How to Clean Tile Floors

How to Clean Tile FloorTile floors are prized for how easy they are to clean, and they look terrific too. At least, they look great as long as they are kept in good shape. To do that, regular cleanings are required. Luckily, cleaning a tile floor is simple enough. As long as it's done regularly, you shouldn't have to do deep cleanings very often.

Most tile floors are ceramic, and the majority of the advice here applies to ceramic tile flooring. If you have marble tile flooring, refer to the manufacturer's instructions regarding how to clean it. Please note that you should never use vinegar or other abrasive substances on marble, or you could damage it permanently.

Basic Tips for Tile Floors

Unlike many types of flooring, tile tends to be very strong and durable. There's no need to treat it with kid gloves, but there are still things you can do to keep it looking like new for as long as possible.

Most notably, use floor mats in entryways to help trap dust, dirt and other debris. This will keep it from getting onto the floor in the first place, which will reduce the amount of cleaning that you need to do. As an added bonus, with less dirt and debris on the floor, the risk of it winding up in the grout is a lot lower too. Also, your tile floors will remain shinier and nicer looking because they won't be subtly worn away by grit and dirt over time.

Because tile is designed for use in areas that may be wet or moist, you don't have to worry about using water to clean it. Still, don't let water or other liquids pool or puddle onto the floor for too long. It can, at the very least, loosen up the grout, work its way beneath the tiles and cause major damage.

General Cleaning Tips for Tile Floors

As a general rule, the more often you can sweep or vacuum your tile floors, the better. That's especially true for high-traffic areas like kitchens. The reason being that even the smallest amounts of dirt and debris can get into the grout, which means you will spend a lot more time scrubbing and scouring between the tiles. That gets old quickly!

You can use a vacuum cleaner or a broom to clean your tile floor. Try to do so at least once a day, or aim for every other day if time is an issue. After vacuuming or sweeping, use a dust mop or dry cloth duster to pick up tiny particles. The goal here is to remove as much dirt, dust and debris from the surface of the tile as possible.

As long as you sweep or vacuum your tile floor every day or so, more thorough cleanings can be spaced out a lot more. In the meantime, though, be sure to clean up spills promptly. This reduces the chances that they will permanently stain the tile or wind up in the grout, which can be highly susceptible to stains if a sealer hasn't been applied.

Deep Cleaning a Tile Floor

Tile CleaningFrom time to time, you're going to want to give your tile floor a more thorough cleaning. As long as it's not really dirty, warm water will suffice.

Before mopping a tile floor with warm water, sweep or vacuum it thoroughly, and then use a dry cloth duster or dust mop to remove tinier particles. Use a chamois or rag to mop the floor. Sponge mops tend to deliver dirty water into grout lines, where it builds up and makes the grout look filthy. Filthy grout makes for a filthy-looking tile floor, so this should be avoided at all costs.

Cleaning a Hazy Tile Floor

If your tile flooring starts looking kind of hazy, soap residue is probably to blame. A non-abrasive all-purpose cleaner should do the trick. Just follow the instructions on the bottle. Alternatively, freshly squeezed lemon juice works wonders, and it smells great too! Whether you use a commercial cleaner or lemon juice, follow up your cleaning with a rinsing of fresh, clean water, and then dry the tile floor by pushing a clean, lint-free cloth over it using your foot. Pay particular attention to grout lines.

Additional tips for deep cleaning a tile floor include:

  • Remove more stubborn stains by using a 50/50 mixture of warm water and a scouring powder like Comet. Rub it onto the stain using a clean cloth, and let it sit for five to 10 minutes. Scrub it with a soft brush, rinse it with warm water and then dry it with a cloth.
  • Mildew can be removed from a tile floor using a 50/50 mix of ammonia and water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, and then apply the solution onto the spot with a soft brush. Rinse it with clean water, and then dry it with a clean cloth.
  • Rust spots can be quickly removed by applying kerosene to the stain using a clean cloth. Wash the spot with warm water, and then dry it thoroughly.

Cleaning Tile Floor Grout

Nothing can ruin an otherwise clean, shiny tile floor like dirty grout. Grout is porous, so it tends to get stained easily. The best way to clean it is by using a paste made out of baking soda and water. Apply it to the dirty grout and let it sit overnight. The next day, scrub it with a stiff nylon brush.

If you have white grout, you can also use a mix of 75 percent bleach and 25 percent water. Using the edge of a toothbrush, scrub it onto the offending spot, and then rinse it with warm water.

For tiny grout stains, a pencil eraser is surprisingly effective.

Once your grout is clean, consider sealing it with a silicone-based sealer.

As long as you keep these tips in mind, your tile flooring will keep looking clean, shiny and like new for many years to come!

Have questions? Ask our expert on Google+