Floor tiles are a hard-wearing, low-maintenance flooring option that delivers a unique aesthetic. Depending on the style of your home, they can do a job throughout your property — and not just in your kitchen and bathrooms.
While cleaning most tiles is a relatively straightforward process, there are a few things you need to do if you want to keep them in tip-top condition. Here are the most important.
Tiles are easy to keep clean, but they tend to exaggerate debris, dust and dirt. And tiny stones can scratch the surface of tiles if they’re continually trodden on. Regularly vacuum your tiled floors, using a hard floor attachment and the relevant tools.
The best vacuum cleaner for tiles usually has a series of brushes that sweep as they go. It’s also important to use accessories fitted with brushes. Ideally, you should have the best vacuum for mixed floors if you have multiple surfaces to clean — so shop around, and take part in in-store demonstrations if possible.
Prevention is definitely the best way to keep tiled floors clean. At least once a week — usually last thing at night — mop your tiles with warm water and a little white vinegar. Don’t use dishwashing liquid, as it can leave a slippy residue behind. It’s vital that you leave the floor as dry as possible afterwards, so polish it dry with a second, unused mop.
There are some dedicated floor cleaning agents on the market, but some of them can gradually break down the sealants used on some tiles. But you can clean, sanitise, deodorise and dry at the same time, and with just one tool. Use an upright steam mop to clean your tiled floors, and all you’ll ever need is water. The latest models deliver the optimum amount of steam to remove dirt and grease and kill the majority of bacteria present. Very little water is actually used, so your tiles will be almost dry to the touch.
Clean spills and mess immediately
Try to get into the habit of quickly wiping up spills and messes immediately. Always have a supply of paper towels or microfibre cloths at hand for the job. If you address these issues quickly enough, you’ll only ever need a little water.
Deep clean floors once a month
It’s always a good idea to perform a more detailed clean of your tiled floors once a month. Again, this can be done with a steam mop. But if you’re using a manual method, create a solution of water, white vinegar and a very small amount of liquid detergent.
Look for stains and accumulations that you’d normally miss during the average day. These areas might need some extra attention with a scrubbing brush or a scourer. If the stain is stubborn or particularly greasy, cover it in a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, and leave it for 30 minutes. Then, simply rinse and polish with a clean, microfibre cloth.
Note: Don’t use vinegar on marble tiles.
The grouting on tiled flooring can become very dark and discoloured very quickly. Regular cleaning is great for tiles, but not for grout — which absorbs a lot of the dirt that tiles repel. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to cleaning the grouting on your floors.
There are some hacks to use, however. For example, you can often remove discolouration by rubbing grout with an eraser. Alternatively, create a paste of baking powder and white vinegar, and brush the grouting with a toothbrush.
Of course, these are time-consuming and laborious ways to clean tile grout. To save time — and your back — consider using a handheld steam cleaner for the job. Use an attachment that fires a thin jet of steam exactly where it is needed, and you shouldn’t need to do much else. Simply wipe up the discoloured water as you go… although there won’t be much of that.
To keep your floor tiles looking their very best, you need the right equipment. Check the Internet for vacuum cleaner reviews and steam cleaner recommendations. When you have the right tools for the job, cleaning tiled flooring becomes a lot easier.