Tile Floor Care: Cleaning the Floor Tiles
Tile products generally need little upkeep. With correct maintenance, you can prolong the lifespan and maintain the aesthetic of your tile floor. Inadequate care may lead to a build-up, which could cause the tiles to become slippery. We aim to provide you with essential tips to clean tile floors to keep them looking their best.
Do's and Don'ts of Cleaning Tile Floors
- Do sweep or vacuum surface.
- Do mix water with tile and grout cleaner per the manufacturer's instructions and apply to tile surface — next mop solution and rinse thoroughly with clean water and wipe your floor dry.
- Do not attempt any cleaning until five days after installation to ensure grout is completely dry.
- Do not use any cleaning methods that are not mentioned within the manufacturer label in order to maintain your manufacturer warranty.
Why You Should Clean Tile Floors Regularly
Frequent cleaning of tile floors is essential for several reasons, both aesthetic and practical:
- Appearance: Regular cleaning keeps tiles looking their best. Dirt, spills, and grime can make ceramic and porcelain tiles look dull and unattractive. Cleaning helps maintain the shine and color of the tiles, ensuring they look as good as new for longer.
- Hygiene: Floors can harbor bacteria, viruses, and allergens. Regular cleaning eliminates these harmful microorganisms, contributing to a healthier living environment, especially important in homes with young children, elderly people, or anyone with allergies or respiratory issues.
- Prolongs Tile Life: Dirt and grit can be abrasive. Over time, they can cause wear and tear on tiles, especially on softer tile materials. Regular cleaning prevents this gradual damage, thereby prolonging the life of your tile flooring.
- Grout Maintenance: Grout lines can absorb stains and become discolored if not cleaned regularly. This discoloration can be challenging to reverse. Regular cleaning helps to prevent grout from becoming dingy and stained.
- Prevents Mold and Mildew: In areas with high moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens, tiles can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Regular cleaning helps prevent the growth of these fungi, which can be hazardous to health and difficult to eradicate once they take hold.
- Safety: Spills on tile floors can create slip hazards. Prompt cleaning of spills prevents accidents, particularly important in homes with elderly residents or young children.
- Preserves Tile Finish: Certain types of tiles have a protective glaze or finish that can be damaged by dirt and grit. Regular cleaning helps to preserve this finish, keeping the tiles protected.
- Enhances Overall Room Ambiance: Clean floors contribute to the overall cleanliness and ambiance of a room. Dirty or dingy floors can make even the most well-decorated spaces feel unkempt.
To maintain tile floors, it's recommended to sweep or use a vacuum cleaner regularly to remove dirt and grit, and mop with a suitable cleaner to remove stains and build-up. Also, immediate attention to spills and regular grout cleaning will help maintain the floor's appearance and longevity.
Cleaning Instructions for Different Types of Tile: Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile
How to Clean Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain tile is beautiful and also incredibly durable making maintenance fairly simple. Cleaning porcelain tile is quick and simple if you keep up with a routine.
To keep your Porcelain Tile clean and looking its best, you'll want to conduct weekly low-maintenance cleaning and a monthly deep clean. We recommend cleaning porcelain tile floors weekly by sweeping and vacuuming to remove any dirt and debris. Now, when it comes to conducting your monthly deep cleaning of porcelain tile floors, your process may differ depending on whether you have polished or unpolished porcelain tile.
- Polished Porcelain Tile (Glazed Porcelain Tile): You can use a vinegar and hot water solution to get out any tough messes that linger after vacuuming and sweeping. We recommend combining 1 gallon of hot water and ¼ cup of white vinegar and either mopping the floor or using a large sponge to apply the cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse with clean water and dry with a towel to keep glazed surfaces looking great.
- Unpolished Porcelain Tile (Unglazed Tiles): Your floors don't have the same protective coat that polished porcelain tile does, so you may be better off using a more gentle, commercial-grade cleaner without harsh chemicals. It's important to note that you can still use the white vinegar solution if you wish, but a gentler cleaner may help to preserve your unpolished porcelain tile. Be sure to also rinse with clean warm water and dry with a towel, whether you choose a commercial-grade cleaner or the natural water-vinegar solution.
This simple cleaning method will keep your porcelain tiles looking like new for many years to come. You'll be glad you chose porcelain tiles when your routine cleaning is done in less time.
How to Clean Ceramic Tile
Much like their porcelain tile counterpart, cleaning ceramic tile floors is best as both a weekly and monthly routine. Each week, we recommend doing a sweep, vacuum or both to ensure dirt, sand, and grit are not dulling or scratching your ceramic tiles. Each month, we suggest mopping your floors with a mild detergent / hot water solution. Make sure to use a rag or chamois mop to clean tile floors, as a sponge mop could push dirty water into the grout lines and cause stains. To avoid this, change your bucket of cleaning solution often and buff dry with a clean cloth or towel.
How to Clean Natural Stone Tile
Cleaning natural stone requires special care to maintain its beauty and integrity. As with porcelain tile and ceramic floors, you'll want to dust and sweep regularly to remove any loose dirt that can wear on your floors over time. Be sure to use non-abrasive tools like a soft bristle broom, damp mop, or microfiber cloth.
For a deeper clean use only mild detergents and lukewarm water. You'll want to avoid vinegar, acidic cleaners, and those with harsh chemicals. Avoid excess moisture, be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry completely.
Cleaning Other Tiles
We've covered instructions for the three main types of tile floors. With so many tile materials and options to choose from, it's important to always follow manufacturers' cleaning instructions to maintain the beauty of your tile.
Browse our flooring guide article to learn more about different types of tile.
Tile Floor Care Tools:
While understanding the fundamentals of cleaning tile floors is essential to the upkeep and longevity of your flooring, the tools that you use to execute these cleaning strategies are equally as important. Below are some tools we recommend to keep your tile floors looking and feeling their best.
- A Vacuum Cleaner or Soft Bristle Broom. These are used on a weekly basis to clear debris, loose dirt and grime that may scratch or dull your floor.
- Bucket & Mop. A bucket and mop make it easy to both create your cleaning solution and to distribute/scrub it into the tile floors. Be sure to use a chamois mop rather than a sponge, which could cause staining or discoloration in grout.
- Gentle, Commercial Grade Cleaner. This mild detergent is only essential if you don't want to create your own cleaning solution using vinegar or lemon juice, or if you have unpolished porcelain tiles.
- Vinegar, Lemon Juice, or Other Natural Cleaning Agents. This is helpful for creating cleaning solutions that are perfect for maintaining tile floors.
- Grout Cleaner & Scrubbing Brush. Grout is extremely porous, which means it easily absorbs dirt, grease, and other materials. Use commercial-grade grout cleaner directly on the surface, and scrub with a toothbrush or small, nylon scrub brush. Avoid metal brushes, as the bristles can scratch your tiles.
- Dry Cloth, Towel, or Microfiber Cloth. This is necessary to dry your tile floors after cleaning.