Floor and wall tiles are usually very easy to keep clean. Follow the golden rule of not using bleach or ammonia, and don’t scratch them by using abrasive products, and they should look good for a very long time.
Normally, keeping them swept clean and washing them with warm water and detergent is usually all you need to do. However, there are times when this isn’t enough, and there are a few life hacks that’ll help you keep everything spick and span.
When it comes to cleaning your tiled surfaces however there are a few things to bear in mind as different methods and products are required depending on the type of tile you’re cleaning. Fear not though intrepid cleaners as we’ve created this handy guide to help you achieve clean tiles in no time at all…
How To Clean Porcelain Tiles
Before You Start…
Your first cleaning action should be to get rid of any dust and dirt that has gathered. This can be done daily by using a vacuum cleaner, or it can be swept away. A dry mop is recommended for sweeping, rather than a broom, as this will give better day-to-day protection for the tile surface.
Don’t use Chemicals
Porcelain tiles are heated to fuse the mixture together, giving it similar water-resistant qualities to glass. Regular use of corrosive chemicals can erode the surface of the tile, and increase its water absorption rate. Corrosive chemicals will also erode the grout, which will loosen the tiles and allow water to get beneath the tiles creating dampness. For everyday cleaning of porcelain tiles, just use warm water and a mop. Every couple of weeks clean with a mild detergent mixed in warm water. Only consider chemicals to remove any stubborn stains.
How to Make Those Porcelain Tiles Shine!
Most porcelain tiles can be cleaned sufficiently simply using warm water and a mop. Just slosh some of the wet stuff from your mop bucket onto the area to be cleaned (using a clean mop), apply a bit of elbow grease et voila! Clean porcelain tiles.
If the tiles are a bit grubbier than warm water alone can shift then try a little detergent mixed in with the water. Always take care to read the manufacturer’s instructions however – most everyday cleaning solutions are concentrated and will need diluting to make them less concentrated before use.
When using a detergent, ensure it is of a low concentration. Textured tiles may need a slightly higher concentration than other tiles. Cover an area of the floor with the cleaning solution and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Then use a mop to clean the area. Do not let the cleaning solution dry. Next, mop the area again with clean, warm water. This will get rid of any detergent residue and prevent water spots or powdery marks.
Not all stains are created equal. We tend to utilise the same cleaning method for all stains, but this is not the correct way to go about things. Stains should be treated in the most effective way to reduce any long-term damage to the tiles or grout. When dealing with stains only clean the affected area; do not use on the whole floor.
Following the above guidelines will give your porcelain tiled floor the best protection it can get, and keep it looking its best. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and major stains to tiles may need to be treated with a more aggressive approach requiring chemicals. Be aware that these chemicals can lead to a change in colour of the grout. First of all, follow the instructions above and find the best method to clean the particular stain. Make sure you are wearing suitable gloves, a mask, and eye protection, and ventilate the area by opening windows and doors that lead outside. Only clean the affected area.
If you really want to go to town on that dastardly dirt (without harming your lovely tiles of course) then we recommend using a specialist porcelain tile cleaner such as HG Extreme Power Cleaner from leading tile cleaning solution manufacturer, Hagesan.
By following these tips you will keep your porcelain floor in tip-top condition, and increase its longevity.
How To Clean Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles come in two types: glazed and unglazed. The first has been fired so that a layer of glass forms on top, making it smooth, durable, and all but stain-proof. Despite this, it’s still a good idea to give them a spot of light cleaning from time to time to avoid a build-up of grime. This holds especially true for floors, where grit can wear down the shine, and in the shower, where long-left soap scum can prove near impossible to remove.
With no protective layer of glass, unglazed tiles are more difficult to clean. First, their porous surface traps grime much better than their glazed counterparts, and they aren’t nearly as resistant to stains. Second, the vulnerability of the naked clay limits the strength and type of ceramic tile cleaner that can be used, which can make ceramic tile stain removal tricky.
If you find yourself wasting an awful lot of time cleaning your ceramic tiles, it might be worth getting them sealed. Though they’ll still need a spot of light regular cleaning to maintain upkeep, this process greatly increases their durability and stain resistance. Tiles should also be resealed periodically, around once or twice a year.
Before You Start…
As with porcelain tiles, you must ensure you remove any loose dust, dirt and debris before beginning your clean-up operation. A swift run over with a vacuum cleaner should do the trick, or if the tiles are on a wall, a quick wipe down with a soft dry cloth (microfiber ones are particularly good for this).
Wet the Tiles
Next, it’s time to get put some water on them. Get a non-fibrous cloth and submerge it in some warm water before wringing out the excess. Be careful not to get your cloth or mop overly wet as you’ll just end up pushing water around the surface of the tiles for longer than is necessary and expending effort that could be better put towards actually cleaning the tiles. Run your mop or cloth over the tiles, applying gentle pressure and making sure that you wring out the dirty water every now and then and repeat until you have covered the entire surface area.
