Tile flooring is a low-maintenance, durable type of flooring that will outlast wood, carpet, and even stone when maintained properly. Tiles come in multiple patterns and finishes, and therefore can fit into the design of any room.
Glazed or unglazed, patterned or plain; tiles can accent your living spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. Tile floors make for eye-catching and hardwearing features, which is why maintenance is essential in keeping your home fresh and lively.
What You’ll Need
Looking up how to clean tile floors? Cleaning your tile floor isn’t a difficult task, and is not much different from routine cleaning. All you’ll need are a few cleaning supplies and staples, and your tile floor will look as new and when you got them!
- Mild Castile Soap or Dish Soap - Industrial strength cleaning solutions may get the job done quickly and effectively, but it eats away more than just the dirt, grime, and mildew. A solution of mild castile soap or dishwashing detergent is strong enough to break down grease, oil, and scum, while gentle enough to maintain the quality of your tile floors, regardless of what material they’re made from.
- Soft-Bristled Brushes - Abrasive scrubbers can damage the glaze, and whittle away at the grout and stone. Go for softer scrubbers with a finer grit, and use light to moderate pressure when scrubbing down dirt. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe down your tiles, or use an old toothbrush to scrub away at stained spots.
- Formulated Cleaning Solutions - Readily available cleaning solutions meant for tiles are convenient and accessible. They can come in the form of a concentrate, ready-to-use mixture, or paste for spot cleaning. Check the brand labels to find the cleaning solution that works best with your tile floor.
How to Clean Floor Tiles
Cleaning your tile floors doesn’t have to be a chore when done correctly. Tiles can be made from natural stone, ceramic, or porcelain. Before you do any type of cleaning, know your tiles and what their limitations are.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to use acidic solutions on stone tiles, as acid corrodes the stone, leaving a dull finish. In the same way, heat on linoleum or vinyl tiles can permanently damage the surface, which would require serious repair to replace.
How to Clean Natural Stone Tiles
Marble, granite, and other stones make for stunning tiled floors. To keep the classy look, avoid using acidic cleaners like vinegar, lemons, and the like. Acid can break down the soft stone, causing irregular spots, staining, and erosion.
To clean your stone tiles, sweep away any loose dirt with a soft-bristled broom to prevent scratches. Use a mild cleaner formulated for natural stone, or make your own with some castile soap and water. Dilute a tablespoon of castile soap in 500mL of water, and use the solution to mop or wipe the floors as normal.
Keep heat, oils, and solutions like bleach away from your natural stone tiles, as prolonged exposure to these elements can cause irreversible damage to your flooring. Protect your tiles with commercially available sealants made for natural stone material.
How to Clean Ceramic Tile or Porcelain Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tiles not only look exquisite, they are a breeze to maintain. Most ceramic and porcelain tiles are glazed, and can withstand nearly every treatment - from commercial cleaning solutions to heat.
Nearly any cleaning solution works in sanitizing your tiles. Sweep or vacuum away any loose dirt, and mop with your preferred solution as normal. A steam mop can disinfect your ceramic or porcelain floor tiles, or you can use a clean cloth dampened with warm water.
For stained areas, like between tiles and within grout, a paste of baking soda, water, and bleach creates a magic solution that removes stains and whitens grout without causing damage to your tiles. Simply apply the paste on stain spots, leave it for 10-15 minutes, and scrub or wipe off any excess.
How to Clean Linoleum Tile Floor
Linoleum and vinyl tiles are inexpensive alternatives to natural stone and porcelain. They are easy to install and upkeep is simple. Regular mopping clears out most of the dirt, and the material is compatible with most cleaning solutions.
For a DIY cleaning mixture, dilute vinegar in distilled water. Use the solution to mop or wipe your floors like normal. For an extra shine, wipe a small amount of uncolored floor wax once the tiles have dried.
The only exception to linoleum and vinyl is heat. Keep heat away from these tiles, so best to leave the steam mop for your ceramic tiles and linen instead.
How to Clean Unglazed Tiles
Unglazed tiles are porous, and therefore will suck in liquids and dirt easily. Refrain from using colored cleaners as these may stain your tiles, and go for gentle cleaning solutions instead. Dish soap works well in breaking down grime and grease nestled deep within the tiles.
Avoid using hard-bristled brushes and other abrasive scrubbers as these may scratch and whittle away the tiles. An old toothbrush or dish sponge is recommended as these are soft enough to use on unglazed tile material.
If you have unglazed tiles on your patio, porch, or garden, moss may have started growing within the cracks and around the pores of the tiles. To remove moss, tiles should be cleaned on a regular basis with a detergent solution, and brushed with a long floor brush to loosen moss and algae.
How Often Should I Clean Tile Floors?
Compared to hardwood flooring and carpeting, tiled floors are a cinch to maintain. Daily sweeping and mopping is a must, especially in high-traffic and outdoor areas.
Create a schedule that works for your lifestyle, making sure to schedule a thorough cleaning at least once a week. Heavy duty cleaning can be done every other month or so, or when you gauge your tiles need revitalization.
Overall, tiles require very little maintaining, and can last a lifetime if treated properly. Just stay away from hash cleaning practices, and know the material of your tiles and what they can handle.
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