How To Clean Each Type of Tile Floor & Grout
By Bedrosians Tile & Stone | 7/23/2019
Many people believe they know how to clean tile floors. However, there are many different care and maintenance practices depending on the type of tile you have. One size (or solution) does not fit all in this instance. To get started, it is important to establish a cleaning routine and stick with it. All tile should regularly be cleaned using wet and dry cleaning methods.
Wet clean: Kitchen tile floors should be mopped once every two weeks, and bathroom tile floors should be mopped once a week (since germs tend to build up in bathrooms). Grout should be spot cleaned once every few months or anytime it looks dirty.
Dry clean: Tile floors should be vacuumed or swept at least once a week or whenever you can see or feel debris.
When properly installed and maintained, ceramic and porcelain tiles can be enjoyed for many years.
1) Clean up loose debris. Sweep or vacuum your tile floors regularly to keep them from getting dull, since sand and grit can damage the glazed surfaces.
2) Clean tile with mild detergent and clean water using a rag or chamois-type mop. Don’t use sponge mops, since they tend to push dirty water into the grout lines, making them harder to clean. Frequently change the water while mopping to avoid leaving dirty water on your tiles.
3) Spot clean any stains. When you find a discoloration, try to determine what type of substance made the stain and use the right cleaner to remove it
4) Soapy residue causes dull and hazy tiles. Clean the tiles regularly with a pH neutral cleaner and rinse with clean water. Use only neutral, non-abrasive and non-acidic cleaners. Avoid use of any harsh cleaning products that contain bleach or acidic chemicals. Acid-based cleaners and harsh chemicals may etch the surface of the tile, especially tiles with polished or honed finishes. Be sure the cleaner is a non-oil, non-soap and non-animal fat based product. These products act like a magnet, attracting dirt and dust.
5) Tile needs to be dried. If you let glazed floors air dry, the water will form spots. You should dry the floor with a clean cloth immediately after washing. Give your knees a break and use your foot to slide the cloth over the floor while standing rather and bending over to dry the floor.
Cement tile is a little different from porcelain tile and needs to be cleaned in its own way. They are porous in nature and should be sealed in order to maintain their natural good looks and to help avoid staining.
1) Cement tiles should be regularly mopped with clear water and when necessary, a neutral cleaner.
2) Tiles can be buffed with a soft white pad.
3) A capful of liquid wax may be added to the water to improve the tiles’ natural sheen.
4) Extremely heavy foot traffic or outdoor installations may require additional maintenance. In this case, cement tiles may be refinished, much the same as hardwood floors. This occasional refinishing will restore the tiles to their like-new finish.
5) Never use acids to clean the tiles as they will damage them.
6) Use walk-off mats near entries to avoid entry abrasion.
7) Sweep regularly
8) Do not allow water to accumulate in areas. Excess moisture left on the tile surface can stain, pit and crack.
9) Over time, a natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and naturally wears.
Natural stone tiles require cleaners that are made specifically for them, since chemicals in traditional cleaners can damage them.
Marble Tile: Mop or wipe the surface with a pH neutral stone specific solution using a clean sponge, cloth or mop. Use only a neutral, non-abrasive and non-acidic cleaner. Do not use vinegar or any cleaners containing ammonia, bleach, acids or strong alkalis. Stones with a polished finish are especially sensitive to harsh chemicals. It is important that the cleaner is a non-oil, non-wax, non-soap and non-animal fat based product. These products act like a magnet, attracting dirt and dust.
Granite Tile: Similar to slate and marble, granite tile should be cleaned with a mild detergent that is pH-neutral. Harsh cleaners can cause discoloration on the tile. Polished granite floors should be buffed to keep them looking shiny.
Grout is porous and absorbs grease and dirty water, but regular cleaning can keep it looking brand new!
If you choose a commercial cleaner, be sure to choose one that is made grout. You can also make a paste made of baking soda and water at home.
1) Spot clean the stain by rubbing the paste on it, and let it sit overnight, then scrub the stain in the morning with a stiff nylon brush (a metal brush will damage the grout).
2) Apply a sealer to the grout to prevent future stains. This method works best when it’s done 10-14 days after the grout is installed or renewed.
Want more information on cleaning and maintaining your tile or countertops? Visit our Installation, Maintenance & Care page. Read our blog post Cleaning for the Holidays for more ideas on keeping your tile looking its best.