Details for Tile Flooring Care
Cleaning Tile Floors
Sweeping: Dirt adheres easily to the surface of ceramic tile, especially styles with textured surfaces. Regular sweeping loosens and removes most dirt. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to sweep, but make sure you use one without a beater bar to avoid dulling and scratching the tiles. Vacuum cleaner attachments are great to suck up dirt along edges or in between tiles.
Mats: Use doormats to keep dirt being from coming into your home. And shake them out often. This will reduce the amount of dirt being tracked across your ceramic tile floor, and will reduces the wear to the finished surface.
Mopping: Ceramic tile floors should be damp-mopped using manufacturer-recommended grout and tile cleaners. For heavier soil, spot clean the floor with a sponge or clean cloth using the same recommended cleaners.
Heavy Cleaning: Mild scrubbing with a soft brush or electric polisher/scrubber may be required for textured tiles. After cleaning with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water to remove leftover residue. If necessary, wipe the tile dry with a clean towel to remove any film.
For soft water situations, an all-purpose cleaner may be necessary. Apply it to your floor and let it stand for 3-5 minutes. Then lightly scrub with a sponge, rinse well and you’re good to go.
Cleaning products available from your local grocery or hardware store can be used to remove soap scum, hard water deposits and mildew stains from ceramic tile. Be sure to consult the cleaning product’s instructions to ensure the product is recommended for your type of tile. After cleaning, rinse well and wipe dry for a sparkling shine.
Maintaining Tile Floor
Caulking and Sealing: Once your tile has been laid and grouted, it’s your responsibility to caulk areas that may be exposed to water. Caulking will prevent expensive subsurface damage and keep the tiled areas looking as good as new.
Depending on your lifestyle, sealing your tile and grout may also be an option. After installation, sealing the grout and tile can provide protection from dirt and spills by slowing down the staining process.
Grout colorants can transform the original color of your grout and, in some cases, can act as a form of sealant. Be aware that non-epoxy grout joints should be treated with a silicone sealer.
Regular care and maintenance will keep your ceramic tile floors looking their very best for years to come.
- Do clean up spills as quickly as possible so your grout won’t become stained.
- Do remember that while ceramic tile is very durable, it’s not indestructible and may crack or chip under extreme force.
- Do take the proper precautions when moving heavy objects across a ceramic tile floor.
- Do cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against scratching.
- Do remember that if a repair is necessary, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the original tile, however, with time and usage, the replacement tile will blend in with its neighbors.
In Case You Didn't Know
- Don’t use steel wool, scouring powders, or other abrasives that can scratch the finish of your ceramic tile.
- Don’t use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners — these products can discolor your grout if used too often.
Removing Stains from Tile
Some people complain about stains on their tile floors from kitchen mishaps. These stains can imbed themselves in the porous finish of some manufactured tile. Bleach can be used in most cases to remove some of the nastier, deeper stains, but where bleach does not reach, what can you do? Many household tile cleaners make great claims about removing deeply saturated stains or hard water marks from tile. The fact is, most miss the mark when compared to the time honored method of diluted muriatic acid.
Muriatic acid has been carefully used by trade professionals for decades to treat and remove industrial stains from tile and stone surfaces. When used in the home, it is important to thoroughly ventilate the area and protect yourself extensively from this corrosive agent. Heavy gloves, mask and eye protection are imperative, but if you exercise reasonable caution, this tool can be just the trick to removing those stubborn stains. Dilute the acid to a 60/40 acid/water solution. Then with a toothbrush or other soft bristle brush, apply the mixture and scrub the area clean. Once the stain is removed, quickly wash the area down and discard the remaining mixture in a safe and proper manner. Refer to your local constabulary regarding regulations for disposal of acid products.
Cleaning the Grout
If a stubborn stain emerges in your grout, follow the same steps described in the procedure above to gently work the stain out. If a situation arises in which the stain cannot be removed, it might be necessary to replace that particular area of grout. Grout can be removed quickly and effectively by using a small grout remover, inexpensively bought at any home improvement retailer. Work the stained section of grout until you are beneath the stained area and clean grout is present.
You are now left with an indentation in the grout that needs to be filled. Bring a grout sample, if possible, to your local tile store or home improvement retailer, and try to get the closest match you can. Once you have obtained the material, pour the dry mixture into the cavity you created. If the color matches to your liking, vacuum the dry mixture out and follow directions on the box to make a small batch. Use a rubber glove and a finger to firmly apply the grout to the damaged area. Blend the mixtures in to the best of your abilities, and clean the area with a clean, damp sponge. Verify the joint composition is a match to the original grout.