This article comes from Better Homes & Gardens.
How to Clean & Maintain Tile Floors
Your kitchen or bathroom is never fully clean until you’ve scrubbed the floors. While you don’t have to tackle this chore every time you wipe down the countertop, it’s important to keep an eye on your tile floors for signs of dirt or grime. A hazy film or dirty grout are both indicators that it’s time to do more than sweeping. We’ll show you the best ways to clean your tile floors no matter what type of tile you have.
How to Clean Tile Floors of All Types
You wouldn’t wash a stainless-steel refrigerator with a cleaner meant for an enamel surface. The same goes for your tile. While tile floors are incredibly durable, certain kinds of tile need to be cared for in a special way. Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles require very little special care, while coarse tiles such as slate, marble, granite, or limestone do require individualized care and often specific cleaners.
How to Clean Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Floors
Ceramic tile and porcelain tile floors are incredibly durable but there are a few things that can make keeping them clean and looking good easy. Here’s the simple process we follow:
Clean up loose debris: Sweep or vacuum your tile floors regularly to keep them from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull the glazed surfaces.
Choose the right floor mop: Clean tile with mild detergent and clean water using a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. Rag and chamois-style mops are best for cleaning tile because sponge mops tend to push dirty water into the grout lines, making them harder to clean. Be sure to change the water frequently while mopping; dirty water equals a cloudy floor.
Be on the look for tile stains: If you find a discoloration, try to determine what type of substance made the stain and use the right cleaner to remove it; we can help with our guide to removing tile stains.
How to Clean Stone Tile Floors
Be careful when you’re working with natural stone tile like slate, granite or marble; chemicals in traditional cleaners can damage the surface. Instead, clean your stone tiles with cleaners made specifically for natural stone.
Slate Tile: You may also use a mild detergent as long as it doesn’t contain acidic properties, such as lemon or vinegar. If your slate tile is coated, avoid water spots by drying the tile right away with a soft towel.
Marble Tile: Marble makes stunning tile, but it’s also high-maintenance. Avoid cleaning marble tile with anything that has an acidic PH level. Cleaners with lemon or vinegar should be avoided, as they can etch the surface of the tile. Also stay away from anything that may scratch the marble, such as brushes with tough bristles or scouring powders.
Granite Tile: Like slate and marble tile, granite tile needs to be cleaned with a mild detergent that is pH-neutral. A harsh cleaner risks leaving streaks or discoloration on the tile. You also may want to buff a polished granite floor to keep it looking shiny and clean.
How to Clean Resilient Tile Floors
Made from materials like linoleum, vinyl, cork and rubber, resilient tile is a great option if you want a surface that’s easy on the feet and needs minimal maintenance. Here area few tips to keep in mind when cleaning your resilient tile floor.
Vinyl Tile: This super resilient flooring type is also easy to maintain. Simply sweep or vacuum up debris and mop with a vinyl cleaning solution or water and vinegar. Never use an abrasive cleaner or scrubbing tool on vinyl; it will scratch the surface.
Linoleum Tile: Though it’s often mistaken for vinyl flooring, linoleum is actually very different and has specific cleaning requirements. After sweeping or vacuuming, wash the linoleum tile with linoleum flooring cleaning solution or borax and water. Rinse clean and the floor dry. To protect your linoleum floors, apply a coat of wax or liquid wax and buff to a shine every 3 to 6 months.
Cork Tile: The cleaning care your cork tile needs will vary based on the finish on your tiles. If the cork surface is sealed with polyurethane (most cork floors are), clean with water and mild detergent or white vinegar, then rinse well. If the cork is unfinished or waxed, follow the cleaning instructions for polyurethane but apply solid or liquid wax once the tile is dry.
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