Cleaning your tile floors isn’t the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon, is it? It’s gorgeous outside, and you long to get out and enjoy the sunshine.
It would be nice if Rosie the Robot were hanging out in your closet, but alas, she’s not. I’m afraid you’re on your own. Recruiting help from the kids will only result in a mess and more streaks than you started with.
So, if you’re ready to tackle your floors and get back to the fun, be sure to follow my list below of tips and product suggestions.
- Are You Cleaning Porcelain/Ceramic Tiles?
- Do You Have Marble or Natural Stone?
- How Should You Clean Grout Lines?
- How Effective are Environmentally Safe Cleaners?
- The End Results
Are You Cleaning Porcelain/Ceramic Tiles?
Porcelain or Ceramic tiles are the simplest to maintain. They can handle most cleaning agents without losing their shine, and they won’t scratch easily. Unfortunately, they hide dirt and germs, and scrubbing them is essential to your family’s health.
Microfiber dusters such as the Swiffer are great for everyday cleaning. The disposable cloths pick up dust and pet hair without scattering it through the air. Swiffer even has an inexpensive model with a vacuum to pick up crumbs.
For deeper cleaning consider using a microfiber mop that won’t grind the dirt into your tiles. Many models are reusable and include pads that you can wash after every use. Best of all they’re flexible and get into the corners, unlike many string mops.
You don’t need to soak them in cleaner either. In fact, microfiber mops work best when they’re not saturated. Your floors won’t take forever to dry, and you won’t have to worry about kids or pets slipping on the tiles.
Do You Have Marble or Natural Stone?
Natural stone tiles are breathtaking to look at but need a lot of upkeep. Even the tumbled varieties can etch and scratch if you’re not careful. Marble tiles are especially tricky to keep clean.
Never use a rough broom to clean these floors. Look for a soft-bristled model or better yet, use a vacuum made for tile flooring. Try to find a lightweight model that’s easy to maneuver.
When washing stone tile, remember you can’t use any old cleaner. You’ll need something that’s PH neutral. Use a cleanser made explicitly for stone that won’t etch or stain your floors. Black Diamond is a popular choice and has excellent customer reviews.
With a combination of light maintenance and quality products, stone tiles will last as long as you own your home. Even if you’re planning on selling in the future, having natural stone tiles in your bathrooms and kitchen will make your home stand out from the competition.
How Should You Clean Grout Lines?
While many people advocate using vinegar or peroxide to clean grout, it’s not the best option. The acid in these chemicals can wear your grout down and loosen it. If you have stone tile, acidic or alkaline cleaners will destroy your floors.
But without regular cleaning grout will discolor and your tile will look old and worn. Thankfully many companies have started producing cleaning products without harsh chemicals. You can find them online, or at home improvement stores.
Tilelab makes a lemon-scented grout cleaner that will penetrate the toughest grime and leave your floors sparkling. Use a brush to loosen the dirt and to scrub away stains. It’s better to use one with soft bristles, so you don’t damage your tile.
A second option is to use a steam cleaner in combination with a scrub-brush. Steam cleaning is a safe alternative to harsh cleansers. The hot water will sanitize your tile while loosening dirt trapped in the grout.
One of the most popular models is made by Shark. This steam mop has excellent reviews and is gentle enough for everyday cleaning. Remember to wear shoes while you clean, so you don’t accidentally burn your feet.
How Effective Are Environmentally Safe Cleaners?
The government has made strides in regulating the products we use to clean our homes. Tile floor cleaners are no exception. The Environmental Protection Agency sets strict guidelines for companies and promises to ensure the chemicals we use are safe.
Some say, green cleaners aren’t potent enough and won’t sanitize your tile floors as well as traditional methods. But, that is far from the truth. Hospitals and daycare centers across the globe rely on eco-friendly cleaners to kill germs and sanitize surfaces.
Disinfecting your floors isn’t optional, especially if you have toddlers. Germs can hide anywhere, and children love to touch everything. Always make sure the cleansers you use are safe for your family and your flooring.
Have you ever used homemade floor cleaner on your tile? There’s a famous recipe online that uses a mixture of vinegar, water, and dish soap. The jury’s out on how well this concoction cleans and many reviewers note the odor isn’t worth the savings.
Simple Green Naturals is an economical choice that’s both effective and safe to use around children and pets. It’s made by a company that has long prided themselves on manufacturing non-toxic cleaning solutions. This plant-based cleaner leaves behind a pleasant scent that your family will love.
The EPA keeps an online database of safe cleaners where you can look up your favorite brands. You can also check the product’s label to see if it carries the Safer Brands seal.
The End Results
Cleaning your tile floors doesn’t have to take an entire afternoon. If you have the right supplies to do the job, you can accomplish your routine in half the time and get beautiful results. Microfiber mops, steam cleaners, and lightweight vacuums are indispensable allies in the war against dirt.
After cleaning, allow time for your tile to dry before walking on it. Otherwise, your floors will show every streak and footprint. Try to wash your floors at off-peak times, so your family doesn’t ruin all your hard work.
Remember, these floors will last a lifetime if you take care of them. You don’t have to wash your tile every day, but most experts suggest you sweep regularly and apply cleaner every two weeks.
How do you keep your tile floors clean? Which products do you use regularly? Be sure to share your best tips with the rest of us in the comments below.