I am often asked after polishing clients Stone floors, buffing wood floors and steam cleaning tile and grout, "how do I keep my floors looking good?" and "do you have any products that you can recommend?". As a floor care expert, along with the many years in the janitorial industry, I absolutely do have a list of products and processes that I have tried and used and have come up with the best way to clean hard surface flooring. Let's start with the product and why it works.
Product: Neutral floor cleaner is a category of floor cleaning solutions in and of it self it is not one product but more of a description of a category of products that are natural in ph and safe for use on all hard surface floorings. Why do I recommend neutral floor cleaner? Other cleaners have ether a highly acidic base or a high alkaline base that will leave your floors either acidic or alkaline, neither being ideal for the floor. If it is higher then a 7 neutral pH when complete then it will feel sticky, what's happening scientifically is that the positively charged solution is trying to pull the dirt off your shoes or feet, with great success i might add, this is why your floors look so good for a short time and why you need to clean them so often. The second scenario is an acidic solution like chlorine, ammonia, and vinegar based products. These might be ok for certain types of floors like ceramic tile, but detrimental to grout lines, natural stone, wood floors, and many more. The reason it is not good on every floor type is that anything below 7pH is what is called acidic and will etch most floorings. Bleach will even turn grout yellow and if your wood floors were treated with any type of sealing that will also yellow and dull and it could just burn right through the coating all together. On most natural stone it will eat away at the stone and create small cavities and worse. The damage is occurs over time with the bulk of it being while wet. Deep cleaning by a professional is recommended on a scheduled time line ether bi-yearly, yearly, or other depending on the amount of use and products that are being used on the flooring. So why is a neutral solution so much better? it has all the sanatizational properties of harsh acids and alkalines without the damage and attraction to dirt. When using neutral floor cleaner you will notice that you do not have to clean as often and that the floor has no sticky feeling. The goal of cleaning is to sanitize and remove dirt and that is exactly what you get with neutral floor cleaners.
Process: Now that we know what to use the next question is how to use it? I have found that string mops and some microfiber mops work best on most surfaces because they hold allot of dirt. I say "most" microfiber mops because there are some cheep low end "microfiber" mops that do not hold allot of dirt and do not do well at cleaning. Choose carefully when buying ether microfiber or string mops. Microfiber has the added benefit of being naturally antibacterial.