How To Deep Clean A Tile Floor
A clean home is a happy home, but if you’ve got a family you know just how impossible it is to keep things spotless. While regular cleaning is undoubtedly the best way to maintain the sheen and shine of your home’s tile floors, not every spot can be fixed with a broom & pan.
Floors are subjected to a lot of wear & tear, from regular foot traffic causing scuffs to spills that are missed during the cleanup, staining tile and grout. Even if you get on your hands and knees to scrub away with a wet rag, it may not be enough for some cleaning jobs.
When it comes to how to clean tile floors, the answer is to clean smarter – not harder.
Identify The Material
Before you go out and buy a cleaner that has potentially harmful chemicals or substances in it, you’ll want to won’t damage your tiles.
Certain tile – especially naturally occurring stones like marble – are more susceptible to damage from chemical cleaners than more synthetic materials. This is because there is a chemical reaction that occurs between acids in the cleaner and the natural calcium carbonate in the stone, permanently damaging the stone at the surface of the tiles. This also goes for the grout between the tiles which shares the weakness to acids that marble has.
You’ll want to avoid acidic cleaners and even natural solutions like vinegar because of this. Fortunately, stones that lack this compound like porcelain are more resilient and can stand up better to the acids in stronger cleaners, making them simpler to clean.
Types Of Cleaners
Depending on what you’re cleaning, you’ve got options for how to clean your tile floors. Some cleaners will work for everything, while others are only useful for certain situations.
Below are the 3 types of cleaning solutions to consider, where they thrive, and where they struggle.
When you think of clean, there’s a good chance bleach and other strong-smelling chemicals come to mind. Chemicals are great at cleaning because they both disinfect surfaces and clean by breaking down materials that may end up on your tiles like food, dirt, and more.
The downside of chemical cleaners is that they can be dangerous to your health. Cleaners were full of chemicals like ammonia or bleach smell incredibly acrid, which can cause eye & throat irritation as well as headache or dizziness. Depending on the chemicals in the cleaner, contact with your skin can also cause irritation, while ingestion can be fatal in serious circumstances.
Common chemical cleaners are bleach and ammonia, and you’ll find one of these 2 in many commercial cleaners.
If you’re looking to avoid the caustic chemicals of many commercial cleaners, you can use some natural alternatives that offer a similar level of cleaning without the additional risk. A natural solution like baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide can rival bleach when it comes to cleaning and whitening acid-weak tiles & grout. Vinegar’s acidic properties are also great for disinfecting & cleaning non-carbonate tiles.
These natural solutions pose minimal threat to you even if ingested and can be mixed with hot water to reduce the strength and increase the dirt fighting ability thanks to the extra heat.
For smaller problems like scuffs or spills that haven’t stained yet, dry solutions can make it simple to deep clean a tile floor while avoiding surface damage.
Believe it or not, a standard pencil eraser can be used to remove a shoe scuff from your floor without needing to use any cleaner – chemical or natural.
Aaron from Essential Home and Garden says that using a steam mop can clean and disinfect as effectively as chemicals and natural solutions, trading in chemical reactions for the clean power of heat to break down buildup & kill germs.
Deep Cleaning Tile Floors
Once you know what kind of tile you’re working with, you’ll be able to more accurately choose the ideal cleaning solution & cleaning method for your floor. Just because your floor can handle heavy-duty cleaners doesn’t mean you need to blast it with chemicals!
With marble and other similar tiles, you’ll have to avoid acids at the risk of the chemical reaction damaging your tile. Bleach is a basic solution that works well for cleaning, disinfecting, and even whitening things that have lost their color. A natural alternative would be baking soda and hydrogen peroxide – another non-acidic solution that can penetrate past the surface of buildup and clean tiles well. Finally, a steam mop won’t pose any threat to you or your tile – just the germs & buildup.
If you’re working with porcelain, ceramic, or another tile without calcium carbonate, your options are more abundant. You can use bleach or ammonia as well as acidic cleaners like CLR without worrying about damage. Your natural solutions include baking soda & hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, citric acids, and more plus the dry options of steam mopping and erasers for smaller marks & buildups.
When it comes to actually clean the tile, you can use a mop, rag, or any other cleaning tool that allows you to apply the cleaner & some elbow grease to get the stubborn buildup. For particularly bad spots, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can add to the cleaning power. Now you are ready to have a nice clean floor!
Grout should generally be treated the same way that marble is, avoiding acidic cleaners that can erode the grout (and potentially the tile surrounding it). Bleach, baking soda & hydrogen peroxide, and an eraser will all do a good job of returning the grout to its natural whiter color. It works especially well when you use a toothbrush to apply the mixture and work it deep into the grout for a better clean. Alternative applications can include a Magic Eraser or pencil eraser, as both give you the extra friction necessary to work through the buildup.
If you want a kitchen, bathroom, or other tiled floors to look its best, it’s important to deep clean your tile floor the right way or hire a maid service. Proper maintenance – sweeping, cleaning spills as they happen, and more – are a good start, but some stains can still get through to your tile and grout. When this happens, choose the right cleaner for your floor so you can keep it clean without causing damage or scrubbing more than necessary.