Five Tips for Good Looking Tile

Ceramic tile has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially down here in sunny Florida where keeping a house warm isn’t really much of a concern. While most people learn how to mop at a very young age, I’ve been surprised at how much misinformation there is when it comes to keeping your tile floor shiny and clean. Here are a few helpful hints for you.

1. Sweep or Vacuum before you mop. This is very important. Take a look at your tile, see that discoloration in your grout? If you don’t have it, bully for you, but very likely your kitchen has some pretty gnarly colors on that grout line. That’s dirt, grease, and other nastiness trapped in the grout. When you mop, any loose sand and dirt on your tiles can get pushed into that grout to get absorbed, and likely kept for years. Proper sweeping will help avoid this.

2. Change your water often. If your water is dirty, you’re just pushing dirt into the grout. When mopping, you really need to change out your water more frequently than you think. If the water gets cloudy, it’s time to dump it out. This can get very tedious, but it’s important.

3. Avoid residue. Soap residue can make tiles look cloudy and hazy, but the grout line is where it really wreaks havoc. Soap doesn’t evaporate, it attracts dust, and it’s really difficult to get up once it works its way in. When mopping, read your label and only use the amount recommended. Most people use far too much soap. As an alternative, try using some lemon juice or vinegar in your mop water instead of soap. These are mildly acidic, and work as natural disinfectants. They also don’t leave residue, so bonus.

4. Avoid damaging your grout. When I’m cleaning someone’s tile in a professional, deep clean manner, I’ll frequently have to get a client down to ground level to show them pitting and cracking in the grout that you can’t see while standing. From eye level, this looks like dirt and nastiness, but at the floor you can see damage to the grout. If you need to clean spots on your tile, use a stiff nylon brush rather than a metal one. Brass brushes will remove the stain in question, but do so by stripping off the top layer of grout. Also, harsh and abrasive chemicals can have a similar effect. Don’t use bleach based cleaners too often, they can decalcify the grout and lead to pitting.

5. Damp mopping is your friend. Rather than doing a full water bucket mopping every week, try just taking care of bad spots with a damp mop and some vinegar water. Slopping around dirty water makes that grout line look horrible after a while.

These tips will help keep your tile clean, and reduce the need for expensive professional cleaning. Eventually, you’ll need a pro to take care of your tile, but the longer you can go between cleanings the better.

For more tips and other hints, please check out:

Andrew Mongeau
Field Manager
InstaDry Carpet and Tile Cleaning

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