Cleaning always seems to be the one chore we all dread. Keeping up with your daily tasks, such as picking up the kids, meeting work deadlines and cooking dinner, who has time to clean? Fortunately, certain cleaning tactics work better than others when it comes to cleaning tile floors.
There are three very effective ways to clean your tile floors. While routine water can oftentimes do the trick, the following cleaning methods are for floors that are not getting the attention they deserve.
Note: All tile floors should be swept and vacuumed before any of the following tactics are implemented.
Mix equal parts vinegar and very, very hot water. The acidity in vinegar can work as a natural grease-remover that makes this approach especially useful for tile floors. Fill another bucket with water to rinse the floor. Mop the floor from side to side and then up and down to get between the grout. If you are cleaning a large surface area, you may need to make a fresh batch of vinegar and water at some point. Finally, rinse the floor with clean water and give it ample time to dry.
You can also use ½ cup of plain rubbing alcohol as a substitute for vinegar.
Tip: Acids like vinegar and some other cleaning products will erode natural stone tiles. Stick to dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, cornstarch and baking soda for stone tile.
While I always recommend cleaning your entire floors versus single spots, even when a stain occurs, I understand that time is of the essence. As such, you need a tough stain remover the next time your drop a piece of chicken or spill your red wine on your tile floor.
A mix of equal parts scouring power and hot water will certainly do the trick. Scouring powder is a commercial or homemade cleaning mixture that makes a suitable cleaner for just about any surface in a home. It’s usually made by combining salt, borax cleaner and baking soda.
Using a clean paper towel or cloth, spread the mixture over the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub the area with a soft brush and thoroughly rinse the tile with warm water and a cloth. Repeat the process until you remove the stain.
Oftentimes, there is grease and other nasty substances on our floor that we can’t see. While either of the two ways to clean tile floors above will work, the more appropriate solution is dish detergent and warm water.
Mix equal parts of both in your cleaning bucket and mop all around the floor. Make sure you are not stepping on areas that were recently cleaned. Let the floors rest up to 20 minutes before walking by.
If you are organized and consistent with your cleaning schedule, there are other, simpler ways to clean your tile floors.
Grout is the substance between each piece of tile on your floor. It locks the tiles together and keeps moisture above it. Unlike tile, grout is porous, which means it’s not stain-proof or waterproof. The visible grout lines made from water, sand and cement absorb grease and dirt faster than tiles. As a result, it may discolor quickly. That is why you must clean your grout as well.
Much like your tile floor cleaning solutions, your grout solution can be made at home. You can make a grout cleaner with any combination of baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or (oxygen) bleach. As an extra precaution, only use bleach if you have light colored grout. However, the safer bet would be to buy a special pH-balanced product from a flooring company to protect against discoloration.
Once you decide which solution to use, place it on your grout lines and let it sit. Some add baking soda. Then, start scrubbing with a good old toothbrush. A brush is the only way you are going to get those tough dirt stains off your grout lines. Don’t be afraid to throw a little elbow grease in there!