A Quick Guide to Cleaning Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile floors are beautiful to look at, and cleaning ceramic tile is easier than caring for many other types of flooring. Below, you’ll find steps you can follow to keep your ceramic tile looking its best.

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Cleaning Ceramic Tile


Before you mop your ceramic tile floor, always vacuum or sweep it first. If you use a vacuum cleaner, use one without a beater bar. A beater bar will dull and scratch the tiles.


Most of the tiles you will have in your home are glazed, which means they were baked, then glazed, then baked again. This process creates a smooth surface that actually repels water and dirt. However, some tiles are not glazed.



Cleaning Unglazed Tiles


If you have unglazed ceramic tiles in your home, these are the real culprits for attracting dirt. Unglazed tiles should be cleaned using only plain water. Wipe down the tiles every day with water, then dry them with a clean cloth or sponge to help avoid surface build-up of dirt, mold, mildew and hard water stains.


Cleaning Glazed Tiles


Usually, though, you will have glazed ceramic tile in your home. To clean glazed ceramic tile, fill a bucket with plain warm water to wash the floor. If the floor is really dirty, add a couple of drops of vinegar or dish soap to 1 gallon of warm water, or use a combination of both. These will help cut the grease that’s built up on the floor.


Use a mop to scrub the floor with this solution. Rinse frequently. If the cleaning solution or rinse water gets dirty, change them.


After you have mopped the floor, and while it is still damp, go over it again with dry towels or rags. You’ll pick up dirt you weren’t able to see before. Drying the floor with towels also helps remove any water spots and will make the floor shine.


If your tile is really dirty, there are cleaning products available that can be used to help remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew stains. Read the cleaning product’s instructions first to make sure the product is compatible with your type of tile.


Keeping Ceramic Tile Clean


Now that your ceramic tile is clean, you can make your cleaning job easier for next time by preventing dirt from accumulating in the first place.


Regularly apply a sealant to the tile and grout to keep dirt and dust from building up. Sealants are available in tile stores.


Clean up all spills immediately. You can use an all-purpose cleaner like Fantastic or Top Job to clean up a spilled liquid and keep it from staining your grout.


Keep dirt off your tile by using mats at the entryway. Remember to shake the mats out often.


Things to Avoid


  • Don’t use steel wool, scouring powders, or other abrasive materials. These can scratch your tile and leave it looking dull.
  • Avoid using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners. Bleach and ammonia can discolor your grout if they are used too often.
  • Do not use oil-based cleaners on your tile.
  • Ceramic tile floors should never be waxed.


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