Tile flooring is a low-maintenance and lifetime investment—until you realize you don't know how to take care of it.
Compared to other flooring types, tile floors are classier and easier to maintain, but they're just as imperfect as the rest. If you don't know how to maintain them properly, they will soon show signs of wear and tear and make cleaning tough. Using the wrong tools and methods can also pose safety hazards.
Here’s a quick and comprehensive cleaning guide so that those things won’t happen to you. Find out the best way to clean tile floors and maintain their new look for a long time!
Finding the Best Way to Clean Tile Floors: General and Specific Solutions
Cleaning tile floors is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it depends on several general and specific factors, so you need to learn about these first. Otherwise, you risk damaging your flooring, which could last with proper care.
Your Tool Kit
First, let's gather the appropriate cleaning equipment you will need to clean your tile floors.
- Chamois mop
- Broom and dustpan
- Dry microfiber cloth
- Steam mop (for occasional and tough stains only)
- Warm water
- All-purpose household cleaner
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- Oxygen or chlorine bleach (except for natural stone floors)
- Grout and tile cleaners
General Tile Cleaning Instructions
Got all of the equipment above? Then, let's proceed to the general cleaning instructions.
Here's the typical procedure for cleaning tile floors.
- Start by sweeping or vacuuming the tiles to get rid of dirt and dust.
- Mix warm water with a cleaner for gentle mopping.
- Rinse the mop afterward and immediately refill the bucket with clean water to avoid grime.
- Proceed with grout cleaning using a grout cleaner or bleach.
- Clean the floor again and dry it using a microfiber cloth.
How often should you clean your tile floors? As a general rule, you must follow a regular cleaning schedule.
- Sweep or vacuum at least once or twice a week. If you notice that dirt and dust pile up more often, increase the frequency.
- Mop bathroom tiles weekly and every other week for other areas.
- For grout cleaning, do it at least once every two or three months.
The grout lines are narrower and more absorbent than the tiles, so they’re usually the dirtiest and most challenging parts to clean. That's why we want to help you understand the many methods of deep-cleaning grout, from the lightest to the most aggressive.
- Start with a mild solution like dish soap and hot water.
- If that doesn't work, use baking soda paste and let it sit overnight before scrubbing it with a soft-bristled or nylon brush the next day.
- Get a commercial grout cleaner from your local store and see if it works better at removing grout stains.
- Not clean enough? You may want to consider using a steam mop. However, keep in mind that tiles aren't good at tolerating heat and moisture. Hence, avoid using this for old and damaged tiles. Also, don't steam-clean your tiles too frequently.
- If the four methods above still can't make cleaning easier, consider sealing the grout. Apply an appropriate sealer and cover the grout surface to repel stains. Note that you should give it at least 48 hours before going for this method.
If the manufacturer recommends a second seal coating, do it once the first layer dries. Additionally, you can reseal the grout yearly if necessary.
Specific Tile Cleaning Instructions
Tile cleaning methods can also change depending on the type of tile floors. Here are a few things to note.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Floors
These are the most commonly used tile flooring because they're easy to maintain. But dirt piles up pretty fast on these tiles, so they require thorough cleaning.
The best way to clean ceramic tile floors is similar to the general procedure. You can use almost any type of cleaner on these tiles because they don't get dull easily. However, be mindful of stains and soap residue that may build up easily.
Linoleum, Vinyl, and Cork Tile Floors
These tile floors are affordable and easy to maintain. However, this doesn't mean they don't require as much care as other tile floors. You can follow the general cleaning procedures, but here are some more things to note.
- They can't withstand extreme moisture and heat, so never use steam mops to clean them.
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners on vinyl tiles to prevent surface scratches. It is also best to use a cleaning solution recommended by the flooring manufacturer.
- When cleaning linoleum tiles, polish them with a wax coat to protect them and keep their shine for up to 6 months. Use linoleum cleaning solution or borax mix for deep cleaning.
- Cleaning cork tiles depends on the floor finish. If the finish is polyurethane, use white vinegar or mild detergents. If there's no finish, you need to apply the wax first.
Natural Stone Tile Floors
Lastly, let's discuss how to clean natural stone tiles like granite, marble, and slate. They are more sensitive to cleaning methods and materials than the previous types, so take note of these instructions.
- For natural stone, never use traditional cleaners; their chemicals can damage the flooring surface. Use cleaners specifically made for this flooring type. Also, natural stone tiles are more prone to scratches than other types, so use a broom with soft bristles.
- Slate tiles can't handle cleaners with acidic properties (e.g., vinegar).
- Granite tiles require pH-neutral mild detergents for cleaning. Otherwise, any other cleaner will cause discoloration or leave streaks from the cleaning residue.
- For marble tiles, don't use acidic cleaners, tough-bristled brushes, or scouring powders to avoid scratches on the surface.
Proper Care Is the Secret to Lifetime Tiles
Tile flooring is luxurious and durable, so many residential and commercial property owners choose it. However, even long-lasting flooring needs proper care. That’s why you should know how to clean tiles the right way to keep their lifetime strength and beauty.
Fortunately, tile floors are generally low-maintenance, so you don't have to spend much time and money to figure it out. That said, you still need to follow specific instructions to ensure proper maintenance. So the question is, what's the best way to deep clean tile floors?
Our answer is it depends on the type of tile you installed. You need to use different cleaners and observe different cleaning frequencies for ceramic tiles, natural stone, and vinyl to avoid damaging them with chemicals or a lack of regular maintenance.
We hope this article has provided you with the knowledge you need to care for your flooring investment. Explore our website for more flooring product reviews and buying guides!