Ceramic tile floors are popular not only for their appearance but also for their ease of maintenance. But like anything, they're not completely maintenance-free. A little regular upkeep and cleaning will keep them looking as new as the day they were installed.
Knowing how to clean ceramic tile is key. Fresh water is often enough for glazed ceramic tiles. But for heavier cleaning, head to your grocery or hardware store to find a product that is recommended for ceramic tile and tile floors.
What to Avoid
There are more don'ts than do's when cleaning ceramic tile.
How to Avoid the Need for Heavy Cleaning
There are a few steps you can take to make cleaning easier and less frequent:
How to Clean Heavily Soiled Tile
Restoring heavily soiled ceramic tile floors can take a little more effort. You'll need the following items:
Sweep thoroughly, then vacuum with special attention to the grout, the edges of the room and any deep crevices if you're cleaning textured tile.
Mop the floor with fresh water, using the second water bucket to rinse and wring the dirty sponge. For difficult greasy dirt, a few drops of vinegar in a gallon of warm water will act as a degreaser.
Mopping a tile floor can trap the dirty water in the grout lines, discoloring the grout. If this is the case, you may need to spot-clean the grout with a brush and grout cleaner. An old toothbrush or fingernail brush is ideal.
After mopping, buff the tiles clean with dry towels. This will avoid staining from water spots and will pick up any dirt left behind. Spot clean any difficult spots or dirty grout as needed.
Showers and Tubs
Shower and tub enclosures can present a few extra challenges from hard water stains, soap scum or mildew. The same basic rules apply; avoid abrasive or acidic products that may scratch or discolor the tile. Look for mold-and-mildew or lime stain removers at your grocery store. Most household cleaners in combination with a little elbow grease should also work.
For mildew, add a few drops of bleach to a gallon of clean water. For lime and hard water stains, add a few drops of vinegar to a gallon of water. Dark stains resulting from body oils mixed with soap scum can be soaked with laundry detergent for a few hours before scrubbing with a household cleaner.
Once you have your ceramic tile floors and walls looking like new again, some minimal common-sense upkeep as described here will avoid the need for any heavy cleaning for a long time.
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