As a native of Florida, I have grown up with a fear of mold. In my adult life, I manage a 32 room property with daily housekeeping. Prompted by a resident with an allergy to alcohol based sanitzers, we have started using steam cleaning on our showers with great results. Our residents are thrilled.
When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, tile and/or stone seems to be the standard. I just finished a job in Scarsdale, NY and my client had nothing but stone and tile floors. Keeping your home clean is a feat in itself but one of my personal pet peeves is cleaning grout. By nature, grout is porous, thereby attracting water, stains and dirt. Not to mention the ever dreaded mold and mildew. First things first, always dry off your floors or tiled walls after they get wet. The less water, the less chance there is for mildew to start growing. Be sure that your bathrooms and kitchens have exhaust systems to reduce the moisture that is created when you shower or cook. Doing these two things wills greatly reduce the amount of heavy cleaning you have to do.
Speaking of cleaning, use products that are specifically designed for tile/grout or the type of stone you have. Bleach is handy for stains and whitening but it can degrade the grout between your tiles and severely damage certain types of stone. I have found that the best method for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms is by using steam. You can effectively clean with heated steam and it dries fast. There are plenty of great hand held steamers on the market that have tools designed for cleaning counter tops, tiled walls, grout lines and anything else in your kitchen or bathroom. As for your stone or tiled floors, there are plenty of floor steamers out there that can do the job. Choose a model that is easy to operate and fill. Some models even come with different size attachments so you can cover large spaces more quickly and attachments for those tough to reach places like behind the toilet or in between appliances. But do be cautious, most steamers say that they "sanitize" or "disinfect". The only way to actually sanitize an area is by holding the steam in one area for a few minutes. You cant just wave the steamer back and forth and have a disinfected counter top. Regardless, these at home steamers are very effective at cleaning tile, stone and grout.
But when it comes to keeping these surfaces clean after they have been steamed, maintenance is the key word. Instead of waiting for your tile grout or stone to get really dirty, do a bit of in-between cleaning and your life will be a lot easier. There is one other thing you can do but it is only effective on grout and certain types of porous stone. You can seal it. Sealers have come a long way. You can apply a sealer directly to all of the grout lines after they have been thoroughly cleaned. The sealer acts as a barrier between water, stains, dirt and your grout lines. It protects the grout for a few months and makes cleaning easier. But remember that sealers do have to be re-applied periodically to maintain that barrier. Now as for sealing stone, that's a little bit of a different story. Most sealers that are designed for stone can darken it and will leave behind a sheen even when it dries. If you happen to like the way that looks than you're in luck. Sealers designed for stone will protect the surface from staining but it too has to be re-applied on a regular basis to maintain its effectiveness.
One last thing, if you don't want to bother with buying a steamer for your tile, stone, or grout, than your in luck. Companies like my own can do the job for you. Our truck mounted steam cleaning units produce a much more effective amount of steam than the type of steamers you can get in the retail market. We do the cleaning for you, with specially designed tools for each type of application. Plus, we carry commercial grade sealers for your grout. But hey, whether your cleaning it yourself or calling someone like me, the point is that its getting clean, right?! Clean is always nicer than the alternative!