As floor coverings go, terracotta tiles are prized for their natural appearance and rich colors. On the downside, they can be a little high maintenance if you don’t install them in appropriate areas of your home. When it comes to cleaning terracotta tiles, you should know in advance how to do it so that you can keep your floors looking gorgeous all the time.
The first line of defense in cleaning terracotta tiles is a broom. Keeping the surface free from crumbs, dirt particles, dust, vegetation, hairs and other minute debris will mean that nothing gets ground into the porous surface, to sit and wait for liquid from mopping to turn it into grime. Sweep your floors regularly because not only will it remove easily shifted dirt, it will mean you won’t feel so compelled to wash them as often.
When you do need to clean your terracotta tiles, mopping with a mild solution of warm water and a recommended cleaning fluid will do the trick but keep the windows and doors open to enable good ventilation.
Alternatively, you can add about half a cup full of regular white vinegar to a bucket of warm water and use that. The vinegar cuts through any oils in the tiles and also helps to evaporate the water more quickly.
Some home owners swear by raw linseed oil when cleaning terracotta tiles, especially if the tiles have water mark stains and an excess of grime. First, you use mild soap and water then run over the area again just with water. Leave to dry then pour a little raw linseed oil over, spreading it as efficiently as possible with a clean paint brush. Allow it to dry overnight for best results.
Terracotta roof tiles
Houses that feature terracotta roof tiles have a look all their own. The beauty can be somewhat diminished, however, if mold grows or if atmospheric pollution builds up on the surface. Cleaning terracotta tiles annually or bi-annually is excellent maintenance practice.
If possible, hot water should be sprayed onto the tiles which should then be scrubbed gently using hot water and a neutral pH soap. A plastic pot scourer or bristle-headed brush should be sufficient. Never use abrasive powders or powdered detergents on terracotta.
More serious cleaning jobs
Some spills or messes require a more heavy duty solution and you have to ask yourself: Which will look worse, leaving the stain as it is, or possibly compromising the look of the floor with the remedy?
Unfortunately, it’s not much of a choice but you would more than likely choose to clean, in which case, seek out a product that cleans terracotta tiles with a minimum of detriment to the material. There are also poultice stain removers that you can buy that will help to absorb a greasy stain without a lot of harsh scrubbing and it can also remove light grout haze.
It’s always a good idea to have a range of appropriate products on hand at home for cleaning terracotta tiles. Spills and stains always seem to happen when you least want them to, say when the stores are closed or you can’t leave the house to buy what you need.
One or two good quality cleaning agents that are recommended for terracotta are all you need. If your floors are new, ask the installer or retailer which products they can suggest.
Meanwhile, maintain regular cleaning procedures on your terracotta tiles. Sweep, damp-mop and always clean up spills as soon as they happen … it not sooner.