Tile floors are an extremely popular flooring choice- and for good reason! Tiles are durable, elegant and easier to take care of than carpets or hardwood. With that said, tiles still require some love and attention to keep them in tip-top shape and to extend their durability, because let’s face it- nothing is more disgusting than moldy grout in the kitchen or bathroom.
Luckily, cleaning tile floors is easy and can be done with just a few simple, natural ingredients that you probably have lying around in the pantry. Read on for five simple methods to get your tile floors truly clean.
1. Consistency Is Key
Before we get into the various different options for cleaning, something should be said about the importance of consistency. Letting your tiles get dirty for months then suddenly pouring harsh chemicals all over them will damage them over time. The ingredients in many cleaning products are harsh enough to break down the finish of the grout and tiles, weakening them over time. This could lead to cracking or discoloration.
Whatever cleaning method you use, try to set aside time at least three times a week for a quick clean. Just sweeping and mopping your floor a few times a week will keep them squeaky-clean and prevent the need for harsh chemicals.
2. Steam Cleaning
Steam cleaning is one of the simplest and most effective ways to clean your tiles with nothing more than hot water. The high-temperature water heat up the tile and create an inhospitable environment for any bacteria or mold, making it an effective sanitizer and cleaner for daily use. Another bonus is that it is extremely natural and gentle. Steam cleaning is very safe for young children or pets because it doesn’t involve any strong acids or bases.
3. Dish Soap
The experts at Granada Tile recommend using a plain, neutral pH dish soap directly on tile floors with warm water. Grabbing a mop and dish soap is an easy way to maintain your tile floors every day- just take the sponge from doing the dishes and clean the floors while you’re at it. Just gently buff away any stains or residue. The key ingredient in most dish soaps is a form of sulfate, which breaks down any oil residues left on your floors and allows water to fully clean them. If plain steam cleaning doesn’t work for you, add some dish soap for truly clean floors.
4. Lemon Juice/Vinegar
Using acidic (pH lower than 7) solutions like lemon juice and vinegar work especially well on pale tiles. Lemon juice has uses from spicing up guacamole to lightening hair, and now you know it’s an effective cleaner too! The acid raises the pH of the tiles, killing any bacteria and mold. Vinegar works in much the same way, and both are easily available in any grocery store or the back of your pantry. Lemon juice and vinegar are also fairly safe if accidentally ingested, although they aren’t as gentle as steam. Just be careful to wipe away any residue, otherwise, the acid can eat through the sealant over time.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda, being basic (with a pH higher than 7), has a similar effect to the acids when it comes to cleaning. Lowering the pH kills bacteria and prevents the growth of any mold or mildew. For optimal effects, add the baking soda to some vinegar or lemon juice. The reaction causes foaming bubbles that are effective for scrubbing hard grease. Baking soda is also fairly safe, although the crystals in it can be abrasive to the throat if ingested, so be careful using baking soda around pets or young children.
When it comes to maintaining your tile floors, it is important to be consistent and to accept that it might require some elbow grease. But, if you put in the work to clean and take care of your tiles, you will be rewarded with gleaming, long-lasting tiles.