrari. At least now it’s evenly dirty all over but you can see your neighbors mocking you.
As far as I know, none of the floor chemical companies work for NASA and have invented a way to “vaporize” dirt off tile and grout. When you wash your dishes, do you use a rinse cycle? When you wash your clothes, do they get rinsed? When you shower, do you lather up and get out?
Seriously though, rinsing the floor removes the majority of the dirt the cleaner has lifted from the surface and any extra cleaner residue. Even if you rinse, unless you are using a new mop and new mop water for every area, you are still leaving dirt on the floor.
So how do you keep the floor clean?…DRY THE FLOOR.
People don’t want to hear that, but the truth hurts. Try this. Mop a floor using a no-rinse cleaner. Now take a big white terry cloth towel and dry the whole floor with it. Take a quick look at the your white towel and you are sure to be disgusted with how dirty it is. Leave the floor wet, and that dirt doesn’t just disappear.
Over time the dirt builds up leaving the tile and grout looking dingy. Drying the floor is the only real way to keep tile and grout clean no matter which type of cleaner you use. Not rinsing before you dry the floor just means you’ll have more cleaner residue on the towel with all the dirt when it’s dry.
For those that don’t or won’t dry the floor, plan on doing a heavy scrubbing every 6-12 months to deep clean the tile and grout. If you leave dirty mop water on the floor, the more you mop, the worse the tile and grout will look.