One of the benefits of ceramic tile is that it is quite easy to keep clean. The thing the homeowner should keep in mind is to clean the tiles with a cleanser specifically made for them and not an all-purpose cleaner. Homeowners should also realize that grout and unglazed ceramic tiles need to be sealed and that whatever the tiles are made of, spills need to be cleaned up right away. It’s especially important to clean up spills that are acidic, such as citrus juices, wine and soda. Though mild, the acids in these liquids can damage even sealed ceramic tiles.
Cleaning Glazed Tiles
Avoid cleaners that have oils, acids or waxes, for they can discolor the grout or cause it to deteriorate. The best solution for cleaning glazed tiles is just dishwashing liquid in warm water. If the tile is really dirty, try undiluted white vinegar. The walls of shower stalls tend to collect soap scum over time, especially if the pipes have hard water. For this, the homeowner needs a cleanser that’s specifically for bathroom tiles. The best examples of these cleansers come from a tile store or the tile department of a big box store.
Cleaning Unglazed Tiles
Because they’re porous, unglazed ceramic tiles need to be cleaned with the gentlest possible cleanser. The homeowner should consult with their tile seller about which cleansers are the best to use for their type of tile.
There are many types of stain removers for ceramic tile that can be bought from the tile supplier. However, tough stains may require a poultice. These are powders that are mixed with water to make a paste. The paste is then placed over the stain, covered with plastic wrap secured with masking tape and left on overnight.
After the poultice is removed, rinse what’s left of it with a sponge, soap and water. Sometimes a poultice needs to be applied more than once to a stubborn stain.
Before mopping a floor, sweep or vacuum up debris, fill a bucket with warm water and add a couple of squirts of tile cleaner, but no more than this. Too much cleanser can leave a film on the floor that attracts dirt. Start in the corner farthest from the entrance, and mop backward toward the entrance. Do not let the mop get too wet. A sopping wet mop just moves the dirt around the floor and the water can seep beneath the floor into the subfloor. When the water becomes filthy, flush it down the toilet, and refresh it.
Use a spray bottle to apply a coat of cleanser to walls with ceramic tile. Let it stand for a few minutes so that the dirt can be loosened. Then, use a tile brush to further loosen the dirt and hard water deposits, and rinse the walls clean. If the tiles are in the shower stall, the showerhead itself can be used to do this.