CERAMIC TILE CARE & MAINTENANCE
Ceramics are inorganic, non-metallic materials that have been subjected to heat treatment. Material used is clay that contains a large amount of silicates. Tiles used in the home are set in a thin plaster-like substance called grout.
Tile may be purchased glazed or unglazed. If it has been glazed, it will be much easier to keep clean. Seal mortar between tiles. Vacuum regularly, and occasionally damp mop with plain water to remove soil. Occasionally for heavier soil use a mild detergent solution, rinse well, and wipe dry for more shine.
The best and easiest way to clean a ceramic tile floor is to scrub it with an electric floor washer or polisher-scrubber. The thorough cleaning action should brighten the tile and joints. Use a solution of ¼ cup low-sudsing detergent, or 1-2 tablespoons of either washing soda or tri-sodium phosphate or commercial floor cleaning powder in 1 gallon water. Rinse well.
When further treatment is needed, particularly for the grout, apply a solution of water and chlorine bleach (liquid or powdered). Let it stand for 20 minutes or so, mop the floor, rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Then wax the floor for protection and easier care.
If the tiles have been sealed, there still may be a white or gray dust track over both that surface and into carpeted floor areas. The whitish dust will be from the grout used in the laying the floor. You may use muriatic acid to clean up floor surfaces. (Dilute the muriatic acid, 1 part acid to 10 parts water). If the floor is not flushed thoroughly with water after clean up, the muriatic acid will continue to leach lime from the grout causing the whitish dust. Most tile installers today use a commercial product that is easier to wash off, but also more expensive.
Glazed tile should be treated like porcelain enamel, because it is easy to scratch: Avoid using harsh abrasive powders which will scratch the finish. Occasional bleaching will clean grout. Aerosol bathroom cleaners are effective to clean tile; follow directions on container.
To seal tile floors, place folded towels next to carpet areas adjoining tiled areas to absorb water. Using a scrub brush or large sponge and detergent, scrub the floor surface and rinse with clear water. Be sure any dirty wash water is completely removed from crevices. Allow floor to dry thoroughly.
From a store get a tile and grout sealer. It is a clear solution so it does not change the color of the tile or grout, but it will give some gloss to the surface. Paint the sealer on the dry tile or grout, being sure to cover all crevices and cracks. Let it dry and apply a second coat. Thereafter, apply one coat about every year to maintain the seal. The sealer prevents dust from grout being tracked around the house, and makes cleaning very easy with a damp mop. Some people prefer to use a wax over the sealer. Experiment with a sample tile or an inconspicuous corner as some waxes leave a streaky undesirable finish.
Dingy grout between tiles can be brightened by scrubbing with hot suds, then applying a diluted solution of chlorine bleach. Repeat procedure, keeping tile wet for 5 minutes.
Regular cleaning can be done with detergent and water, and rinsed; or commercial household cleaners or bathroom cleaners used according to label directions. Do not use scouring powders or other abrasives which can scratch the finish.
Special cleaning may be needed for ceramic tile in bathrooms if there is a buildup of soap scum, a rough white coating or mildew.
Remove soap scum by sponging a mixture of ½ cup of packaged water softener, plus tablespoons rotten stone plus 1 cup hot water; or use a solution of 1-2 tablespoons tri-sodium phosphate in 1 gallon hot water. Rinse.
Remove mildew by cleaning with dilute solution of chlorine beach in water, following label directions on bleach. Rinse. Or use a mildew retardant household spray.
The rough white coating is a buildup of mineral from hard water (like you get in a tea kettle). Dissolve it with a commercial tile cleaner and wipe off.
Occasionally a dark varnish-like stain may build up in a tile shower that has not been cleaned regularly. It is a build-up of body oils and soap scum and very hard to remove. Cover the spot with full-strength liquid laundry detergent and let stand for a couple of hours. Then sponge with water. If it still doesn’t come off, leave detergent on longer and scrub with a brush. Don’t use on porcelain enamel tubs or fiberglass or plastic surfaces as it may damage them.
Special thanks to doityourself.com
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