Tile floors have a wide variety of potential uses in modern homes. They may be employed in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, mudrooms, or any number of other spaces. While tile can sometimes be expensive and time-intensive to install (particularly depending on the type and size of tile used), it usually is a versatile material, resistant to damage, and generally holds up well over time.
Cleaning tile floors also tends to be simpler than cleaning other materials — such as wood, leather, suede, or other common surfaces you may find in the home. That said, it is a regular chore that should be undertaken with consistency. Understanding how to clean tile in the most effective way possible keeps tile floors and walls looking as resilient and attractive as possible for years to come.
One important thing to note about cleaning tile floors is that the process somewhat differs for distinct types of tile. If you're working with marble and granite, avoid using acidic cleaners, as these can damage the tile.
1. Remove Debris From Floor
Prior to cleaning any tile floor, sweep or vacuum to remove larger debris from the floor. Stones, clumps of dirt, hair, or other small objects get in the way of consistent cleaning and may even smear the floor, so are best removed prior to starting.
2. Make (or Purchase) a Cleaning Solution
A basic homemade solution can consist of a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, with a few drops of tea tree oil. (Tea tree oil is a type of oil derived from the Australian tea tree, and may have antibacterial and other medicinal properties). Other types of essential oils can also be added to your solution — like lavender, or geranium — to give it a more conventional "cleaning" scent.
Lemon can also be an effective tile cleaner; however, avoid both lemon and vinegar if working with marble or granite, as the acidity can damage the tile.
3. Gently Clean the Tile
Apply the mixture to your tile using a clean cloth or a gentle mop. Let the tile get wet (but not too met) and then wipe it clean with a clean, dry and nonabrasive cloth. Try to work in sections, and be sure to change the water, or make a new batch of cleaning solution, as the water becomes dirty. The required frequency of the water change will likely vary, depending on the size of the area you are cleaning and the dirtiness of the tile.
4. Clean Grout Around Tiles
Once the tiles are clean, the next step is to clean the grout between the tiles. Grout can also become dirty, which can lend tile floors a worn look. The following steps are effective in cleaning grout:
If the grout is not too dirty, water may do the trick. Simply spray water on the grout, then use a cleaning brush to scrub it clean.
For heavier stains, you probably need to make (or buy) a stronger solution. You can start by spraying some vinegar onto the grout and letting it sit (again, provided the tile is not marble or granite). For even harsher stains, mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide makes a strong solution. Mix it, apply it to the grout, and let it sit for up to half an hour.
Use a scrub brush to clean the grout. Afterward, wipe the grout clean with warm water, then with a clean, dry rag.
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Blue Ridge Floors has a variety of experience working with many types of floors. Contact us today to discuss all of your flooring needs.