Household Advice: Tips For Cleaning Ceramic Floor Tile And Grout

Basic tips and guidelines for the daily care, maintenance and cleaning of glazed and non-glazed ceramic floor tile and grout.

Ceramic floor tiles are manufactured from refined clay and other materials. Ceramic tiles are normally glazed with a coating of glass to give them a high gloss. Grout is a porous sealant used to fill the spaces between the ceramic tiles that should be treated with a sealer to simplify maintenance and cleaning.

Ceramic floor tile cleaning tips

Daily maintenance of your glazed ceramic floor tiles can be as simple as using a damp mop and warm water. Mop with a solution of mild detergent and water for heavier cleaning jobs. Rinse the tile thoroughly to remove any detergent residue. Unglazed tiles can be cleaned with a mildly abrasive scouring powder but glazed tiles may be scratched if cleaned with any abrasive cleanser.

If your ceramic floor tile is in the bathroom you may be dealing with a buildup of soap scum. Mix ½ c. packaged water softener with 2 tablespoons rottenstone and 1 cup of hot water. Sponge the solution onto the soap scum and it should come right off. If not, try a solution of 1-2 tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) mixed into 1 gallon of hot water. Rinse the tile thoroughly after cleaning.

A build-up of various stains may cause your ceramic floor tile to look dark. Cover the stain with a full strength liquid laundry detergent and let it soak on the stain for two to three hours. Sponge the detergent off with warm water. If this doesn't completely remove the stain, scrub the stain with a scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly.

Mildew can be removed from ceramic tile with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. Use a soft bristled brush to agitate the bleach water solution into the grout joints. Rinse the tile thoroughly and treat it with a mildew retardant household spray to prevent further growth.

Chlorine bleach will also remove such stains as ink, blood, mustard, fruit juice and coffee. Apply a solution of bleach and water and let it stand on the stain for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with clean water. A solution of 10 percent sodium carbonate and water will remove grease from ceramic tile. Rust stains from unglazed ceramic floor tiles may be removed with a solution of 5 percent hydrochloric acid and water. Soak a paper towel with nail polish remover (acetone) and lay it on a nail polish spill. Let the soaked paper towel sit on the spill for a few minutes and then scrape off the softened polish. Steel wool can scour off a minor cigarette burn.

Felt pads on the feet of wooden table legs will help you avoid scratching the tile and will help to maintain the look and beauty of your ceramic floor. If you vacuum the ceramic tile, be careful of any metal or plastic attachments that could scratch the surface.

Grout cleaning tips

White grout can be cleaned with a solution of half hydrogen peroxide and half water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the grout. Let the solution sit on the grout for 15 minutes and then spray again. Avoid using this solution on colored grout as peroxide is a bleach and will remove the color. Heavier grout stains may require a stronger concentration of straight peroxide applied to the stain. Cover the treated stain with plastic wrap to keep the peroxide from drying out too quickly. If the stain persists, try a mixture of peroxide and baking soda. This mixture will bubble greatly. Once the bubbling has subsided, apply it to the stain and let it sit for several minutes. Spray with more peroxide as it dries out.

Colored grout may be cleaned with shaving cream. Test an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't affect the color before applying to the entire surface. After removing the stains from the grout, re-apply a coat of sealer.

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