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Give Tile Floors a Deep Clean

March 4, 2024

Give Tile Floors a Deep Clean

Tile floors are a great, low-maintenance flooring option that can last for decades. However, over time tile can accumulate dirt, grime, and stains that can be difficult to remove with regular cleaning. Here’s how to give tile floors a deep clean to restore them to their original glory.

Assess the Tile Floor

Before beginning, take some time to assess the condition of the tile. Check for:

  • Type of tile: Ceramic, porcelain, marble, granite, etc. Porous natural stone requires more gentle cleaning.

  • Grout lines: Look for discoloration or mildew in the grout lines. Grout may need special attention.

  • Finish: Glazed or unglazed tiles have different cleaning needs. Unglazed tiles are more porous.

  • Stains: Note any stubborn stains on the tiles. You may need a spot treatment.

  • Sealing: See if the tile has a natural sealer or will need resealing after deep cleaning.

Gather the Right Cleaning Supplies

Having the proper supplies for deep tile cleaning makes the job easier:

  • Mild detergent or tile/stone cleaner

  • Grout brush to scrub grout lines

  • Stiff scrub brush for tiles

  • White vinegar – helps remove soap scum and hard water deposits

  • Baking soda – mildly abrasive for scrubbing

  • Bucket and sponge mop

  • Old toothbrush – for grout corners

  • Clean rags

  • Rubber gloves

Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia that can damage grout and some tiles.

Vacuum and Sweep the Floor

Before washing the tiles, vacuum or sweep the floor to remove loose dirt and debris. This prevents spreading grime while scrubbing. Pay special attention to corners and grout lines where dirt accumulates.

Mix the Cleaning Solution

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or specialized tile cleaner. Check the product label for dilution directions.

For extra cleaning power, mix in white vinegar or baking soda. The vinegar helps remove soap scum and hard water deposits, while the baking soda lifts stains.

Scrub the Tile Floor

Working in manageable sections, use the stiff scrub brush dipped in the cleaning solution to scrub the tiles. Apply light pressure and work the brush in circular motions. Take care not to damage grout lines or unglazed tile surfaces.

Rinse the brush frequently as you work to prevent redistributing grime. Change the cleaning solution as needed to keep it effective.

Scrub the Grout Lines

Use the grout brush and toothbrush dipped in cleaning solution to scrub along grout lines. Apply firm pressure to lift dirt and discoloration.

For stubborn mildew or discoloration, make a baking soda paste and let it sit on the grout for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing. The baking soda naturally whitens and deodorizes.

Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing grout. Vinegar can help remove soap scum and hard water deposits.

Rinse the Floor

Once the tiles and grout are scrubbed, rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water. Work in sections and use the sponge mop to soak up dirty water.

Change rinse water frequently to ensure no soap residue or dirt is left behind. Pick up excess water with towels.

Let the Floor Dry

It’s important to let tile floors air dry completely after rinsing. Standing water can allow mold and mildew to take hold in grout lines.

Place fans around the floor to speed drying. The tile may look dull and faded when wet but will return to normal color as it dries.

Seal and Shine the Tile

Check if your tiles require sealing, especially natural stone. Applying a penetrating sealer protects tiles and grout from stains and makes cleaning easier.

For extra shine, use a terry cloth to buff a small amount of olive oil over the tiles. This nourishes and polishes natural stone.

Maintain Tile Flooring

Regular mopping and vacuuming prevents dirt buildup on tile. Use door mats inside and out to reduce tracked-in grit.

Re-seal tile every 1-2 years per manufacturer directions. Periodic deep cleaning keeps tile floors looking their best long-term.

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