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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do professionals clean tile and grout?

If you need tile and grout cleaning and don’t have the time or mobility for scrubbing your entire house on your hands and knees, it’s time to turn to the pros. Tile and grout cleaning professionals have industrial-grade machines designed for the sole task of cleaning the porous materials of grout and tile.

Typically, a cleaning pro will come out to assess the job and provide you with a quote. Often they charge per square foot (for example, 75 cents per square foot), with higher prices or an hourly rate for areas that will need hand cleaning. The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250.

Once onsite, the pros thoroughly clean the area by wiping or sweeping down and then vacuuming up any dry dirt. Next a chemical tile cleaner is sprayed over the surface, causing dirt to loosen and adhere to the spray; the industry term for this is “suspension.” The pros then clean the floor with professional-strength machines, which often use a combination of steam, brushes and vacuum to loosen, agitate and lift entrenched dirt. Your floor is then rinsed, removing all the spray.

Usually a small room can be cleaned in under an hour. Applying a sealant afterward is recommend and will also affect cost.

How can I get my grout clean?

Dirt, mildew and grime can make your grout lines look downright tragic. If you have the ability, DIY tile and grout cleaning is definitely doable. Your main obstacles are time, project size, availability of the right materials and effort. Your first step in tile and grout cleaning is making sure the surface area is cleaned of basic dirt and buildup and wiped down. Be sure not to use a bleach-based cleaning agent, which could react dangerously with the vinegar used in later steps.

Depending on the delicacy of your tile and grout, it may be wise to start with water and friction before proceeding to a cleaning solution. In the shower you can spray the area while brushing gently, or use a spray bottle filled with warm water on countertops or floors. If water won’t do the trick, try a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar, and repeat the gentle brushing motion. This combination should begin to lift dirt and grime from the grout. For additional tile and grout cleaning power, baking soda applied directly to grout lines and sprayed with your water vinegar solution can help suds off sticky grime. If your DIY cleaning solutions aren’t doing the trick, store-bought sprays and pastes may have more cleansing power. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and enjoy your sparkling clean grout.

Tile and grout cleaning supplies include:

  • Old standard or electric toothbrush
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Commercial grout cleaner

How much does it cost to clean tile and grout?

The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250. Pros may charge a flat fee or by the square foot. Rates can vary depending on the type of tile and grout you have (more delicate tiles may mean specialized products or careful handwashing), how dirty your tile and grout are, and what part of the country you are in (regional labor rates and costs to do business affect costs). For example, one floor cleaning company charges 75 cents per square foot for tile and grout cleaning for projects that permit cleaning by machine. Another company may charge $30-$50 per hour for hand-cleaning of tiles. Companies often charge a minimum fee for services to ensure their business expenses are met when they accept a job, no matter how small. In addition, a tile and flooring cleaning professional may charge added fees, such as $25 or more, to move heavy furniture or appliances.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic is by using virtual, online tools. Start by performing an online search for local house cleaners. Message them to set up either a phone call or video call to perform a consultation. During this call, they can give you recommendations and may be able to estimate the cost of their services. Be sure to discuss whether they accept virtual payments and any precautions they can take to perform the job safely.

How can I find out if a house cleaner is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

A house cleaner is generally not considered an essential service sector during the coronavirus pandemic. To find out which services are considered essential, visit your city and state government, and read their guidelines. A national list of essential service providers can be found on CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 site. This webpage lists 16 different infrastructure sectors considered to be essential. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

Can I use digital payments to pay for house cleaning?

Not only do many house cleaners accept digital payments through platforms like Zelle, PayPal, Square Cash, Google Pay, Venmo and more, but this may become more common as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more service workers to digitize. This means you can pay your house cleaner without making physical contact or handling money. 

If cleaning is absolutely essential during the current crisis, consult with the house cleaner beforehand to ensure a safe monetary transaction that complies with current government guidelines and recommendations for social distancing.

Does a house cleaner need to enter my home?

Yes, in almost all cases a house cleaner needs to enter your home. However, a cleaner may not need to enter your home if they are solely cleaning outside areas. 

There may be some cases in which a cleaner is necessary. If so, take precautions — avoid being in the same room, make no physical contact, sanitize any surfaces and pay through a digital service instead of using cash.

Do house cleaners offer remote or virtual services?

House cleaning is generally done in person, but some may be willing to offer remote services. If you find a house cleaner’s profile that states they’re offering remote services, contact the pro to talk about your options. 

If you’d rather hire a house cleaner to clean your home when the pandemic is over, you may be able to book an appointment at a later date. Start by comparing local house cleaners in your area side-by-side.

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