Tips for Regularly Maintaining and Cleaning Tile Floors
Many homeowners have difficulty finding the best methods for cleaning tile floors. Though it has a reputation for being difficult, many find that with regular maintenance, it is easy to make their clean tile floors shine like new. In comparison to many other flooring surfaces, such as carpeting and hardwood, tiles are actually quite easy to care for, particularly if they are cleaned regularly and before stains have a chance to set in.
The best advice on how to clean tile floors is to deal with spills quickly and efficiently. Spills on tiling, if cleaned immediately, may require little more than a damp cloth to pick up. If you prefer to use a cleaning solution when cleaning floor tiles, opt for one that is non-abrasive and mild. This will prevent the tiles from becoming discolored or scratched.
Another tip from experts on how to clean the tile floor is to mop it regularly. Preventative mopping, done before the floor shows signs of being dirty, can get rid of dust particles and dirt that may become affixed to the tile if left unattended. When cleaning the ceramic tile floor, you may use almost any household cleaner. For best results, though, dilute it thoroughly in your mopping bucket before you begin.
Many people are under the assumption that bleach is the right solution for cleaning floor tile grout. While bleach is generally effective, it can also cause the grout to dissolve or the tiles to stain. If you must use bleach, it should be heavy. Some find that using organic bleach alternatives gives that the tile floor cleaning power they desire, without all the corrosive effects.
The best way to ensure a clean tile floor is through regular light cleaning. This will eliminate the need for heavy-duty cleaning, which can cause long term damage to the floors in your home and cause undue wear.
Removing Stains From Floor Tiles
Remove Stains Naturally
Tiles are pieces of hardwearing material used to form wall and floor coverings. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from manufactured simple squares to complex mosaics.
Floor tiles are commonly made of ceramic or stone, typically set into a mortar of sand, cement, and latex-based adhesive. Spaces between the tiles are filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout. The grout is a mixture made of cement, sand, fine gravel and water. Porcelain or ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed.
One of the most common complaints associated with tile flooring is staining due to kitchen mishaps or otherwise. The tendency to take up a stain depends on the porosity of tile material. Stains can penetrate deeper into the highly porous tiles, and become resistant to removal.
Usually, household detergents, laundry bleach, and other oxidants are used for stain removal. Porcelain tiles production uses a high-temperature fire to enable a stain-resistant finish though mishaps still occur.
Non Toxic Eco-friendly Tile Stain Removal
Hard to go, stubborn stains and spots can be removed using stuff from the kitchen shelf. These non-toxic, organic green cleansers are soft on hands and do not cause harm to the environment. These include the following:
This vinegar is a liquid that has acetic acid as its active ingredient. It is a mild acid that can dissolve mineral deposits. And acts as a natural non-toxic cleansing agent that deodorizes, disinfects and cleans most hard surfaces. It is produced by fermentation of distilled alcohol. The fermentate is diluted to produce a colorless solution of 5 to 8% acetic acid in water. White vinegar works well to dissolve grease and hard water stains, and leaves behind a fresh, neutral scent after being rinsed away.
A test conducted by a microbiologist from Good Housekeeping found that the acetic acid in vinegar in a 5% strength is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria. It is a non-toxic cleanser though less so than chemical disinfectants. For cleaning purposes, sweep the floor tiles with a broom, or vacuum them on the hard floor setting to remove loose dirt and debris. Dissolve one-fourth to one-half cup of white vinegar in a gallon of lukewarm water in a bucket.
Dip a mop into the vinegar solution and wring it out. Mop the floor thoroughly with it. This would remove the light stains. Now mop again with plain water to remove any traces of vinegar solution left behind, then wipe it to dryness with a clean towel. Open the doors and windows to ventilate the area, if the smell of vinegar gets troublesome. Do not mix vinegar with bleach. Avoid using it in excess amount or mixing in water that is boiling hot, as this could remove the luster and provide a dull look to the floor.
The common household baking powder or sodium bicarbonate is a crystalline white solid. It is a mild, disinfectant, fire extinguisher and a leavening agent used for bakery purposes. It is the chief constituent used in soda blasting, a non-destructive process in which soda bicarb is applied against a surface using compressed air.
This process has applications in cleaning, paint stripping, automotive restoration, and industrial equipment maintenance. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that brightens the grout and removes stains. It does not break or disintegrate the grout the way bleach does and is free of the toxins present in most commercial cleansers.
Sprinkle some baking soda directly on a cloth or sponge dampened with warm water. Rub it over the tile and the grouting. Rinse out the sponge and replace it with an old toothbrush for grout only cleaning. Rinse the tiled area with warm water. If the grout remains dirty or mildewed, mix more of soda bicarb and warm water in a medium plastic bowl until the mixture reaches a paste-like consistency.
Scoop about a spoonful of this mix onto a dampened rag or a toothbrush, and work into the grout. Rinse with warm water using a mop or a clean cloth. If any residue remains do a second rinse. For extra shine, rinse the floor a final time with the above-mentioned vinegar solution. Only use vinegar after all traces of soda are removed from the floor.
For resistant stains, especially on the grout, fill a spray bottle with equal parts of water and food-based hydrogen peroxide available at health food stores. Spray the grout twice with this solution, with an interval of at least half an hour between the sprays. Leave it on for 8 to 10 hours. Rinse the tiled area with a warm golden-brown cloudy appearance due to the presence of fermenting enzymes and bacteria that won’t harm water.
