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How to Care for Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is attractive and versatile, making it ideal for various areas of your house, including bathrooms and kitchens. Tile can maintain its appearance for long periods of time with proper maintenance and care. Fortunately, caring for tile floors is simple — you just need to know where to start.

Best Practices for Tile Floor Maintenance

While different types of tile floors require different care and maintenance, here are a few best practices when maintaining tile floors:

  • Clean tile floors regularly: Dirt, grit and other loose debris can scratch and dull tile over time. Tile floors should be cleaned regularly — vacuum or sweep a couple of times each week to remove dirt and grit. Be sure to thoroughly vacuum before mopping, which should occur every other week.
  • Change cleaning solution: As you’re mopping, change your cleaning solution regularly to prevent mopping with dirty water. Using cloudy mop water can leave a hazy film of soap residue and grime on your tile rather than clean it.
  • Use non-abrasive cleaners: While many types of tile flooring are scratch resistant, it’s best to avoid using abrasive and harsh cleaners. Over time, these types of solutions can scratch, dull or deteriorate your tile.
tile in office

How to Care for Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile is durable, hard and more water resistant than other similar materials. Porcelain can be manufactured to mimic other materials like wood or stone. Porcelain tile is typically either polished or unpolished and depending on which type you have, your method of porcelain tile floor care will differ slightly:

  • Unpolished/unglazed porcelain tile: Use a soft bristle brush with warm water and vinegar to gently scrub the floor. Keep the floor wet for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water and dry with a clean microfiber towel.
  • Polished/glazed porcelain tile: Wipe the tile with hot water and scrub any stains with a bristle brush. Use a vinegar solution or diluted tile cleaner. Rinse with hot water and dry with a clean towel.

Always read your flooring’s care instructions before cleaning it to ensure you don’t damage it or void its warranty.

How to Care for Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile floor care is relatively easy, as long as you make the time for it. Create a cleaning solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Use a flat mop or microfiber cleaning cloth to clean the floor. Buff-drying the tile with a clean cloth can help remove any residue and dry the tile quickly.

How to Clean Grout

Grout is more porous than ceramic or porcelain tile, so it tends to absorb grease and dirt. Additionally, cleaning your tile can push dirty water and grime into the grout lines. When your grout is dirty, your floors will look dingy. Avoid sponge mops when cleaning your floors, as they push dirty mop water into the grout and make it dirtier.

To clean your grout, mix baking soda and water and apply it to the grout lines. Using a grout brush or toothbrush, gently scrub the grout to release built-up dirt. Leave the baking soda mixture on overnight to help clear any stains in the grout. Wipe the mixture away with warm water and let the grout air dry.

How to Care for Tile Floors When You Have Pets

Cats and dogs are beloved household pets, though they can cause significant damage to your floors. Tile floors are a popular choice for pet owners because they’re easy to clean and resistant to stains and scratches. However, over time your pets can damage your tile without the right care and precautions:

  • Regularly trim nails: Dog nails are notorious for scratching all types of flooring. While tile is more scratch resistant than other types of flooring, be sure to have your pet’s nails trimmed regularly to avoid them scratching and wearing down the tile.
  • Use area rugs: Area rugs can be placed over the tile to help protect it from pets’ nails and provide traction so your pets aren’t slipping across the floors. Tile is also hard and cold, so area rugs can help make the floors more comfortable for your pets.
  • Use a water and food station: Tile floors are easy to clean, though consistent food and water spills can lead to extra dirt buildup and unnecessary wear and tear over time. Consider using a food and water station or mat to prevent spills on the floors around your pets’ bowls.
dog standing on wood floor

How to Care for Tile Floors When You Have Children

Caring for tile floors with kids is two-fold — caring for the floors helps maintain the tile over time and helps keep your kids safe. Here are a few ways to protect and care for your tile floors with children in the house:

  • Use furniture pads: Kids tend to be a bit careless when moving furniture, like pulling out or pushing in a kitchen table chair. Putting furniture pads under tables, chairs and other furniture can help prevent scratches on your tile.
  • Avoid wearing shoes inside: Wearing shoes around the house treks dirt and debris all across your floors. Plus, any rocks or debris stuck in the treads of your kids’ shoes can scratch your tile as they walk around. Have your kids and any visitors remove their shoes before coming inside to keep your floors cleaner.
  • Limit where kids eat food: Food spills on your tile floors can leave behind germs, bacteria and fungi, which then get tracked around your house or on your kids’ toys and hands. Limiting where your kids eat their food helps keep spills in a concentrated area you can target when cleaning.
kids playing on floor and parents on couch

Tile Maintenance FAQs

Here are the answers to some other frequently asked tile flooring questions:

Can You Use Vinegar on Tile Floors?

Vinegar is slightly acidic, which means it can damage certain types of tile floors, including marble and granite. However, porcelain and ceramic tile are durable enough that vinegar won’t damage them. Vinegar is safe to use in homemade tile cleaning solutions. As always, double-check your manufacturer’s recommendations before cleaning with any product.

Luxury Vinyl Tile in Bathroom

What’s the Best Way to Clean Tile?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles vary between manufacturers, so it’s best to consult with your flooring warranty to determine the most effective and safest way to clean your tile floors.

tile grout

Is Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Better?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both great options for various flooring needs. Neither is necessarily better than the other — the best choice for you depends on your needs. Weigh your options with a flooring professional to determine the best choice for your application.

bathroom with grey tile floors and walls
Tile Flooring from 50Floor

Looking to Replace Your Flooring? Contact 50Floor Today

If you’re considering new tile flooring, 50Floor offers high-quality service and products at affordable prices. From consultation to installation, we’ll help you find the best tile flooring for your home. For more information about our flooring solutions, contact us or schedule an appointment today.

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