When selecting new flooring, many consumers juggle the numerous pros and cons of hardwood, tile, linoleum, and carpet. Because floors bear the burden of heavy foot traffic, spills, and other messes, the ease of cleaning often plays a role in deciding on a flooring material. Many consumers opt for tile floors due to their durability and price point. While properly cleaning your tile floors is relatively easy, it is important to learn the proper way to do it to extend the life of your tile.
Sweep or vacuum first
It may be tempting to start a cleaning session with a quick mop, but it is important to sweep or vacuum up the dry dirt, dust, and debris first. This step is important in protecting the shine of your tile. Dirt can scratch the surface of the tile which then reduces the overall look of your floors.
Once the dirt and dust are removed, it is time to mop. Follow these tips for an effective mopping session:
- Fill a bucket with very hot water and a mild detergent. Follow the instructions on your detergent bottle for the appropriate ratio of water to detergent.
- Opt for a chamois mop. (The sponge mops can push grime further into the grout!)
- Change the bucket water once it begins to look dirty. Using dirty water creates a film of dirt over your tiles.
- Rinse the floors with fresh water to ensure that all cleaning agents have been removed. Residual soap can also leave a film.
After the mopping is finished, you may find that a few stubborn stains have stuck around.
- For set-in stains: create a paste of equal parts of warm water and a scouring agent. Apply the paste onto the stain and let it sit for ten minutes. Scrub with a soft brush and then rinse the area with fresh water.
- For mildew stains: In a well-ventilated area, prepare a solution of equal parts water and ammonia. Using a soft brush, scrub the stained area. Once you have removed the mildew stains, rinse the area with fresh water. Caution: wear gloves to protect your hands.
Remove residue on tiles
If you waited too long to change out your mop bucket and ended up with a filmy residue on your tile, grab a spray bottle and two clean, dry towels or microfiber clothes.
- Fill the spray bottle 2/3 of the way with hot water and 1/3 white distilled vinegar. Note: do not use an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice on marble tiles.
- Spray on any hazy tiles.
- Dry the wet tiles with the first towel.
- Run the second towel over the tiles once more to buff them.
Caring for grout
Even the cleanest floors will look dirty if the grout is stained. Because grout is porous, it can easily become stained. To remove grout stains follow these steps:
- Create a paste of baking soda and water.
- Apply to stained grout areas.
- Let it sit for a few hours, ideally overnight
- Scrub with a nylon brush
- Seal the grout again to prevent future stains
- For tough stains, you can use bleach and water mixture (75/25) but be careful only to use bleach on white grout.
Follow these cleaning tips, and your floors will shine!