Wipe the tile and grout with a clean dry cloth. Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid that finds use as a strong oxidizer, bleaching agent, and a disinfectant.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Made from cider and apple must, apple cider vinegar production is using a double fermentation process. It has a brownish cloudy appearance due to the presence of fermenting enzymes and bacteria, that would not harm the tile finish. Mix a cupful of apple cider in a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Use a rag, and do all cleaning by hand to avoid leaving water to stand on the floor. Avoid excess rubbing.
Citric acid: Commercial citric acid crystals can be mixed with water to make a dilute solution to clean non-glazed ceramic tiles.
Steam cleaning: Using steam to clean the floors is another non-toxic method to remove resistant stains.
Remove Commonly Found Stains On Tiles
1. Fruit juice or Tea: Wash the area with a solution of trisodium phosphate in hot water. Rinse and then wash with laundry bleach solution.
2. Grease: Use an old toothbrush or a strong bristled kitchen brush to scrub with a strong solution of household detergent.
3. Hard water scum: This can be removed using a mix of baking soda in warm water, or solution of a non-precipitating water softener.
4. Mildew: Sponge it away using laundry bleach dissolved in water.
Maintenance Of Tiles
1. Use a protective cover made of kraft paper, cardboard or plywood for the tile surface while applying the grout.
2. Do not install the tiles until all the heavy construction is complete.
3. Test scouring powders on a small area or tile sample before applying it on the entire floor surface.
4. Do not allow the cleaning solutions to dry, as they may leave new stains and even dull the tile finish.
5. Avoid using oil-based detergents or wax cleaners for the floor.
6. Do not use colored, or perfumed detergents on unglazed ceramic tiles.
Cleaning Tile Floors – Easy Homemade Solutions
Cleaning tile floors can be a challenging task. However, it largely depends on the kind of tiles you have used in your home. When you have tile floors you need to take care of two things – whenever something spills on the floor you have to wipe it immediately. Second, if you clean your floors regularly, you can prevent the use of harsh chemicals and hard work. When you have children or pets around spills often happen. You need to keep some clean absorbent cloth handy so that whenever there is a spill you can immediately mop it off using the cloth.
Even if water spills on the floor you have to wipe it off immediately because it can accumulate dust and solidify giving an unsightly appearance. In the same way, you need to be careful when children are around because they can accidentally spill their drinks or other liquids. Even muddy footprints need to be cleared immediately.
During rainy seasons it is better to keep a towel outside so that people who enter inside can use it to wipe their feet clean. This would help you to keep your floor clean to a great extent. To have clean tile floors you need to maintain your tiles properly by cleaning it regularly. Most of the people clean the tiles only when it becomes very dirty. But then you may need to use harsh chemicals that may damage your floor.
To clean tile floors you can use a duster or sweep them clean to remove all the dust and other materials. Do not press hard because the dirt can cause scratches on the floor. Mopping the floor with a damp cloth is also ideal. This will not only keep the floor clean but you will not be using any harsh chemicals to clean the floor. This can be done at least once a week to have your tiles sparkling clean.
Cleaning Different Types of Flooring
The cleaning procedures also depend on the kind of floors used. You can use the following homemade formulas for cleaning the tiles. For cleaning ceramic tile floors it is best to use a clean damp cloth. But it may be difficult to clean the grout. For cleaning, floor tile grout use a capful of rubbing alcohol in a gallon of water and use it on the grout. It can be cleaned easily.
How to clean tile floors made of vinyl? Take a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water. Use a mop dipped in this solution and clean tile floor with this. After this use clean water and mop the floor.
For stone tile floor cleaning you may require a special cleaner. You cannot use vinegar because the acid could damage the marble. So you have to use a mild solution made of water and dish soap. After cleaning floor tiles with this liquid, use clean water.
In case there is wax accumulation on the tiles you can use a homemade stripper to get rid of the wax. Take a cup of your detergent and half a cup of ammonia in one gallon of water which is warm. Also, use a stiff brush for effective cleaning. Once the cleaning is over you can reapply the wax for protecting the floor.
The grout gets dirty very quickly, especially in your kitchen and bathroom areas. The bathroom often has mold or mildew and cause grout stains. In the kitchen, the grout gets dirty due to food stains, household traffic, and backsplashes. For cleaning these stains you can use some simple household materials like baking soda or vinegar.
You can use vinegar and water in equal amounts or make a paste using water and baking soda. Use any of these on the grout. Use a brush and scrub well. It is better to scrub in circular movements for removing the dirt from the grout. After removing the stain rinse with clear water and mop it dry using a cloth or paper towels.
If the grout is tough you may have to use some commercial cleaners. You can get some of them from the market and use it after diluting with water.
General Grout Cleaning Tips
First, try cleaning the grout using water. This will help to get rid of debris on the surface. If you have colored grout, do not use bleach because it can cause discoloration. The brush used for grout cleaning needs to be stiff. You can use old toothbrushes for this purpose. Do not use brushes made of metal. They can damage the grout.
While using commercial cleaning agents ensure that the rooms have proper ventilation or air circulation. You have to use protective gear like gloves and glasses while handling chemical cleaners. Before using the cleaner you can also test it on a small area to see if it is safe or causes any damage. The most important thing to remember is never mixing two kinds of cleaners together.
Since these are chemicals you may never know what reactions could take place. There could be dangerous fumes or skin irritations. After the grout is clean apply a grout sealer for fresh-looking floors.