Ceramic tile floors are very fashionable, elegant, durable and practicable for several reasons. Unlike carpets and the like, they are far less problematic for people with an allergy to dust and / or mites. They look great, last long and are easy to clean. Really, ceramic tile floors are easy to clean, I show you how. In this article I cover all points of ceramic tiles floor cleaning, giving you an ample selection of floor cleaning tricks and tips for stain removal on ceramic tiles and grouts. I am sure you will find some helpful information in it. As always, if you have a question or suggestion regarding the cleaning of your ceramic floor tiles, just leave a comment at the end of the article and I will answer to the best of my ability.Oh, and if you look for tips on how to help your kids with their locker organization then look no further than that hub
0. What kind of ceramic tile floor do you have?
How you clean your ceramic tile floor depends if you have glazed or unglazed tiles and to a certain amount also, if the grouts (the gaps between the tiles) are sealed or not. Generally speaking glazed tiles are more resistant to dirt and water then unglazed tiles and therefor easier to clean and to “keep looking good”. The grout is the porous material that is used to fill the gaps between the single ceramic tiles, sealing them also simplifies cleaning and makes the general maintenance easier. Grouts can be white or colored. Cleaning methods vary for the different types of ceramic tiles and grouts. Whilst unglazed ceramic tiles can be cleaned with products that are mildly abrasive, glazed tiles should never, as it would scratch and dull them. Unglazed tiles should be cleaned more frequently then glazed tiles to maintain this “just cleaned look”.
If you don’t know if your tiles are glazed or not, a simply method is to pour some clean water on them. Glazed tiles will repel water to a certain extent, whilst unglazed tiles are porous and will soak up the water more. Glazed tiles are also shinier and smoother to the the touch then unglazed ceramic tiles. Obviously, if you have any manufacturer information from the time your floor was laid, you should find there exactly what kind of tiles you have plus some specific cleaning and care advices, tailored to your kind of ceramic tiles.
If you have yet to decide which kind of ceramic tiles to use for your new floor, I would strongly suggest you choose glazed tiles as they are easier to clean.
The best and fastest way to clean a ceramic tile floor, or any other floor for that matter, is to prevent it to become dirty in the first place. The easiest way to achieve that, is to place door mats before every door that leads to the outside and to remove your shoes before you enter. Walking without shoes is not only better for your ceramic floor, it is also healthier for your feet!
When it comes to ceramic tiles, especially those in your bathroom, your second enemy, after dirt, is humidity. This humidity is the reason why mould, mold and mildew loves to grow in the grouts of your floor tiles and makes these ugly looking black stains. To keep this problem to a minimum, keep your bathrooms, restrooms and toilets as dry as possible. Ventilate them regularly and keep them heated in winter to reduce the humidity in the air. Depending on the climate you live in, you might even consider a dehumidifier.
Cleaning up spillage and little stains immediately prevents that the stains harden and become more difficult to remove. What you wipe up today, you don’t have to scrub tomorrow
Seal tiles and grouts of your ceramic floor as soon as it is laid, to make the floor more resistant against dirt and stains. Sealed floors are easier to clean. You can also seal the tiles and grouts of an “old” floor, but only after having it thoroughly cleaned. If you miss out on this cleaning step, you will seal in the dirt also ;-(
Cover furniture legs with felt pads to prevent scratches. Not only do they look ugly and diminish the value of your ceramic floor, also dirt adheres more to scratches then to an even, undamaged surface.
2. Daily Maintenance
When you have a new, or just thoroughly been cleaned floor, a little daily maintenance will keep your ceramic tile floor clean and shiny with minimal effort. Sweep or vacuum your floor daily to remove loose dirt and to avoid that this dirt sticks to your tiles when walked over. Use either a soft broom or a vacuum cleaner with a brush. Never use the beater bar of your vacuum cleaner (this one is meant for carpets only) on your ceramic tiles as it will damage them.
After you have removed the loose dirt, check for stains. If there are only a few stains, treat them directly (for special stain removal tips see further below) with a bit of hot, soapy water (use a cleaning product that is approved for your kind of tiles by the manufacturer or a mild all-purpose cleaner). After you have removed all stains just mop the floor with warm water and dry with some old, fluff-free towels to give extra shine. Use a microfiber mop, not a sponge or rag, to wash your ceramic tile floor to avoid of washing dirt into the grouts.
3. Naturally cleaning your ceramic tile floor
Nowadays a lot of people suffer under allergies. Using natural, non-toxic cleaning products not only helps them, but is also often cheaper. A good, all-purpose cleaner is vinegar. Use it instead of soap or detergent by mixing one cup of white vinegar with one gallon (4.5 liter) of warm water.
4. Weekly cleaning
One time a week, or when more dirty as usual, you should give your ceramic tile floor a thorough cleaning. Start by removing all movable furniture like chairs and small tables. Vacuum or sweep the floor and treat stains as described under “Daily Maintenance” and in the “Stain Removal” section of this article. Wash your floor with warm water that contains a manufacturer approved cleaner or a all-purpose cleaner that is approved for use on ceramic tiles. Wet the floor with this cleaning solution and use a soft brush to gently scrub the floor and to loosen the dirt. Wash again with fresh warm water and your cleaning detergent. When the floor appears to be clean, dry it as much as possible, and wash it a last time with warm water only. Dry and polish with old, fluff-free rugs and enjoy the shine.
