How to Keep Your Tile Floors Sparkling Clean

Now that you’ve taken up all that old, worn carpet and replaced it with beautiful tile, you’re probably curious about its care and maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your tile floors and keep them looking like new (and who doesn’t?), you need to know the basics of tile cleaning.

While cleaning tile isn’t necessarily rocket science, there are a few tricks to ensure your tile floors stay sparkling clean for years to come. These simple tips apply to most types of tile including ceramic, porcelain, vinyl or natural stone.

Believe it or not, some people don’t sweep their tile floors. This results in granules of dirt sticking to the tiles like a magnet—especially textured tile like tumbled marble or slate. That layer of grit eventually etches into the tile, dulling the surface and making it difficult to keep clean.

Routine sweeping loosens and removes most of that dirt. An upright vacuum cleaner with a bare floor setting will also work, but over time they can scratch the tiles. If you must, use a canister vacuum with a floor attachment to avoid surface damage.

Damp Mopping

Tile floors should be regularly damp mopped using a mild cleaner, preferably one recommended by the manufacturer. If you’re not certain which cleaner to use, stick with water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid or a cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. Both are safe for use in homes with children or pets.

Deep Cleaning
If your tile floors are heavily soiled, mopping probably won’t help much. For extremely dirty tile, use an oxygen bleach solution and apply with a scrub brush to remove embedded dirt, grease and grime. After applying any cleaning solution, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove residue and prevent film build-up.

Tackle years of ground-in dirt and gunk by purchasing or renting a steam cleaner. If your tile is beyond DIY help, leave it to the professionals to get out stubborn stains and dirt.

Grout Cleaning
Don’t forget about the grout. Clean tiles are just no good unless the grout is clean as well. When tile is originally installed, a protective grout sealer is applied. This sealer should be reapplied each year to prevent stains, dirt and moisture from penetrating the grout’s porous surface.

To clean dirty grout lines, mix up a batch of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda or oxygen bleach and water in equal parts. Scrub stains and discoloration with a toothbrush and rinse. Allow the grout to dry completely and then apply the sealer.

Arto Brick via flickr
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