Try a Detergent
If warm water alone is failing to shift a build-up of grime, you can add a splash of household detergent to your water to tackle that slightly tougher dirt. As with porcelain tiles, however, make sure you avoid harsh chemical cleaners as these can damage the glaze on the surface of the tiles over time. Steer clear of solutions containing ammonia, bleach and/or acids and you’ll be fine. To be completely on the safe side, we recommend using a specialist tile cleaning solution such as HG Cement and Grout Film Remover.
But We’re Never Gonna Survive Unless, We Get A little Hazy…
If you do use household cleaners on your ceramic tiles then you might find that your tile surfaces look a little hazy post-mopping or wiping. This is likely due to soap/cleaning solution build-up. The film can be easily removed using a non-abrasive all-purpose cleaner and a clean mop, or if you really want to make sure you get shot of every last cloudy molecule then you can use something like HG Cement and Grout Film Remover .
PRO TIP: Opt for a chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. Rag and chamois-style mops are better for cleaning tiles as sponge mops tend to push dirty water into the grout joints.
How To Clean Polished Tiles
Before You Start…
You know the drill by now…prepare your polished tiles for cleaning by either giving them a quick once over with the vacuum cleaner or micro-fibre mop to remove surface dust and grit. Once you’ve done that and are satisfied that there are no errant bits of matter floating about on the surface of your tiles then you’re ready to get that tap running and your bucket out…
As mentioned earlier on in this article, it’s usually best to use a chamois-style mop over a sponge or fabric/string type as the latter tend to hold onto dirt particles and inadvertently transfer dirt into your grout joints. There’s an even better reason for choosing a chamois type mop-head for use on polished tiles however in that they will leave fewer streaks (which comes in handy when buffing the polished glazed surfaces to a brilliant shine).
Dry Your Tiles
To clean your polished tiles you should follow the same advice we gave on cleaning porcelain and ceramic tiles. However, it’s especially important to not allow water to pool on high gloss tile surfaces after mopping/wiping and even more important to thoroughly dry your tiles afterwards. You can use a soft micro-fibre towel or specialist mop fitment for this task and in doing so, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of effort when it comes to the next stage of cleaning polished tiles – buffing.
Perhaps the most important stage in cleaning polished tiles is restoring that shiny surface by buffing. If you’ve used a specialist tile cleaning solution then this task will be easier than if you’ve used a household cleaner as it’s formulated to leave no residue or streaks.
Your polished tiles will still need buffing regardless of what has been used to clean them though and the best way to do this is to use a clean, soft, micro-fibre towel. Either get down on your hands an knees (never bend your back to do this!) and rub the surface of tiles in a circular motion until you reach a brilliant shine, or place the towel on the floor and use your foot to do the hard work!
How To Clean Grout Joints
Whilst most modern grout has excellent anti-mould properties, it is still porous and absorbs grease and grime and can gradually become discoloured over time. If you want to keep your walls and floors looking great for longer, protecting your grout and regularly cleaning it is paramount.
If your tiles are new and freshly grouted then it might be an idea to seal the grout with a specialist sealing solution such as HG Cement and Grout Film Remover. This will help stop dirt and grime from building up throughout the life of the tiles as well as preventing water absorption – it’s only suitable for polished tiles however. It’s advisable to top up that anti-mould barrier at regular intervals with something like Grout Protector Wall & Floor. Specialist products of this kind are formulated to prevent absorption of stains by grout and because they’re often water-based, won’t harm your tiles in the process.
If you don’t want to invest in a dedicated grout cleaning product then you can always create your own using baking soda and water. Simply add one part water to two parts baking soda and mix into a paste, rub it on the stained grout, let it sit overnight, then scrub off the following day with a stiff nylon brush.
Once More Into The Bleach
Even though we advise against using bleach directly on tile, a little spray bleach here and there can do wonders to clean grout. Always use with caution however and be sure to rinse off thoroughly after cleaning as continued exposure of tile surfaces to bleach could cause damage over time.
There’s a lot of conflicting information about whether you should use a steam cleaner to clean grout. One school of thought says it’s a great way to revive lacklustre tiles and grout whereas others insist that it will do lasting damage grout over time. Our stance is that a gentle steam mopping of tiles every now and then won’t harm sealed grout, however, if the grout is damaged in any way, using steam cleaners often could accelerate any erosion and may cause pitting and discolouration. So, bearing that in mind we’d say that as with most things in life, moderation is key!
How Often To Clean Your Tiles
A regular cleaning schedule will obviously keep your tiled surfaces looking great but that doesn’t mean you should clean them in the ways described in this article every few days. To keep tiles and grout in tip-top shape we recommend a deep clean (using water and detergents) every fortnight and a less strenuous sweeping up of surface dirt and detritus every week.
You should try and carry out a thorough clean of bathroom wall and floor tiles using water and cleaning solutions at least once a week however – germs and bacteria can build up quicker in rooms subject to humidity and constant sloshing water!