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How Do I Maintain My Tile

Tile has become a household name right from the day of its humble beginning till the present century owing to its reputation for being durable and easy to maintain. It is not surprising that tile still tops the list of go-to flooring and wall choices for homes, business, and corporate outfit.

Beyond endless colors, shapes and sizes, tile flooring comes in an increasing range of materials, making it easy to find the look and feel that’s right for your space. But home housekeepers beware: When you customize your design, you have to also customize your cleaning methods.

For example, ceramic and marble require very different cleaners, as do slate and linoleum, porcelain and granite, travertine and terracotta… the list goes endless.No matter what type of tile floors you have at home, this tile maintenance guide from our experts at George ceramics has the tips you require in keeping your tile squeaky clean and looking like new for the long haul.

And if you’re dealing with dirty, dingy grout, we’ve been there, too. We’ll help you gain control over those dirty grout lines and leave them sparkling clean.

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How to Maintain Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Floors

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles (including glazed porcelain tiles)are clay-based and kiln-fired, making them durable, moisture-resistant flooring materials that can be cleaned quickly and easily with the right tools.

What you’ll need

Soft-bristle broom or vacuum attachment

Microfiber mop or cloth or spray mop

Water bucket

Mild detergent

Clean, dry microfiber cloth

Get rid of loose dirt. All tile floors need to be vacuumed or swept before they’re washed. Because many tile materials can scratch easily, we recommend using a vacuum attachment with soft bristles or a soft-bristle broom to remove dirt, dust, hair and debris.

If your vacuum doesn’t have a bare floor attachment, check if the brush roll can be turned off. Use a handheld broom in tight corners and along the edges of the room to help maintain tile floors between washing.

Mix a mild detergent and water in a large bucket. Less is more when adding detergent to your water as too much can make rinsing difficult. For the right ratio, mix ¼ cup of a mild detergent into 1 gallon of water.

Submerge a microfiber mop or cloth in the solution. While it’s tempting to grab a sponge to quickly wash your bathroom tile floor by hand, you could end up with unsightly streaks or water spots if you’re using too much water.

Since sponges naturally retain water, it’s best to use a microfiber cloth or microfiber mop and a bucket so you can squeeze out excess water or a spray mop where you dispense the cleaning solution as you work. For larger floors, work in sections to reduce the amount of water you need to get the job done.

Rinse thoroughly. To help make your floors shine, change the water in the bucket frequently and wipe away any leftover cleaning solution. Rinse your mop or cloth completely then use it to wipe a section clean.

Repeat until the whole floor looks squeaky clean. Dry to avoid spots. Unglazed tiles can be left to air dry, but we recommend wiping glazed tiles with a clean, dry microfiber cloth to prevent water spots.

How to Maintain Vinyl Tile Floors

Made from PVC, vinyl tile flooring is a low-maintenance, durable option that is often waterproof and therefore is very easy to clean. Simply follow the same floor cleaning steps above. To remove scuff marks, use a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol or baking soda, then rinse off.

How to Maintain Linoleum Tile Floors

Linoleum tile floors can also be cleaned following the same step-by-step instructions above, with one small tip. Linoleum is a synthetic material that’s not meant for high moisture, so definitely skip the steam mop on these tiles.

Water can quickly seep under the tiles if it’s not sealed properly, causing deterioration. Instead, try a convenient spray mop that lets you control how wet the surface gets. Have a stubborn mark on your hands? Very gently rub it away with a dampened delicate, non-scratch scrub pad, but note that this will likely also remove any wax finish from the tile too

How to Maintain Natural Stone Tile Floors

Natural stones are particularly porous and can scratch easily, so they require more maintenance and care than other tiles. Follow the step-by-step instructions above, but pay careful attention to the type of cleaner we recommend below for your specific flooring type.

Not all cleaners are safe for all types of natural stone tile floors. (Steam mops are also not recommended!) And remember; never use any abrasive cleaners or tools that might scratch the surface.

