Written by Katie Hinkle | Denver, CO | March 6th, 2019
Keeping tile floors looking like new is a task that requires a gentle hand and a few smart cleaning techniques. Learn what is takes to clean tile floors, to clean tile grout, and which products and tools are the best to use.
In any home, the kitchen and bathroom are never fully clean rooms until the floor has been scrubbed. While that does not happen as often as wiping down counter tops, it is important to keep an eye on the tile floors for signs of dirt or grime. A hazy film or dirty grout are both signs that it is time to do more than just sweep. Here are the best ways to tackle those dirty tile floors.
NOTE: All tile floors do not react the same to all cleaning tools and products!
While tile floors are incredibly durable, certain types of tile require their needs to be cared for in a certain way. It is important to know what type of tile is in each room. Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles require very little special care, while slate, marble, granite, limestone, and other coarse tiles require individualized care and often specific cleaners.
How to Care for Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Floors
Both ceramic and porcelain tile floors are incredibly durable but there are a few things that can make cleaning them easy. Here is a simple process to follow:
- Clean up loose debris: Sweep regularly to keep the tiles from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull the glazed surface.
- Choose the right floor mop: Rag and chamois-style mops are best for cleaning tile because sponges mops tend to push dirty water into the grout making them much harder to clean. Use clean water and mild detergent. Dirty water can lead to a cloudy looking floor so be sure to change the water frequently while mopping.
- Look out for stains: If there is discoloration, determine what type of substance made the stain and use the right cleaner to remove it.
- Watch for soap residue: Soap residue may occur if tiles start to look hazy even after the cleaning process. To reverse this look, remove the film with a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. (Never use an acidic cleaner on stone tiles!)
- Dry the tiles: Don’t let the glazed tiles air-dry. This will form water spots. Avoid that by drying the floor with a clean, lint-free cloth immediately after washing. A microfiber towel is also a good choice.
How to Care for Stone Tile Floors
Whenever working with natural stone, be extra cautious with chemicals. Slate, granite, marble, and other natural stones can be damaged by the chemicals in traditional cleaners. Instead, clean natural stone tile floors with cleaners made specifically for natural stone.
Slate Tiles: Use a mild detergent if it does not contain acidic properties, such as lemon or vinegar. If the slate tile is coated, avoid water spots by drying the tile right away with a soft towel.
Marble Tiles: Marble makes a gorgeous tile, but it is also high-maintenance. Avoid everything that contains an acidic pH level when cleaning marble tiles. Cleaners with lemon or vinegar should also be avoided, as they can etch the surface of the tile. Brushes with tough bristles, scouring powders, and anything that can scratch the tile should also be ignored.
Granite Tiles: Like slate and marble, granite tiles need to be cleaned with a mild detergent that is pH-neutral. A harsh cleaner can leave streaks and discoloration of the tile. Buffing a polished granite floor can keep it shiny and clean longer.
How to Clean Tile Grout
Clean grout is the real secret to a great-looking tile floor! Grout is very porous and absorbs grease and other stains. Here’s how to get tile grout looking like new:
- Skip commercial cleaners and make a paste of baking soda and water.
- Rub it into the stain and let it sit overnight.
- Scrub the stain in the morning with a stiff nylon brush. Avoid a metal brush because that will damage the grout. Repeat as many times as necessary.
- Apply a silicone-based sealer to the grout to repel any future stains. This works best when done 10-14 days after the grout is installed.
How often do tile floors need to be cleaned?
A regular cleaning schedule looks different for dry floors compared to wet floors. To keep tile looking clean and residue free, follow these recommended steps.
Dry floors: Sweep or vacuum at least once a week or whenever debris becomes visible. A soft-bristle vacuum attachment can be used on tile floors of any type, but a hand broom and dust pan are strongly encouraged.
Wet floors: Mop kitchen tile floors once very two weeks. Mop bathroom tile floors once a week. (Germs tend to build up faster in bathrooms compared to kitchens.) Spend time to spot clean the grout once every few months or whenever it looks dingy.
Tile floors are not hard to maintain and care for with the correct knowledge and tools.
About Brekhus Tile & Stone
Brekhus Tile & Stone is a family-owned tile and stone installation contractor based in Denver, Colorado. Founded in 1998, the company excels at complex, custom, high-end stone and tile installation projects that present technical challenges.
Working throughout the state of Colorado, Brekhus has delivered superior craftsmanship in hundreds of jobs in shopping malls, office buildings, apartment complexes and the nation’s largest restaurant and hotel chains. Our clientele includes: Denver International Airport, Ralph Carr Justice Center, Capital Grille, the Ameristar Casino Resort at Black Hawk, Coors Field, Union Station, and Civic Center Station. In addition to commercial work, Brekhus also designs and builds high-end residential projects including kitchens, bathrooms, spas, heated decks and other luxury home features requiring custom tile and stone. Brekhus Tile & Stone has its own fabrication facility – Brekhus Marble & Granite. On top of being able to cut granite, marble, and other stone to precise specifications, Brekhus Marble & Granite also works with all varieties of flooring tile, porcelain, and other materials.
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Address: 860 S Jason St. Denver, CO 80223
Phone: 303 494 9255