1. PREPARATORY WORK: ELIMINATION OF EXCESS GROUT
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Once work has been completed and in order to facilitate the final cleaning of the worksite, this procedure is of paramount importance as the first step in the process of cleaning following the grouting of ceramic tiles. For a proper and easy elimination of excess grout, we recommend following the instructions set out by the manufacturer of the grout; generally, it is recommended to wait until the grout dries before starting the cleaning procedure.

1.1. CEMENT-BASED GROUT (CLASS CG IN ACCORDANCE WITH EN 13888)

  • Remove excess grout from surface, running the spatula or blade diagonally over the grout lines, while the mixture is still fresh;
  • Only clean off the excess grout once the mixture has lost its elasticity, usually some 10-20 minutes after spreading, with a firm, damp hard cellulose sponge, working diagonally across the grout lines;
  • Rinse the sponge frequently, using two different containers full of water: one used to take off the excess grout from the sponge, the other full with clean water, in order to rinse the sponge;
  • Once the grout is dry, rinse again with clean, warm water. 

PLEASE NOTE:
Should the cleaning be done too early (when the mixture is still elastic), there is the risk that the grout in the grout lines will be partially removed and will therefore later become more susceptible to variations of colour. In contrast, should the grout already have set, the use of a damp Scotch-Brite sponge is recommended to enable the removal of the grout from the tile surface.

1.2. EPOXY GROUT (CLASS RG IN ACCORDANCE WITH EN 13888)

PLEASE NOTE:
Pay particular attention when using epoxy grout in presence of mosaics or surfaces with a slightly textured surface. We advise cleaning a small area of the surface first, as a test, perhaps on some surplus tiles, or on a part of the tile that is less visible.

  • While the mixture is still fresh, generously wet the surface emulsifying with a Scotch-Brite sponge, taking care to not remove too much grout from the grout lines;
    The excess and now watery grout must be removed with a hard cellulose sponge (which should be replaced once it becomes too impregnated with residue), which can also be used for the final adjustment of grouting. 

It is vital to remove the epoxy grout as quickly as possible before it starts to harden, as the subsequent removal would be extremely difficult; should the epoxy grout have already started to harden, try to add 10% of ethanol to the water.

2. POST-INSTALLATION CLEANING
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TOOLS
FOR MANUAL CLEANING FOR CLEANING OF LARGE SURFACES
sponge, soft Scotch-Brite sponge, cloths

The purpose of cleaning upon completion of the work is to eliminate all dirt residue (cement, mortar, grout, paint or any other material that could stain or scratch the ceramic) from the surface of the ceramic tile once it has been laid. The care with which this initial post-installation cleaning is undertaken (which is generally undertaken by the final users or by professional cleaning services), influences the cleanability of the ceramic surface for the duration of its life: excess residues are a catalyst for dirt. Once enough time has passed for the grout to mature (at least a two days of good weather), proceed to further cleaning using acid-based detergent, making sure that the manufacturer’s instructions of use have be followed to the letter. Atlas Concorde recommends the use of FILA DETERDEK according to the following instructions:

  • Use FILA DETERDEK diluted 1:10 (for example 1/2 litre of DETERDEK in 5 litres of warm water; performance: 1 litre/80mq);
  • Eliminate the thin layer of grout dust that forms on the surface of the tile with a clean, dry cloth and  uniformly spread the neutral diluted solution using any commercially available sponge or soft sponge;
  • Leave to act for a few minutes, depending on the intensity of the dirty;
  • Briskly clean with a sponge, such as a white Scotch-Brite;
  • Collect any residue with clean, dry cloths;
  • Carefully rinse with hot water.

PLEASE NOTE:
Avoid using strong or non specific acids, even if diluted, as they could result in the creation of toxic fumes or corrode protective joints. It is important to take the precaution of protecting any CERAMIC decorations or inserts made of marble, granite, natural stone or metal inserts on the ceramic surface, by covering with masking tape. It is absolutely paramount to avoid using scoring pads made of steel or wire wool, as these could cause scratches on the surface of the tile. In the cases listed above we recommend the use of neutral detergents, such as FILA CLEANER, diluted in water in a ratio of 1:25.

2.1. METHOD FOR CLEANING CEMENT GROUT RESIDUE

Atlas Concorde recommends: Using a solution of buffered acid (diluted following manufacturer instructions, preferably in hot water as this increases the efficiency of the detergent), such as FILA DETERDEK, making sure that the manufacturer’s instructions have be followed to the letter.

RECOMMENDED QUANTITY AND PERCENTAGE OF SOLUTION TO BE DILUTED DEPENDING ON TYPE OF SURFACE

PRESENCE OF INSERTS AND/OR NATURAL MARBLE OR METALLIC DECORS SMOOTH/MATT or GLAZED SURFACE
1 litre of acid solution per 100m2
in ratio of 1:25
(200cc FILA CLEANER in 5 litres if water)
3 litres of acid solution per 100m2
in ratio of 1:10
(½ litre FILA DETERDEK in 5 litres of water)
  • Remove any dust residue from surface using a clean, dry cloth;
  • Only wet cement-based grout in order to protect it from an subsequent corrosive action from the solution of diluted acid to be used in the cleaning process; • Evenly distribute the diluted acid solution using a soft sponge;
  • Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes depending on how soiled the tiles are;
  • Any residue dirt should be cleaned off by vigorously cleaning with a white Scotch-Brite sponge;
  • Remove residue using a clean, dry cloth;
  • Carefully rinse with warm water, repeating the operation until the surface is completely clean of any type of stain or rim. Use the same method and the same tools to clean larger surfaces.

Should some areas remain unclean, repeat the acid cleaning procedure where the dirt has been mist stubborn, other than where there are ceramic decors or inserts combined with materials subject to corrosion (eg. marble, metal, precious metals…) which, in any case, should have previously been protected using masking tape.

2.2. METHOD FOR CLEANING EPOXY GROUT RESIDUE

To remove smudges and water stain marks when epoxy grouts are used, use cleaners specifically designed for the removal of this type of organic residue, such as FILA CR10, following the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.

  • Remove any dust from the surface using a with a clean, dry cloth;
  • Evenly distribute the epoxy grout cleaner such as undiluted FILA CR10, with a soft sponge or brush;
  • Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes depending on how soiled the tiles are;
  • Any residue dirt should be cleaned off by vigorously cleaning with a white Scotch-Brite sponge;
  • Remove any residue grout from the surface using a clean, dry cloth;
  • Carefully rinse with warm water, repeating the operation until the surface is completely clean of any type of stain or rim.

Should there be any areas not completely cleaned, repeat the operation. Use the same method and the same tools to clean larger surfaces.

RECOMMENDED QUANTITY OF FILA CR10

PRESENCE OF INSERTS AND/OR NATURAL MARBLE OR METALLIC DECORS SMOOTH/MATT SURFACES
1 litre 4-5 m2
UN-DILUTED

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