Stacy McCall, president and CEO of ServiceMaster by Stratos in Memphis, says, “Sweeping works fine for most floors, but vacuuming is a better choice, even for tile. Most vacuums have a hard floor surface setting. If not, raise height to maximum setting to avoid scratching [the] floor. This will make mopping easier and prevent dirt that sweeping left behind from being spread around.”
David Schliefer of Grout Works in New Jersey says, “In order to clean a tile floor you must first be aware of the type of tile you have. Any natural stone, such as marble and travertine, is sensitive to many cleaning products.” Only use products intended for the type of tile you have.
McCall adds, “Ceramic tiles are made for mopping. A general-purpose cleaner is fine for daily maintenance. Just make sure that you use the grout and tile cleaners recommended by the manufacturer. Not all tiles are the same, and some tile cleaners will mar or dull tiles.”
For porcelain tile, Cody Smith of Pacific Coast Floors in Victoria, BC, suggests using an alkaline-based cleaner. He says, “It is important that it is alkaline based, as this will break down the grime in the tiles and grout. Using hot water, dilute the cleaner according to its label and use it to mop your floor. Let it soak for a good half an hour, but don’t let it dry. Reapply the cleaning solution liberally when needed.”
Schliefer says, “Assuming your tile is porcelain or ceramic, which is generally the case, the next step is to figure out what kind of dirt you are trying to clean.”
If the dirt is in the bathroom and shower, then soap scum is probably to blame — in which case he advises, “You will need a good soap-scum remover and a brush that is good for removing soap scum.”
However, if your kitchen tiles are dirty, grease and grime are likely the culprits. He suggests using a de-greasing product or cleaners that say they “cut grease.”
Schliefer says using a clean cotton mop should work fine for most smooth-tiled floors, while rough-textured tiles may require a scrub brush to get them clean.
McCall says that an electric scrubber may be needed if you are working with caked-on messes or stains.
Finally, McCall adds that prevention is the best medicine for dirty floors. She says, “Don’t forget — the best way to keep your tile floor clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. Mats, both outside and just inside each door, can go a long way toward preventing dirt from tracking in — just make sure you clean the mats regularly. Making a habit of taking your shoes off at the door can help too.”
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