Homes with ceramic or porcelain floor tiles have less ambient dust, making the air in your home much healthier by reducing the amount of household allergens. This is a fantastic benefit for those who suffer from dust-related allergies. But how to keep your tiled floors looking awesome?
Besides their phenomenal beauty and versatility, ceramic and porcelain tile floors have the advantage of being very low-maintenance. These tiles are made of natural particles that are shaped and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures.
This process creates a durability and resiliency that is unmatched by most other flooring surfaces. When glazed, they also have a protective barrier from dirt, water, stains, and chemicals, making them even more impervious to the elements. Even while easy to maintain, there are some steps to take to ensure that your tile floor remains in optimal condition.
Let’s get started with the basics.
Dry Cleaning: Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt are inevitable, particularly in rooms with access to the outdoors. Sweep or vacuum the floors daily. Depending on the width and depth of your grout lines, you may want to sweep or vacuum in a cross pattern to remove all the dust and grit of the day. This removes loose dirt, food crumbs and other pieces of debris that can accumulate on tile floors. Dirt that is allowed to sit in wet areas can quickly turn into hard-to-remove grime.
Dry Cleaning: Pet Hair
One of the reasons you chose tile floors is because they are pet-friendly, right? Dogs and cats add so much to our lives, including their fur. While you can use a vacuum to suck up the pet hair, many of today’s high-powered vacuums can actually spread the pet hair around the room, especially when used on tile floors.
For easy clean-up, consider using a rubber broom. These brooms have short rubber bristles that attract pet hair effortlessly, making it the perfect tool for cleaning tiles.
Weekly Damp Cleaning
Mopping your floor is recommended to remove any dirt or grime that sweeping has left behind. To keep your tile floors clean, be sure to sweep or vacuum up any loose dirt and dust before introducing the mop—otherwise, you may just create a thin film of mud on your beautiful floors.
Mop the floor with warm water. If the floors don’t have stains or require heavy cleaning, running a damp mop over them will be sufficient to keep it clean. You may opt to add a small amount of cleaner to the mix to pick up everyday dust and debris.
When it comes to cleaning solutions for mopping, use a pH-balanced cleaner with warm water. When dampening your mop, make sure that you wring out as much of the solution as possible. When you’ve finished mopping, whether you use water or water mixed with cleaner, run a dry mop over the floor. This will prevent new dirt from quickly accumulating and staining the grout.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE CLEANERS:
To avoid discolouring and damaging your grout, avoid cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia, abrasives, wax, sealants, or oil-based cleaners.
Accidents happen, but when a glass of juice tips or a bowl of ice cream hits the floor, rest assured that your tile will remain beautiful. The important thing is to wipe up spills immediately using a clean, damp cloth; don’t let the spill lay on the floor for an extended period of time. The longer it sits, the more time it will have to soak into the grout. Next, use your favourite pH-balanced floor cleaner and water to remove any residue left behind, and then dry the floor with a clean cloth to restore its shine and lustre.
If your pet has an accident or you drop raw meat on the floor, spray a disinfectant directly over the spot and wipe it up right away. If possible, limit the disinfectant to the area where the spill occurred. Strong chemicals may degrade or stain tile.
In bathrooms, entryways, and kitchens, chances are your tile is going to need deeper cleaning than in other areas of the home. The first step is to keep your floors as clean as possible, sweeping or vacuuming and doing spot clean-ups as recommended. But when you do need a deeper clean, remember that while durable, porcelain and ceramic tiles can be damaged by stiff brushes and steel wool.
Cleaning Unpolished or Textured Porcelain Tiles
Saturate the floor or counter with the cleaning solution. Let it soak for up to ten minutes, then wipe with a clean, damp rag or a sponge mop. Rinse with clean, warm water to remove any residue.
Cleaning Polished Porcelain Tiles
Use 50% less detergent per litre of warm water than you would on unpolished or textured porcelain tiles. Mop the floor or wipe the counter tops, but do not allow the water to sit on the tiles. Rinse the tiles immediately with clean, warm water.
Finally, dry your tiles with a soft, dry cloth. This is all that is required to keep your tile floors looking their best.
Keeping porcelain tiles looking new is not difficult, but there are a few cleaning supplies you should avoid. Do not use:
- an acid or ammonia-based cleaner, because it could affect the colour of the grout. Acid-based cleaners will cause tiles to dull.
- bleach or vinegar and water – vinegar is an acid.
- steel wool pads or any abrasive on tiles. These materials can scratch or dull the surface. Any loose particles of steel left on the grout will cause rust stains.
Over time, and with exposure to the elements, grout can become discoloured and dingy. When this happens, it detracts from the beauty of your floor.
To keep this from happening, and to preserve both your tile and grout, it is important to take care of your grout as well. The best way to do this is to seal it after you have installed your tile.
This will keep stains, dirt, and water from being able to penetrate the protective barrier.
Experts recommend doing this about twice a year, though your tile manufacturer may recommend a different sealing schedule.
Follow the link: How to clean grout.
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