LESLIE: Now we have Margaret from Alabama who’s looking to clean some ceramic tiles.
Margaret, welcome. Tell us about the tiles.
MARGARET: Hi, thank you for taking my call. Yeah, we’re in Alabama and got flooded, the first floor, and we have ceramic tiles in three of the rooms and then in one area we have brick. And of course when the flood waters receded, it left a lot of mud and just smelly, icky stuff.
MARGARET: And they’re going to knock out the walls but I was trying to see if there’s some way we could preserve the tiles. Do you know of any way that they can be cleaned?
TOM: Well, you’re not going to have to physically remove them, are you?
MARGARET: You know, it kind of just depends. I mean if we can’t get them clean – because right now the grout is stained and they’re just – you know, they were off-white and now they just look horrible.
TOM: Well, I think that you could clean these with a good household cleaner; perhaps one of the cleaners that we often recommend for siding. Something like Jomax, which is available at paint stores, or trisodium phosphate, TSP, ought to do a good job of two things: first actually – physically cleaning the dirt; but also killing any …
LESLIE: Any bacteria.
TOM: … any bacteria or mold or mildew that’s sitting there. The best thing to do when you use those cleaners, Margaret, is to put them on and let them sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t be in a hurry.
LESLIE: And if you use the TSP, you can sort of leave it a little bit pasty so that it sort of really sits and that might be effective on the grout lines.
MARGARET: Was that the sodium phosphate?
TOM: Yeah, trisodium phosphate. It goes by the acronym TSP. If you go to a paint store or a home center and ask any of the folks there for TSP, they’ll know just what you’re talking about. It’s very inexpensive and very effective.
MARGARET: Oh, OK. Alright.
LESLIE: And that should work on the brick as well. The only thing you might find with the brick is that it might slightly discolor it because the brick isn’t sealed as a ceramic tile is.
TOM: And it also gets really, really soapy, so you have to really rinse it off a bunch of times, too.
LESLIE: Alright, good luck with your rebuild.
MARGARET: Thank you. Thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.