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How to clean all types of tile floors

Ceramic, porcelain, stone, vinyl and more

Ceramic and porcelain floors can last a lifetime, if you take care of them properly. The same goes for natural stone or engineered stone floors, such as quarry or concrete slabs. Vinyl tile floors have a shorter lifespan, but again, proper maintenance, especially cleaning, will extend the life of the floor.

Compared to other types of floor coverings, keeping the tiles clean is a rather low maintenance activity. For most tiles, cleaning with lukewarm water, a little soap or cleaner and a chamois or cloth will keep them shiny for years.

The following steps and information will guide you through the process of cleaning porcelain stoneware and ceramic tiles, as well as advice on the maintenance of tiled floors made from other materials.

What are ceramic and porcelain h3>

Tiles are usually ceramic or porcelain, which are similar materials made from natural earth clays that are molded , enamelled with a surface treatment and baked in ovens to harden them. Porcelain stoneware uses finer clays than standard ceramics and is cured at higher temperatures, giving it greater water impermeability. Porcelain is sometimes considered a more luxurious building material, although it is often difficult to distinguish between porcelain and high-end ceramic tiles.

Porcelain stoneware now comes in styles that are remarkably successful in imitating other materials, such as natural stone or wood. Since porcelain is a harder material than standard ceramic, it is a bit more difficult for DIYers to cut and install.

How often to clean tiled floors

A tiled floor should be "dry cleaned" or swept or vacuumed at least twice a week to remove gritty debris that can dull the finish of the tiled floor. Wet or scrub the kitchen tiles every two weeks and the bathroom once a week. Clean mortar stains once every two or three months.

What you will need

Materials / Tools

Broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner

Cloths or suede mop


Dry cloth


All purpose detergent or dish detergent

Hot water

How to clean ceramic or porcelain tile floors

The most common types of tile, ceramic and porcelain floors are difficult to maintain, even if it is often difficult to see the accumulation of dirt under your feet. To clean ceramic or porcelain tile, use almost any type of detergent, whether it's all-purpose detergent, dishwashing detergent, or regular white vinegar: ceramic and porcelain tile do not won't scratch or lose luster easily.

Combine cleanser with warm water

Dip a mop or chamois broom, not a sponge, into the solution. Squeeze out the excess water so it's damp, not soggy.

Clean the floor with even, gentle strokes

Follow a pattern as you move across the room so there isn't a centimeter of soil that is lost.

Change the water regularly

As you rinse your broom or mop, the water naturally becomes cloudy. Empty the dirty water and refill it regularly to avoid leaving a veil of dirt on the tiles. If you run out and notice cloudiness, mix white vinegar and hot water and wipe the film with a damp cloth to remove it.

Clean the grout

Spray the mortar with a specific mortar cleaner or mix it with an anise solution (with gloves so as not to blanch). Leave for a few minutes, then rinse.

Dry the floor with a clean cloth

If your tiles tend to form water spots, dry it with a cloth clean immediately after washing it.

How to clean marble floors and other natural stone tiles

Marble, slate or granite floors can be cleaned in almost the same way as porcelain and ceramic tile, but with a few caveats:

Use a soft bristle broom to sweep natural stone tile floors, as they are much easier to clean. scratch only ceramic and porcelain.

Be sure to use the right type of floor cleaner: slate and marble tiles cannot tolerate anything acidic, such as vinegar, while granite tiles need a mild pH-neutral detergent to prevent discoloration.

How to Clean Terracotta Floors

Terracotta is similar to ceramic tiles, as it is also made up of natural terracotta clays molded into tiles and fired until they are hard. But unlike ceramic and porcelain tiles, terracotta is fired at a relatively low temperature and has no glazed surface, so the resulting tiles are quite porous.

Therefore, they can be very susceptible to stains unless sealed. Keep these tips in mind when cleaning terracotta floors:

Vacuum, then wipe with a damp cloth weekly with mild soap and water.

Stains can be removed with a mixture of oxalic acid and water. After removing stains, rinse by wiping with a soft cloth.

Never use acidic cleaners, such as ammonia or vinegar, as they can damage or discolor the tiles.

Avoid using stiff brushes, especially wire brushes. Terracotta tiles are relatively soft and can be easily scratched.

Annual sealing with a water-based sealer will protect your floors from stains and make routine cleaning easier.

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors

Quarry tiles are best thought of as a technical form of terracotta, made up of natural clay mixed with stone pulverized natural stone, which is then molded and fired at a sufficient temperature to create surfaces somewhat harder and more impervious to water than terracotta tiles. Follow these quarry tile cleaning tips:

Weekly cleaning requires only soap and water.

Rinse after cleaning to remove soap residue.

Occasional deep cleaning is best with a brush and stripping cleaner, such as Klenz-All.

Although quarry tile is more stain resistant than terracotta, periodic sealing with a product designed for terracotta tile is recommended. Sealing will also prevent joints from absorbing water and stains.

How to clean concrete floors

Rough concrete floor tiles are a relatively recent development in residential flooring, but they are becoming increasingly unpopular, thanks to the low cost and the widening of the range of colors and styles.

Cleaning them is relatively simple:

General cleaning is best done by sweeping or vacuuming, followed by a damp cloth with water mixed with a solution mild, non-acid cleaning agent. It is best to moisten the tiles before you start scrubbing. A flexible nylon brush is an excellent cleaning tool.

A concrete cleaner and cleaning brush usually take care of penetrating stains.

DO NOT USE wire brushes, acid cleaners or bleach to clean concrete pavers.

After scrubbing with cleaning solution, rinse with a damp cloth with clean water.

As with other stone floor tiles, concrete must be periodically sealed. Use a high quality concrete sealer and apply it after the floor has been thoroughly cleaned and completely dry.

How to clean vinyl or linoleum floors

Vinyl and linoleum floors are inexpensive alternatives to more expensive stone or ceramic tiles , but maintenance is just as important. While a steam mop seems like an easy shortcut, vinyl and linoleum aren't made to withstand extreme heat and humidity.

Vinyl: After sweeping, scrub with a manufacturer's recommended cleaning solution or a mixture of water and vinegar. Do not use abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the floor.

Linoleum: After cleaning, clean with a specific solution for linoleum floors or a mixture of borax and water. Every three to six months, apply a coat of wax and shoe polish to maintain the shine of the floor.

How to clean tile grout stains

Enamel, especially if it is light in color, stains easily.

If you are unable to remove the stain with regular cleaning, mix baking soda and water to make a paste. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for a few hours or even overnight, then scrub the stain with a nylon brush (or, if necessary, an unused toothbrush).

Some may recommend using a steam cleaner to remove grout stains; however, it could damage the grout if sprayed regularly over the long term. To avoid any risk, paste a paste of baking soda and, once clean, apply a silicone-based sealant to protect the joint.

Sweep or vacuum the tile

Be sure to enter the corners, where it tends to get dirty and accumulate.

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