The following information provides answers on cleaning floor tile to remove soap or salt film from a tile floor. It also covers the primary reasons how salt and soap residue develops on tile floors and where to purchase a simple but effective product to make cleaning tile floors easy and fast. This is specific problem that can be remedied quickly if the proper product is used.
The correct product to use to clean tile floors of soap and salt residue which is commonly known as “Neutralizer” or “Neutralizer Conditioner”. This type of product is best to be purchased in portion controlled packaging. Because it is pre-measured, you drop a packet directly in water or open a packet of Neutralizer and empty the neutralizer in a bucket of water. Using a portion controlled package is a greener way to clean because reduces product waste and plastic/paper carton packaging waste.
Some cleaning floor tile professionals use white vinegar to remove salt film and soap residue from the floor. This method may be inexpensive but creates several issues that can be serious enough not to use vinegar. Vinegar can cause serious damage to marble, travertine, limestone, granite, slate and most of the mined from the earth stone floors because vinegar is an acid and acids can and will damage the aforementioned stone floors.
Secondly, vinegar is not portion packed; it is poured directly from a quart or gallon size bottle (Glug-Glug) to be diluted with water which is wasteful and normally results with inaccurate dilution.
Thirdly, using vinegar as a neutralizer does not perform as well as a neutralizer conditioner. The correct product and procedures will always ensure great results.
Cleaning Floor Tile – How Salt and Soap Film and Residue Form on Floors
Cleaning floor tile of soap film is an interesting topic because most people wonder how this soil occurs and is often not recognized that it is on a floor until the floor appears extremely soiled and is hard to clean. Salt residue is much easier to spot on the floor tile because salt residue leaves a white film on the floor. The best and easiest way to clean both soap and salt residue from the floor is to use a Neutralizer Conditioner. Below is the most common ways that this residue occurs on the floor.
Cleaning Floor Tile – Soap Residue
Soap Residue forms on a floor three basic ways…
- Non-Rinse Free Cleaners: Using a soap that is not rinse free causes a soap build up on the floor when it is not rinsed with clear water. So it is recommended to always use a rinse free floor tile cleaner. This will assist in eliminating this issue. A neutralizer will also clean the soap film from the floor.
- Cleaner/Restorers: Using a Soap/Restorer Cleaner can also cause soap film build up on the floor. These types of cleaner restorer products are intended to leave a small film on the floor to improve the gloss of the floor finish (wax). These products can be used as either in a non-buff or buff maintenance program. The issue with these types of products; whether or not you burnish or buff the floor is over time they will actually darken or yellow the floor finish. The result of this problem is the additional cost of premature stripping of the floor finish. The recommendation is to not use a cleaner/restorer product on the floor but if that is not possible, a neutralizer can be used on an occasional basis to assist in removing the soap film.
- Stripper Solution: Soap residue can occur from using fixed alkali type floor strippers to strip floor finish from the floor. When using these fixed alkali strippers and they are not properly rinsed, a soap residue can be left on the floor and have serious adverse effects on the subsequent floor finish coating. The most common problem is adhesion issues of the floor finish to the floor. If this occurs, the entire process of stripping the floor has to be repeated which is costly from both labor and product standpoint. The answer is to use a neutralizer in your final rinse step prior to applying the floor finish to the floor.
Cleaning Floor Tile – Salt Film or Residue
Salt film on the floor comes from different sources. The following are the two most common ways.
- Rock Salt or Calcium Chloride: Rock Salt is used as an ice and snow melting material on streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, store fronts, etc. This salt when mixed with water and is then spread to the floor through foot traffic leaving a tough to remove white film on the floor tile with a floor cleaner. Cleaning floor tile with salt film is difficult without the use of a Neutralizer product. So, a Neutralizer should be used to remove the white color salt film from the floor quickly.
- Hard Water: Hard water needs to be softened and most of the time it is salt that is used to soften hard water. Hard Water occurs throughout the global. Some geographical areas have softer water hardness making this issue irrelevant. But for those areas that have extreme water harness and salts are used to soften the water, a salt film can occur when cleaning floor tile with standard floor cleaning products. This is caused when diluting some floor cleaning products with salt softened water. Again, a neutralizer will assist in removing the salt film from the floor tile.
Cleaning Floor Tile – Reference Websites
Below are two websites where to purchase Neutralizer Conditioners in portion controlled packaging for cleaning floor tile of salt or soap residue. We recommend that even residential homes use a neutralizer to solve this problem but we have not seen a neutralizer sold on the shelves of a retail store. The internet is a good source to purchase this type of product for both commercial and residential users.