Tips for Cleaning Tile Floors

Cleaning tile floors is not the way most people want to spend the afternoon. It can be backbreaking work and it can be ruined by just a few muddy feet or paws. Whether you have stone tile or ceramic tile there is always the issue of grout. Grimy grout can make an otherwise clean floor look nasty, but it is often the most difficult part of the floor to clean. Read on to discover the best tips and tricks for making your tile floor look spotless. For more information on tile cleaning from Better Homes and Gardens click here.

Gather the Correct Materials
Sure, any old mop will do the job, but some tools are better than others. You want to start with the best tools to make your job as easy as possible.

Brooms and Vacuums
You cannot begin to properly clean your tile unless all the loose dirt, sand, dust, and debris has already been swept away. Sweep with a nylon broom regularly to avoid scratching your tile while you keep your floors clean. Before mopping, always vacuum thoroughly. Lightweight and maneuverable vacuums are the best for getting into tights spaces and doing a thorough job without leaving you sore and sweaty.

String mops can be difficult to work into corners, hard to wring out, and can leave streaks of dirty water behind. Sponge mops have similar failings and they tend to push dirty water into the grout leaving it looking worse than when you started. Try a microfiber cloth mop instead. Microfiber will pick up dirt and grime instead of swishing it around. This article from the FloorCritics thoroughly covers the pros and cons of different mop types. Check it out to discover the right mop for your floor.

Cleaning Fluid
There are a wide variety of floor cleaners on the market. Make sure to buy a bottle that is specially formulated to work well on your type of flooring whether it be stone or ceramic. A popular and safe recipe is a combination of a half cup of vinegar, a tablespoon or two of dish soap, and a couple gallons of hot water. It is a safe natural recipe, but keep in mind that your house will smell like vinegar for a few hours while you clean and the floors dry.

Time to Get Cleaning

Step 1: Vacuum your tile floor.
Make sure to get into the corners and narrow spaces with the long attachment nozzle. Any debris or dirt left behind may end up as streaks after mopping.

Step 2: Mix your cleaning fluid.
Make sure to carefully read the label of whatever you use to clean your floors. Only use as much as directed. More soap does not necessarily equate to cleaner floors. In fact, an excess of soap or cleaning detergent can leave sticky streaks behind that will quickly attract and hold on to dirt until you find the time to mop again.

Step 3: Mop the area.
Change your water frequently to avoid spreading the dirt around. Mop small sections at a time with a small amount of water/soap, and never leave standing water behind as this can be a slip hazard and it will leave an ugly water stain when it dries. Don’t mop yourself into a corner to avoid stepping on your freshly cleaned floors and be sure to mop when the other members of your household don’t need to use the tiled areas. Always rinse the mopped areas with freshwater to prevent soap scum and streaks.

Step 4: Clean the grout.
If your grout is looking dingy, or if it just has not been cleaned in a while, it might be time to give it a deep clean. Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it into the grout. Leave this mixture on overnight, but be sure to keep toddlers and pets away from it. The next day use a nylon scrub brush to scrub away the powder and then wipe down the area with a wet cloth.

If cleaning the floor thoroughly is not producing the results you wanted, then it might be time to consider sanding and painting your ceramic tile. Painting your tile can completely change the look of a room and some colors do a better job of hiding dirt than others. Sanding carefully removes the glaze on the tile, but not the finish. This makes it so you can repaint the tile with paint designed for that purpose. Tile sanding is a great project for a bathroom or kitchen remodel when you do not want to replace the floor altogether. Sanding can be done by hand but it is an arduous and tedious process best left to the experts. For a floor sanding quote click here.