Preventing Efflorescence
Clean your tile

Your tile floors looked great when they were first installed, but now they are starting to look a little dull. It may surprise some to find out you don’t need a special product or professional to get them looking great again. All you need to do is clean your tile properly.

Homeowners may not realize this, but not knowing how to properly clean your tile will make them look older and dirtier. Before you get out a mop bucket, floor cleaner and scrub brush, there are five things you need to know about cleaning tile.

5 Things to know

1. Tile should be sealed.

This is incredibly important to do when it is installed. Tile is porous and sealing it helps keep dirt and grime out of it. Equally important, the unsealed tile will absorb whatever cleanser you put on it. Harsh cleansers will harm your tile when it is absorbed. Sealing also protects the grout from absorbing dirt and extends the life of your tile and grout.

Grout needs to be sealed as well. It must be dry before a sealer is applied. Use a sealer that is labeled as a silicone-based grout sealer. Sealers don’t last forever either. They will need to be reapplied every two years. Your tile and grout may need a sealer more frequently if it’s in an area with high traffic.

2. Mop water is the number one way tile and grout get dirty.

Mopping the floor starts off fine with clean water, but several wrings of the mop will amount to dirty water. In essence, you are just moving dirt around the tile’s surface at that point. Keep your mop and mop water clean, changing it out when it gets dirty and changing out mop heads regularly. You can also use products with disposable floor wipes that can be thrown away afterward.

3. You don’t necessarily need commercial tile cleaners.

Most home experts say things like a diluted mix of vinegar and water or a combination of baking soda, water and vinegar will clean your tile. Using products like bleach or commercial floor cleaners can erode grout, the grainy,cement-like material used between tile to fill in spaces and connect the tiles together. However, a really porous and coarse tile like marble may need a special, less acidic product. Vinegar can stain this type of tile. One expert suggested combining two parts of baking soda to one part peroxide to clean grout and marble. Another trick is to use an eraser on a pencil to scrub grout on more porous tile surfaces. You just rub it back and forth and then clean with water.

4. Dirty grout is the main contributor to dirty looking tile.

It is highly susceptible to water and other spills on the floor and liquids can go deep down into the grout to cause stains. Grout is also a common area of mildew, mold, and bacteria. When you clean your tile every week, or more, dirt gets into harder to clean areas of the grout. This can discolor the grout, making your entire floor look dirty. You must also clean your grout regularly as well as your tile to keep it looking fresh.

5.  There are different ways to clean

There are different ways to clean dark-colored grout and light-colored grout. You will need a small brush, like a toothbrush and a small scrub brush.

For grout lines that are dark-colored:

  • Make a paste out of baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Put it on the grout lines using a toothbrush and let it set.
  • Use the small scrub brush or the toothbrush to scrub them.
  • Remove the vinegar and baking soda solution by cleaning the floor with clean water.

For grout lines that are white or light-colored:

  • Use dry oxygen bleach to sprinkle on the grout lines.
  • Wet down the grout with a spray water bottle and let it set.
  • Use a toothbrush or small scrub brush to clean the grout.
  • Use clean water to wash away the solution.

Know your Tile

Understanding more about tile and grout will help you pick the right products, spend less money and keep your tiled areas looking awesome for many years. You will find cleaning them make take a little time, but making it a part of your cleaning routine will help you keep your tile looking fresh for your family and any guests.