Cleaning Ceramic Floor Tile

Laying ceramic floor tiles is extremely popular in homes all across America. For good looks, easy cleaning and choice of styles, there are few alternatives that beat it. It’s pretty low maintenance, meaning that a quick mop over does the trick under usual circumstances when all you want to do is give the floor a once-over because company is coming over.

But then there are spills, spring cleaning bouts, worse-for-wear grout and the need to feel like your home is wonderfully hygienic. Cleaning ceramic floor tile is not usually too much of a chore but there are some different things to keep in mind to ensure it stays in excellent condition, and without you having to get out the gas masks.

In general, you should never use any type of cleaner containing acid or bleach; both substances will eat away at the lime in the grout.

Also, abrasive cleansers should be avoided because they can scratch the surface of the ceramic floor tile and give it a dull appearance. This is particularly true with glazed ceramic floor tile. Ammonia-based cleaners can also discolor some types of grout.

Therefore, a mild detergent such as Bon Ami, Spic & Span, or Mr. Clean should be diluted and used when cleaning ceramic floor tile. After washing the ceramic floor tile, you should always rinse it thoroughly with clean, warm water and you should never wax your ceramic floor tile.

Grout lets you down every time

Cleaning ceramic floor tiles themselves is easy; it’s the grout that creates all the hassle. It’s porous and by its very nature attracts and sucks in dirt, stains, bacteria, mildew and the like. Keeping your floor as clean as possible will help to prevent your grout from holding onto its nasty treasures.

Products to use on ceramic floor tile

One of the most important things to avoid when buying products for cleaning ceramic floor tile is the slip factor. Anything that leaves a slippery film after cleaning is not going to be suitable. Sure, you’ll have sparkly, mirror-like tiles but if you can’t walk on them without breaking a bone, what’s the point?

Far better to look for products that were designed for cleaning ceramic floor tile, and there are plenty of those around. First stop is the supermarket where you’ll find a dazzling array of bottles and spray packs full of liquids scented with glorious citrus, lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla or whatever else is the current trend in home cleaning fragrances. Some are to be added to the mop bucket and diluted with warm water, others are to be sprayed directly on to the floor then wiped off.

Most ceramic floor tiles feature a lovely glossy glaze finish. To avoid damaging this sheen, don’t use any cleaning products that contain caustic ingredients. That’s why it’s advisable to use the right product for the job.

You also don’t need to go scrubbing and scuffing your tiles if it’s not warranted, meaning unless there are some pretty serious marks on them, you don’t want to create scratches or compromise the finish.

If your tiles are not so glossy and have little to no glaze, always make sure you test new cleaners on an inconspicuous area – or spare tile – before you use them across your floor. Cleaning unglazed ceramic floor tile with products meant for glazed tiles can permanently ‘scar’ your floor.

Spring cleaning

From time to time, we all like to get stuck into the dirt and grime that builds up around our homes. The windows are squeegeed, the exterior of the house hosed down and cobwebs removed. Cleaning ceramic floor tile with more gusto than usual often involves more ‘serious’ gusto and products.

You can use oxygen bleach to kill and eradicate mildew in your grout. It is far safer than chlorine bleach and arguably more effective. Just be very careful not to let it touch surfaces that are not safe for its use, such as carpets and furniture.

Your floor coverings represent a significant investment. If you’re in doubt about any products you may use for cleaning ceramic floor tile, check with the manufacturer of the product or a tile retailer who can give you advice and recommendations.