Marble Tile Floors

To keep your marble floor looking its best, always wipe up spills quickly to prevent staining, and be very careful not to use acidic cleaners like vinegar and lemon which will etch the stone. Instead, use a solution of mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.

To prevent stains, use a marble sealer at least once a year. If staining does occur, look for a marble polishing powder like tin oxide at your local hardware or home-improvement store and apply according to the package directions.

Other Natural Stone Tile Floors

To wash slate, granite, limestone and travertine, you must use a neutral pH cleaner, so carefully check the labels and avoid any acidic cleaners. These stones are also susceptible to stains, scratches and cracks, so frequent cleaning and occasional sealing with a resin sealant are necessary to maintain their look and feel.

To remove grease or oil, choose a proprietary spot-treatment stain remover that’s specific to the type of stone

Terracotta Tile Floors

Like other natural stones, terracotta is very porous so you should always avoid acidic cleaners and be careful not to let water sit on the surface or along grout lines while you’re washing. Unglazed terracotta tiles can also attract dust.

Applying a water-based sealant can help protect the surface from stains and make routine cleaning easier. If you notice a color change in the first year, it’s likely the terracotta stone maturing.

How often should you clean tile floors?

Your cleaning needs depend largely on your household’s habits and foot traffic, but regular tile cleaning is essential to maintaining your tile flooring and keeping the work light on cleaning day. If you vacuum or sweep a few times a week — or at the first signs of dirt and debris — then you should really only need to mop every one to two weeks.

The longer you wait between cleanings, the longer it’ll take to remove stuck-on grime and restore shine the next time.Please click to read our article Exploring Techniques to Keep Your Tiles Clean and Maintained.

Additional Maintenance to Protect Tile

Use Doormats

Place doormats on both sides of the doors that lead in and out of your home. This will eliminate mud or water from getting tracked indoors during inclement weather. If you have floor tiling in your bathroom, use a bath mat to keep your tiles dry.

Add Some Area Rugs

Place area rugs or runners in areas that receive high foot traffic. This can prevent dulling, scratches and dirt build-up that will occur in areas such as the entryway or family room.

Give them a Deep Clean

Use deep cleaning solutions every so often. This will help remove stains and greasy residue without damaging your tiles. Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a gallon of warm water. This natural approach is especially useful for kitchens.

If you don’t have vinegar on hand, you can substitute it with a 1/2 cup of plain rubbing alcohol. Fresh water and dish detergent will help remove hard grease from your flooring. A half-and-half scouring power and warm water solution will remove stains.

Pay Attention to the Grout

Don’t forget to clean your grout. Although there are plenty of specialized grout cleaners available on the market, you don’t have to go out and buy special cleaners for this job. However, the same oxygen bleach powder you use in the laundry room also works great to clean grout.

The powder has a mild bleaching agent to remove stains, brighten, and whiten grout. It is safe to use when cleaning grout on natural stone and ceramic tile floors.Simply create a paste mixture with baking soda and water.

Spread the paste onto the grout and let it sit overnight, then use an old toothbrush to scrub the grout. Rinse the paste off with warm water when you are finished cleaning. The procedure is highlighted in 3 steps below.

How to Clean Grout on Tile Floors

Make a Paste

In a small bowl, add enough water to oxygen-based bleach powder to make a paste. Use one part water to two parts powder.

Apply the Paste and Let it Work

Spread the paste along the grout lines with a damp sponge.Allow the paste to begin breaking apart the soil for at least 10 minutes.After 10 minutes, scrub the grout lines with a stiff-bristled grout brush.

Rinse and Dry the Grout

Dip a sponge or microfiber cloth in water and rinse away the paste and the dirt.Use a dry microfiber towel to dry the grout.If you follow these steps regularly, your tile floors will hold up very well over the years, looking well maintained.

Click to learn:How to Beautify Tile Caulking?

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