Cleaning 101

The right tools for the job make all the difference

Looking around your house and thinking about spring cleaning?

Here’s the dirty baker’s dozen – the top 13 things customers want to clean, but aren’t sure of exactly what product to use. This list is built on actual customer requests and product match-up by Frentz and Sons – they’ve figured out over the years what works and what doesn’t.

Tubs and tile
“We get the most questions on grout and tile and bathtubs,” says Mike Frentz. “The thing you need to know is what caused the stain. Mildew leaves a greenish-black residue; rust will leave a reddish stain; and just a general dullness is soap scum – most people don’t know that 75 percent to 80 percent of soap is wax, which means it sticks and builds up with dirt in between the layers.”

Mike recommends a product called X-14 Mildew Stain Remover®. “This is a very, very strong chlorine product. You want to kill the spores. If you don’t clean well enough and the spores are still there, they’ll reform. You want to sterilize the area. X-14 Mildew Stain Remover® is strong, there’s no scrubbing involved. Just spray it on the mold and it disappears.

Once clean, you can fall back to a maintenance product such as The Works® Tub & Shower Cleaner

“We carry quite a few products, but I’ve found that Zud® Cleanser gets the stains out, particularly out of porcelain,” Mike says. “Always wet the surface, apply it, let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse it off. Usually one application does it. If it doesn’t, try another application and put a damp cloth over it for 15 minutes. The chemical in Zud is activated when wet.”

“If it’s really bad, short of muriatic acid, you’ll want The Works Tub & Shower Cleaner™,” Mike says. “It’s very strong, but mild on porcelain, glass and tile. Use one application, full strength. You might want to use a small brush to get in the corners.”

It’s important to remember all these cleaners need to be used according to instructions, particularly when the instructions call for properly ventilating a room.

Wood and tile floors
“Most customers want something easy to use, as easy as possible. That’s Mop and Glo®,” Mike says. “You just squirt it on the floor, mop and it leaves a shine when it dries. Very good for no-wax tile.”

Mike recommends Murphy’s Oil Soap® as the best cleaner around for wood floors, but notes it’s not for customers who want a one-step solution. “It’s real gentle on the surrounding woodwork, too – you can clean everything with it.”

Bruce One-Step® and Trewax® are, in Mike’s opinion, the best one-step floor cleaners. “Bruce One-Step® is for wood floors. It dries to a real bright shine. Trewax® is the same thing for vinyl floors. Spread it on with a damp sponge mop, and it will take 2-to-4 hours to dry.”

Cleaning a concrete floor, such as in the basement or garage, takes a stronger solution called TSP, which stands for Tri Sodium Phosphate. “It’ll strip the paint off a wall, that’s how strong it is,” Mike says. “As a matter of fact, besides cleaning up concrete floors, this is recommended as a prep wash before painting walls. It also works well on wallpaper glue.” Be careful to follow the instructions. The dilution ratio is a quarter cup of TSP to a gallon of water. “And it’s definitely not for an aluminum surface,” Mike adds.

Odd cleansers for odd jobs
“Goof Off® is amazing. It takes ballpoint ink out of leather, gets crayon marks off of walls, tar off hardwood floors, removes correction fluid, black scuff marks. However, I’d highly recommend testing it in an inconspicuous area. It’s really strong,” Mike says.

Like most of the things he talks about here, Mike has used them at home. Goof Off® is no exception. His Golden Retriever chewed up a ballpoint pen. She was fine, but the ink made a nice spot on Mike’s new living room carpeting. “This stuff got 99 percent of the stain out. It was just gone.”

Goo Gone® “is a little safer, it’s not toxic. It’s citrus-based, not as strong as Goof Off, but is ideal for someone who wants a slightly less harsh product,” Mike says.

His current favorite, though, is a product called Un-Du®. “Little kids are into stickers and put them on furniture and walls all the time. You just apply this right on top of the sticker, it will come right off and once dry, it’s like the sticker was never there. No residue at all.” He says it’s great for bumper stickers, too.