Cleaning Tile Floors
Cleaning tile floors depends on the type of tile you have. No matter what type of tile you have, however, there are two rules to live by when you have tile floors; 1) Wipe up spills the moment they happen.
2) Maintenance cleaning prevents the need for harsh chemicals and harder work.
For spills - keep absorbent cloths, a wet/dry vacuum, or a wet/dry cordless vacuum handy. People usually immediately wipe up spills like juice or pet accidents. It’s important to remember that on most floors, water and dirt are also spills. You will have problems (stains, extra work) and take life from your flooring if you don’t clean up muddy footprints or water when it happens.
Maintenance cleaning for tile floors is simple, but so many people ignore it. They wait until the floor is so dirty they can’t stand it any longer. The problem is that harsh chemicals are bad for almost every floor. You also have to work harder to get the floor clean. No matter what material makes up your tile flooring, maintenance cleaning is the same;
1) Dust or Sweep Often.
2) Damp Mop Your Floors Weekly.
Maintenance Cleaning - First, get a fluffy, soft dust mop. Get a quality product where the dust mop part can be removed and washed. You can save money by throwing it in the washing machine when it gets dirty, and it can be replaced when necessary. Swiffer and comparable disposable cloth dusters are great inventions, but I don’t recommend them for most floors. The cloth pushes around the dirt, often grinding it across the floor, which causes scratches in the surface. These dusters also can’t get into the grout on ceramic tile floors. Invest your money instead in a dust mop, a rubber prong broom, or a vacuum attachment for bare floors. They are all simple to use. Your floor will look better and last longer.
Damp mopping - is so simple and effective, yet so few people do it! Imagine not applying harsh chemicals to your floor, not having to breathe in fumes, but still getting your floors clean. Usually, a damp mop is all it takes. Fill a bucket with clean, warm water. Dip your mop in and wring it out. If you have vinyl or laminate flooring, wring it out twice. Then mop your floor. When the water starts to get dirty, dump your water and refill the bucket with more. It’s simple, and for the average floor, that’s all you need! When stronger cleaning is required, try these homemade formulas:
Ceramic Tile Floors - The tile part of your floor will almost always get clean with a damp mop. It’s the grout that’s usually the problem for people with ceramic tile floors. You can try a capful of rubbing alcohol in 1 gallon of water. This will usually work well to clean the grout and the tile.
Vinyl Flooring -
Mix one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of water. Wring your mop well (twice is best), and then apply to the floor. This solution should be followed with clean water.
Stone Flooring -
Stone tiles can be fragile and usually require a special cleaner. Acids like vinegar will destroy marble tiles! If you want a homemade alternative to a special stone flooring cleaner, try a mild solution of dish soap and water. You only have to go over it with plain water afterward if you’ve used too much soap making the surface slick or sticky.
Wax Buildup - If you have wax build-up and want an alternative to commercial strippers, you can make your own version with 1 cup laundry detergent and 1/2 cup ammonia in 1 gallon of warm water. You will need to use a stiff brush to help the progress, so only apply the solution to one area of the floor at a time. Follow with the vinyl flooring cleaning solution. Reapply the wax to protect your flooring and make cleaning easier.