5.Thorough, heavy duty cleaning
Sometimes things might have slipped a bit or you had a party and your ceramic floor “cries out” for a thorough cleaning. Before you now go down on your knees and start to scrub with muscle power, consider renting or buying a steam floor cleaner. These are especially great for people that want, or have to, avoid the use of chemicals like detergents in their houses. Prepare the floor (remove furniture, sweep, vacuum etc) like described above and then simply follow the instructions that come with your steam cleaner. If you decide to buy one, make sure that it is approved for use on ceramic tile floors.
If you don’t have access to a steam cleaner start to wash and scrub (soft brush!) your floor with warm water to which you have added an appropriate cleaning detergent. My personal favorite is all-purpose floor cleaner plus a cup of white vinegar. If unsure, try your cleaning solution first on one, invisible, bit of tile and grout out. Be especially careful if you have colored grouts, as a cleaning solution that is too strong can discolor them. If available, follow always the instructions of the manufacturer of your tiles. After having washed the floor until it appears to be clean, dry it with, yes, you guessed right, old, fluff-free rags and wash a last time with nothing else then warm water. Dry again and enjoy the shine
Depending how good you are with your daily maintenance, you might have to do this far less then one time a week, but you should give your ceramic tiles floor a thorough wash at least one time a month.
6. Cleaning Grouts
Sometimes the grouts between your ceramic tiles need a bit of extra attention. This is best done directly after you have given your ceramic floor a good cleaning as described under 4. White grouts can be easily cleaned with a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water (half and half), giving you a 1.5% solution. Fill this solution in a spray bottle and spray generously and multiple times on the grouts. The grouts should be thoroughly soaked by the solution. NEVER USE ON COLORED GROUTS! Hydrogen peroxide will discolor them like bleach would.
For reluctant stains on white grouts, you can also apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain, or even in a mixture with baking soda. Don’t be surprised if this mixture starts to “bubble and foam” that is perfectly normal. After maximum 15min rinse well with clean water and repeat the procedure if necessary.
Colored grouts instead can be cleaned with normal shaving cream. Remember to test first on a “hidden spot” to avoid problems.
After having cleaned your grout thoroughly, you should consider sealing them to avoid that they become too quick dirty again. This is especially important for humid rooms like bathrooms.
7. Stain removal
Always try your chosen stain remover first on an invisible bit if tile and grout out, before you are using it in more obvious spots. Be extra careful with colored grouts, as they discolor easily. Stain removal works best on dry surfaces, as a wet surface will dilute your cleaning solution further, making it too weak for being effective.
Most stains can be removed with a bit of cleaning detergent that is approved for your type of tiles, warm water and scrubbing with a soft (tooth) brush and elbow grease. Alternatively you can also use liquid laundry detergent or washing powder dissolved in warm water. Let the stain soak for a couple of hours, scrub from time to time with a soft brush and a bit of water and then rinse repeatedly with clear water to remove any residues.
Use a mixture of one part fabric softener / conditioner and two parts water, let soak, scrub and rinse well with clean water.
Mildew, Mold and Mould
Bleach is your friend, but again, first try your weak bleach and water solution out in an unsuspicious area, to avoid discolored surprises! Brush to also mechanically remove the stain and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Don’t leave the bleach-water solution for more then 5-10 minutes. To avoid re-grow of mildew, mold or mould, keep your ceramic tiles and grouts as dry as possible, seal them and consider applying a preventive spray.
Washing soda mixed with water makes a good grease or oil remover for your ceramic tiles.
Best removed with — nail polish remover (acetone), soak a bit of white kitchen paper with it and apply directly to the spill for a couple of minutes. You should then be able to remove the nail polish mechanically. Don’t forget to rinse and be careful with colored grouts, they might loose their color!
Powdered Oxygen Bleach
Powdered oxygen bleach is a good all-purpose stain remover for your ceramic tiles and their grouts. It is non-toxic, doesn’t smell and is color safe (still, try first on a small area). It works by breaking down the molecules in the stain and is especially effective against greasy, oily, food and drink stains. Just mix with water as instructed on the package and pour generously on the dry tiles and grouts, making sure that the grouts are well covered with it. Let soak, scrub from time to time with a soft brush, as indicated on the package. Dry floor and rinse with plenty of clear water to remove any residues.
Powdered oxygen can also be used as cleaning detergent for your daily maintenance routine of your ceramic tiles floor. Use instead of other detergents and in a weaker solution then for actual stain removal. Again, rinse with clean water and dry with clean, non-fluff rags or towels and enjoy the shine.
So, now after having written this comprehensive guide to “cleaning a ceramic tiles floor”, I am off to give my own floor a good scrub! Remember, just reading about it, doesn’t clean your floor, you also have to actually do it Still any questions or suggestions? Just leave me a comment and I do my best to help you!
Disclaimer: All information is provided with the best care and intention, but making mistakes is human. So please, before you follow my advice, check if it really applies to your situation. You alone are responsible for what you do with the information I have provided here.