Cleaning Your Tile and Grout

Author:John Braun

Tile floors can be absolutely stunning. That is until they get dingy and the grout looks like it was drawn on by a black magic marker. There\'s no way to avoid dirty tile. As long as you\'re walking on it dirt and soil will accumulate over time. But there are ways to slow down this process and ways to renew your tile after it\'s already been dirtied.

There are many different types of tile to choose from. Each offers its own unique style and flavor. But whether you\'ve ceramic, travertine, or marble one thing remains the same. You need to keep it clean. A handy item to have in your arsenal is a vacuum designed for hard surfaces. These work much better than sweeping because they remove more soil and will not scratch your floor. You may also want to look into getting a micro-fiber or Swiffer mop/sweeper. These are gentle enough to pick up anything left behind after vacuuming without creating any scratches.

When mopping your tile it is preferred that you use a string mop. And if possible, one made from a micro-fiber. You do not want to use too much detergent of any kind on your tile. This can cause a residue buildup that will attract more soil. What you want to use is a neutral pH cleaner made for tile. Also remember to rinse your mop out often with plain water to get out soils and detergent residue. As a general rule it is good to mop your floor with plain water every third time you clean. This will help refresh the tile and rid it of any buildup that may have occurred from previous cleanings.

It is always important to know your tile. Different types of tile need different types of maintenance. For example, never use an acid cleaner, vinegar, or bleach on natural stone. These items can etch into the surface and leave blemishes and other unsightly marks. It\'s also recommended that you never wax your stone or tile. Wax can leave residues that can lead to further damage. You want to polish your natural stone floors on a regular basis to keep it looking it\'s best. For this it\'s best to call in a professional.

Cleaning grout is a bit more tedious. There really isn\'t an easy way to take care of it. Cleaning usually requires getting down on the floor with a little brush and exercising that elbow. You want to make sure to use a high alkaline cleaner with that small brush and rinse after scrubbing. If you are getting grout installed it is very important to have it sealed within 10-14 days. And make sure the sealer is only applied after the grout has been thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise you are just sealing the dirt with the grout.

Now once that tile gets beyond your abilities you need to call in a professional tile cleaner. It is recommended that you have your tile floor professionally cleaned and sealed every 3-5 years. This will make your maintenance efforts much easier and maximize the life of your tile.

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