Category Archives: cleaning industry information

How to Clean Marble Grout

This is a follow-up to our post “Don’t Take it for Granite. How to Avoid Damaging Fine Stone Surfaces.” I turned to no other than Dan Lundstedt, two-time winner of Sir Grouts’ “Top Franchise Award” (2009, 2010) for some professional advice on how to clean marble grout. Dan is a franchise owner of Sir Grout, an industry leader in grout and tile care.

Maid in Chicago:
What is grout and why is it so tricky to clean?

Dan: Grout is the porous material between tiles. In a shower, grout can absorb mineral deposits, soaps, etc. causing discoloration over time. Prolonged exposure to moisture also causes mold to form in the grout lines, which can be a difficult problem to remedy.

In floor tiles dirt often collects because the grout lines are lower
than the rest of the floor. When floors are mopped, this is where all of the dirty water pools. It is then absorbed by this porous surface leaving unsightly grout lines.

(“before” photo by Sir Grout)

(“after” photo by Sir Grout)

Maid in Chicago:
Maintenance is key to avoid discoloration and staining of grout. What type of cleaner do you recommend?

Dan: Stone should be maintained with a PH-neutral maintenance cleaning solution. Sir Grout’s brand (which you can purchase from me!) is formulated to work on all natural stone, grout, tile, and counter tops.  It is also soapless to prevent residual soap scum, and contains surfactants to help keep the surfaces cleaner longer between cleanings.

To clean shower tiles, wet a cleaning cloth with cleaning solution and wipe the surface. If you are fighting mold and discoloration, a soft toothbrush can be used, but don’t scrub the caulking since that will break the seal and cause more issues and possible water damage.

For marble floors I recommend using a microfiber mop rather than a sponge mop or string mop. Microfibers trap the dirt and prevent it from accumulating in the grout. Alternatively you can wrap a towel around a mop stick, or simply wipe the floors by hand with a towel.

Maid in Chicago:
When is it time to call a professional to clean the grout?

Dan: I like to use an analogy that stained grout is like a dirty sponge. It can be an uphill battle cleaning it because the cleaner tends to work on the surface area dirt. Customers sometimes tell me that after they have cleaned the grout it can appear dirty again after only a few weeks or months. This is due to the grout being more porous after being scrubbed and cleaned with chemicals. When it is poorly stained it is better to call a professional.

We have a process of steam cleaning the grout. Sir Grout steam cleans all grout lines to kill the mold and mildew, then replaces any grout if necessary. Once the grout surface is clean, we seal it with the company’s proprietary color sealant. These tinted sealants are stain, water, mold, and mildew resistant. They restore the original color and keep water from penetrating into the surface of the grout. This prevents future discoloration, leaks, and water damage.

Also, if you see grout cracking or falling out, it is definitely time to have a professional take a look at it.

Maid in Chicago:
Thanks Dan for your helpful information.

If you would like to purchase Sir Grout’s cleaning product or set up an appointment, please contact Dan:

Dan Lundstedt
Owner – Sir Grout and Tile Care
work: (847) 597-8171
cell: (847) 909-4479

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

Everything you always wanted to know about microfiber cleaning cloths

The number of cleaning applications for microfiber seems to be growing. In homes, microfiber cleaning clothes are great for dusting and general cleaning. Microfiber also has very specific applications such as cleaning sensitive photographic lenses and detailing cars. Martha Stewart recommends using them in particular on “surfaces prone to scratching, such as computer and television screens and stainless steel appliances.” Lately, microfibers appear in popular Rubbermaid wet mop heads (see our blog Wet Mop Brand Recommendations), and Apple recommends using the cloths for cleaning iPads.

wonder cloth

(pictured above is the Wonder Cloth by ACS)

To learn more about the properties, uses, and care for microfiber cleaning cloths, I turned to an expert who is also our supplier, Ted Parish of ACS. Below is a summary of a recent interview with him.

What is a microfiber? By definition a microfiber is a synthetic fiber less than one denier. For comparison purposes the size of a human hair is about 10 denier. Unlike cotton yarns, which are measured by a “count” (think of those 300 thread count or more Egyptian cotton bed sheets), the denier measurement scale goes in the opposite direction, so the lower the denier the finer the thread. Because microfiber is thinner than cotton, the space between threads is larger, which enables the cloths to pick up more dirt or absorb more water. These properties make it excellent for cleaning.

What do you use them for? When microfiber first came out its big claim to fame was that you could use the cloths on glass and mirrors without any water. For cleaning purposes manufacturers actually recommend that you first dampen them with water and wring them out before  using them to wipe counters, stove tops, and other things. Dry the clean surface with a separate dry microfiber cleaning cloth or larger microfiber bath towel. The cleaning cloths are also really good for dusting because contrary to cotton, they attract dust and leave no residue.

I heard that you need to be careful when laundering and drying them. Machine wash them just like you would colors. Do not use any bleach or fabric softener. The oils in softener will clog up the fibers. They will last longer if you air dry rather than machine dry them.

Where can we buy them? Feel free to call me, Ted Parish, at ACS tel: (888) 374-5250 x2,       e-mail me at, or check out our website at

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

Why we use your cleaning supplies

When you hire a maid service, one thing to consider is whether they will bring cleaning supplies or not. Sometimes you will have a choice and other times you will not. Maid services that do team cleanings will likely bring their own supplies. Some companies will bring just the vacuum cleaner for an extra charge.

Generally speaking, a cleaning service will be more expensive if they bring supplies and equipment. All of the costs associated with supplies including purchase price, use, wear and tear, depreciation, packing, transport, etc. are passed along to to you. Parking is also a factor in busy Chicago where we are located. To keep costs down we usually require our clients to provide their own cleaning supplies for general cleanings. There are plus and minuses to this approach.

We sometimes hear from first time clients that they really don’t like the idea of maid services using rags, feather dusters, vacuums, toilet brushes, etc. that have been used in somebody elses home–even if they are properly cleaned and sterilized afterwards. I’ll be honest, I personally get grossed out by even my own feather duster in my home.

If you are the second, third, or fourth stop in the day of a company doing team cleaning, I personally wonder how sanitary the supplies may be.  It’s something to consider when choosing a cleaning company. When our company bring supplies for a cleaning (usually for a move-in/out or post construction cleaning) our supplies are specially packed for each customer’s home and they our brought right back to our office after use.

Most people tend to have their own brand preferences too, and more and more of our clients are turning to greener cleaners and methods. The down side is that it is up to you to keep your supply cupboard stocked with supplies.

Here is a list of cleaning supplies we recommend you have in your home.

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.