Jan 23, 2015

DIY Tile Floor Cleaning Basics for Homeowners

Tile flooring can make for a beautiful addition to your home that enhances the functionality of certain living spaces and attracts more buyers when you decide to sell, potentially even increasing the value of your home. Unfortunately, there's a little more to cleaning and maintaining the tile flooring in your home than, say, vacuuming the carpets. And if you fail to properly clean and maintain your tiles, you could end up with a product that is dirty or damaged beyond repair (or that will require pricy rehab to restore to its original state). In other words, you can actually save yourself a lot of time and money by treating your tile well with regular cleaning. Here are just a few basics to get you started.

The first thing you need to consider is the material and finish you're dealing with. There are all kinds of tiles used for flooring, although the most popular are natural stone and ceramic. If you're not sure what you're working with, there are a couple of things you can do. If you happen to have any remnants (i.e. extra tiles) lying around the house, simply take one to a tile shop to ask what it is. Or you can call in a professional floor cleaning service when you first move in - these professionals should be able to tell you what type of tile you have. The reason this is important is that you will need different cleaning products and procedures depending on the sort of tile you're working with.

Ceramic tile, for example, can stand up to a lot of abuse, including harsh chemical cleaners in most cases (although scrubbing products may remove the finish on the tile). Natural stone, on the other hand, will need specific products if you want to avoid damage like staining, pitting, and deterioration. It may also need to be sealed periodically to prevent problems and maintain a particular appearance. Knowing what materials and finishes you're working with is crucial to cleaning your tile flooring properly.

From there, you should take a couple of basic steps where cleaning and maintenance is concerned. You can start with regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove the dust that filters through your home all the time. You should mop following sweeping in order to pick up any remaining dust, dirt, grime, and germs that can permeate your flooring surface. Again, you'll need the right cleaning agents to keep your floor looking beautiful. And think about skipping a sponge mop, which can push grime into your grout, in favor of a rag that will do a better job. When cleaning a tile floor, you want to make sure you cover every inch, including the grout between tiles.

And just like you might steam clean your carpet annually, you should probably also give tiles a deep cleaning. Ceramic tiles can benefit from steam cleaning that removes any built-up grime or residue left behind by standard cleaning products. But when it comes to natural stone flooring, you should probably check in with the experts at a tile retailer. There's a good chance your floor will require annual sealing due to wear and tear. If all else fails, you can always order replacement tiles from an outlet like Tiles Direct. But if you want to protect your investment, regular and proper cleaning and maintenance is the key.

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