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Why Do Tile Stains Come Back After Cleaning?

Posted on September 30, 2022

After cleaning your tile and grout, you might notice that the stain you just scrubbed away is back in full force. Why is this happening? Is this stain permanent? If so, why can I clean it for a short period of time? Let’s take a look at what might be happening with your repairing tile stains.

Caught In Grout

If you do not have a steam cleaning machine, chances are you are using a mop or a scrub brush to clean the tile or grout. It is not ideal to try to clean difficult stains like this, but for anyone doing the work themselves, it is the default method of cleaning.

Some grout has a grit or tooth to it, usually referred to as sanded grout. Sanded refers to the fact that it is coarse, like sandpaper (not sanded smooth). The added grit can resist scrubbing, much like the added difficulty of washing a stucco wall. So cleaning is not going to lift all the staining material.

Absorb & Release

Even unsanded grout and even some epoxy grout can absorb moisture. The water and liquid you use to lift the staining substance absorbs into the grout and holds there. As the moisture evaporates, the substance raises out of the grout, and the stain appears again.

In carpet cleaning, there is a similar phenomenon called ‘wicking,’ but this is something that happens in many cleaning scenarios. The real issue is that the substance causing the stain disappears without being removed for good.

Fungus Spores

If you are dealing with mildew or mold, what you are seeing are fungi. There are so many different types of fungi, but they all propagate through spores. These microscopic particles are imperceptible to the naked eye, which means you cannot detect when they are airborne.

So even if you have cleaned away the deposits of fungus, there is still something in the air (potentially). You can use an antibacterial or antifungal cleaning agent that will kill any of the floating spores that land back down on the tile and grout. This easily prevents regrowth.

Lack of Professionalism

Because the grouted space between tiles is often a trough/valley, you may end up pushing the stain along until it collects in this crevice. With a lack of care, this can lead to cleaning complications even without sanded grout, absorbent grout, or stubborn fungus.

Some companies that purport to be “professional cleaners” may even make this type of mistake if they are not being meticulous with their process. But as long as you choose a reputable tile and grout cleaning service, you will be in good hands.

Final Advice

Tile and grout can be difficult to clean because of their textures and uneven nature. If you are not careful, all the time you spend cleaning will result in the same mess returning hours or days later. One of the main reasons you should call a tile cleaner is the attention to detail that will prevent a stain from coming back.

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