Tile floors are durable and low-maintenance, but regular cleaning is essential for keeping them looking their best. Preventing dirt and grime from accumulating in the first place goes a long way toward limiting the amount of work required to maintain tile floor cleanliness. Using door mats and taking off shoes before entering the home can be a great start, as can sweeping or vacuuming on a regular basis. Wiping up spills as soon as they happen and scrubbing grout occasionally can also help to limit the need for more strenuous cleaning.
Whether you have ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile, there are products designed to be used on your specific type of flooring. These tile cleaners can be used to sanitize, disinfect and make your floors shine, as well as protect your grout from discoloration. When choosing a tile floor cleaner, always look for one that has been labeled safe for your particular kind of tiles and read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it. For example, if you have marble or slate tile, a more specialized and stronger product might be needed to prevent scratching.
A good rule of thumb is to dry your tile floor cleaning as soon as you’re finished mopping them. This will remove any remaining water and prevent unsightly water spots and streaks. Also, change the bucket of water frequently so that you’re not using dirty water to wash your tile.
Vinegar is a tried and true cleaning agent that is easy to find in most homes. It is a powerful deodorizer and lifts even the toughest of stains, leaving surfaces sparkling clean and fresh. To use vinegar as a tile floor cleaner, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bucket and mop your floor with it on a weekly basis.
There are also several types of commercial tile floor cleaners available to purchase in the cleaning aisle at your grocery or hardware store. These professional-strength cleaners typically require a bit of mixing with powdered oxygen bleach before they’re ready to be used. This bleach has a different chemical composition than chlorine bleach, making it less toxic and color-safe to use.
While there are plenty of specialty tile cleaning products on the market, you might be surprised to learn that most of them contain harsh ingredients that could damage your tile or grout. If you have a ceramic or porcelain tile, stick with a mild detergent solution and choose a sponge mop to avoid pushing dirty water into the grout. When it comes to porous natural stone tile like slate, travertine or limestone, a cleaner specifically designed for these materials might be needed as they’re more likely to be damaged by acidic or caustic chemicals. Once you’ve cleaned your tile, it’s a good idea to have the grout sealed to protect against future staining. This can be done by a professional or done on your own with a special tool, such as a grout brush.