The ceramic flooring in our new home is a textured tile and when we first walked on it, it gave me the sensation that there was sand beneath my feet. Initially, I felt that if I had picked this tile out I would have chosen a smoother surface, not just for the feel but to make sure cleaning would be as easy as possible. Although I finally adjusted to the gritty feel, I continued to have concerns that the tiles would be difficult to keep clean.
The first thing I wanted to do in my search for education in caring for these floors was to discover what, if anything, I should not do or cleaners that should not be used on them. Taking care of ceramic tile flooring is really a mix of common sense and understanding the medium enough to realize that ceramic does not take well to harsh or abrasive cleaners. Some of the other safeguards to keep in mind while caring for your ceramic flooring include:
**Any abrasive cleaners of any sort, including abrasive steel wool or pads, or any sort of metal should be kept away from these floors. Abrasive cleansers and pads can scratch and mar the tiles. Even the bits of metal that some of the pads might contain can damage your tiles if the metal becomes lodged in the grout. Rusting of this material can take place and quickly make your grout look unsightly.
**Ceramic tile is one flooring where cleaning with white vinegar is not a good idea. Avoid cleaners that include vinegar as well as using vinegar mixed with water, etc. Vinegar on ceramic tile will become cloudy and dull the glaze on shiny tiles. Even if your tiles are not shiny, staying away from vinegar will keep your tiles from turning cloudy or taking on a dull or spotted look.
**Avoid vacuuming tiles with beater bars or brushes that are stiff as these can cause dirt which will scratch the tiles. It is best to use a soft brush or a tool specifically designed for your vacuum and meant to clean ceramic tile.
**Never use soap in any form on your ceramic. Although it may not affect your tiles immediately, using soap will eventually cause a soap scum buildup which can then cause your tiles to look dirty all the time.
Now, we've learned what not to do with ceramic tile flooring so what can we do to keep them looking their best? Fortunately, caring for your tile isn't a costly venture once you know the right tools and supplies to use to keep your floors looking their best.
** Steam cleaning your ceramic tile is probably the easiest, fastest and best way to care for them. Prior to steam cleaning however, you will want to make sure that the tile grout has been properly sealed. If you aren't certain that the grout has been sealed, it won't hurt to re-seal it just to be on the safe side. Grout isn't as durable as the tile itself, so it must be properly cared for as well.
**Always clean up spills as soon as they happen or as quickly as possible. Spills left to sit can and will stain the grout, and some stains will be difficult to remove if left too long. For stains in the grout that are not removed through steam cleaning, hydrogen peroxide can be used but it is important that you test this in an area of your floor where it won't be conspicuous incase the peroxide causes discoloring. Once you have determined that your grout is accepting of the hydrogen peroxide, you can then use it on the stains by carefully applying with a cloth, patting into the grout carefully until the stain lightens.
**To keep your floors a free from debris that could scratch them in between cleanings, it is wise to place decorative mats at the entries to the home so that foot traffic won't track in sand or other grit. Damp mopping can be done in between steam cleaning periods as long as you have ensured that any debris or other abrasive dirt is removed, either through careful vacuuming or by using a dry micro fiber mop to remove any material.
With careful attention to the products and materials that you use on your ceramic flooring it should last for many years and look great for a very long time.