Often, the questions we get most frequently after we install a beautiful new floor are about tile care–Everyone wants to keep their tile looking as great as it does when it is newly finished. And the good news is that tile care is simpler than you might think!
How long should I wait after it is installed to mop?
Preferably, give the tile installation (especially the grout) 2-4 days to dry completely. After that you should be good to go.
What products should I use for tile care?
Contrary to what you might expect, water and some scrubbing should be your first choice. Water is neutral PH, so it won’t eat away at your grout or your natural stone–and it also does a great job of lifting dirt. (Plus it is cost effective!)
When you are looking for a more heavy-duty cleaning, use the neutral PH cleaner that we sell at Mann Tile. Before you use any cleaner on your floor, test it on a small area that won’t be seen often (like in a closet). If you use soap too often (especially without rinsing properly), you will get a cloudy buildup on your floor that is quite unattractive (and collects dirt.) The trick is to wash your floor with a little bit of cleaner and a lot of water and then go over it again with clean water while it is still wet. That way, you lift the dirty, soapy water–leaving the clean water.
Once or twice a year, you can do a diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) wash on porcelain or ceramic tile floor. (Never use acidic cleaners on natural stone, though. Natural stone is very sensitive to acid.) Vinegar does an excellent job cleaning–however, since it’s acidic and will eventually ruin your grout, don’t use it often. (Vinegar etches the grout, creating more pores for the dirt to go into.)
Okay, so how do I actually care for my tile?
Make sure to wipe up spills quickly, especially on stone. That way it will be easier to clean up, of course–and you also won’t run the risk of staining the floor. Even water can stain stone if it is left too long. (Staining is mostly a concern with natural stone, especially if it isn’t sealed, but it’s probably wise to clean it up quickly no matter what kind of tile you have.)
It’s a good idea to do a quick damp mopping once a week (or more often), or just what we call “spot mopping”–wipe spots that are noticeably dirty with a rag or a damp mop.
A few times a month, (At least, if your floor gets even close to as dirty as ours…ahem.) you’ll probably want to do a thorough mopping. (After you make sure the area is swept and clear of any objects that may be damaged by water, of course.) My dad explains it as similar to doing laundry… it’s easier to remember if you think of it that way.
First, soak: quickly go over the floor with an extra wet cotton/sponge mop (really abrasive scrubbers, especially metal ones, may scratch the tile.), squeezing extra on particularly dirty areas–you want to have enough water to lift the dirt away from your tile floor and soften any stuck-on dirt.
Second, agitate: scrub your floor to loosen any stuck on debris.
Third, rinse: Go over the floor again, this time with a dryer mop head, mopping up all the dirty water and leaving behind only clean water.
Fourth, dry: Either air dry (you can use a fan to speed it up) or use a cotton towel to dry it.
And that’s pretty much it! You may now consider yourself an expert on tile care. 🙂
What about my old grout?
Sometimes you have a floor that you are happy with, but the grout just doesn’t look as good as it did a few years ago. What then? Well, you can scrub it with vinegar (we sell a grout brush that works well), and stain and seal it yourself (we also sell the stainer)– or you can call or email us to have us come out and stain it for you. We’ve done several staining jobs recently, and it really does make an amazing difference.
If you have any more questions about tile care, feel free to contact us!