Cleaning and Maintaining Tile Flooring

Cleaning and Maintaining Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is durable, stylish, and can be affordable. It’s not hard to clean, but there are some important things to remember in order to keep your tile floors looking their best.

Sweep and Vacuum Regularly

This might seem obvious. Many people like to keep their floors free of dust and debris at all times. Dust and dirt can be gritty and wear away at the finish on your tiles, leaving them looking dull, scratched, and worn out. Be sure to sweep or vacuum your tiles twice a week, or more in high traffic areas.

Use the Right Cleaner for Your Tile

Tile can be made from many different materials such as marble, slate, ceramic, or even natural stone. Each of these materials may require a different type of cleaner. For instance, acidic cleaners will corrode marble floors. Make certain you know the material you’re using, and choose an appropriate cleaner for that material. Cleaners can be purchased commercially, or made from household ingredients. A vinegar or lemon juice solution can be used for ceramic and other non-reactive tiles, for instance. Marble tile can be cleaned with gentle detergents or basic solutions, such as baking soda.

What About Grout?

Dirty, stained grout makes any tile floor look dingy and old. Fortunately, grout is simple to clean if you know how, though it can take a while. First of all, grout is porous, so the stains and dirt penetrate the surface. For this reason, you need to soak grout in a cleaning solution. Some stains can be lifted by soaking the grout in a bleach solution for ten minutes, then scrubbing it with a soft nylon cleaning brush. A toothbrush will do in a pinch. Tougher stains may need to soak overnight, or you may need to use a paste of baking soda and water. This paste not only penetrates stains, but also acts as a mild abrasive agent, physically scrubbing away stains and grime.

Maintaining Tile and Grout

If a tile floor is cleaned with soapy or dirty water, it can end up looking dull due to residue. Be sure to change your water frequently while cleaning to prevent soap scum or residue. Your grout should be sealed to prevent it from wearing out or being permanently damaged or stained. If it’s been more than a year since your grout was last sealed, inspect it for water resistance, changes in colour, or cracking/chipping, depending on if a surface or penetrating sealant was used. While some scratches and scuffs can be buffed out, severe damage will require the tile be replaced altogether. It’s a good idea to purchase more tile than you need when first installing a tile floor; that way, if a tile gets broken, you can replace it with an identical tile.