How to Clean Bathroom Tiles and Tile Grout
Tiles can be cleaned with both commercial products and with common household items.
Tiles have very resistant surface and can be cleaned in different ways – mostly, when something is spilled onto the tiles, damp microfiber cloth is more than enough to clean them thoroughly.
The biggest problem with keeping tiles clean, especially in the bathroom are limescale deposits on the floors and walls due to the hard water. The easiest way to remove the limescale is by using acidic cleaning solution.
Most common acidic remedy at the homes is the vinegar.
Cleaning with the vinegar is simple – put the vinegar on the cloth and rub the limescale stains. When cleaning floor tiles, feel free to spray vinegar directly on the floor stains and rub the surface. When stains are removed, wipe everything with wet cloth and let the surface dry.
Note: removing the water after showering or having a bath from walls and floors will slow down limescale buildup significantly. This can be done easily and quickly using small windows vacuum.
Beside vinegar, citric acid can be also used to remove limescale spots from the tiles. Of course, there are many commercial products available for this purpose.
Maintaining Old Tiles
Old tiles often look dull and without their initial shine, even when they are clean.
Restoring their shine can be done by adding some liquid detergent or even a shampoo to the water and then wiping them with a cloth. Also, one can use ammonia to do the same thing, just be very careful with it. Always use commercial products as instructed and never, but really never mix them, unless instructed so – mixing bleach and ammonia, for example, can produce toxic gases.
Note that by restoring the shine, many tiles get slippery, too.
Other home remedies for cleaning the tiles include for example, lemon or orange peel (zest - the outer, colored part of the citrus peel), lemon juice and similar.
When rubbing the tiles with citrus zest, wait for minute or two, and after a short drying time, tiles can be cleaned with plain water, leaving the gentle citrus fragrance and clean tiles.
Cleaning the Natural Stone Tiles – Marble, Onyx, Travertine, Granite
Unlike, ceramic tiles, natural stone tiles require special care.
Stone tiles have very hard surface, but such surface is sensitive to acidic tile cleaners. So, never, but really never clean marble, onyx, travertine, granite and other natural stone surfaces with vinegar, lemon juice or other similar liquids.
When food or drinks are spilled on the stone tiles, clean the mess as soon as possible – preferably right away. Acids and alcohol can etch and make a surface look dull and old.
To avoid scratches, regularly vacuum the stone floor tiles to remove sand and similar dirt, which can cause the damage to the floors.
Stone tiles and surfaces in general can be cleaned using plain water and a mop or microfiber cloth. To remove stubborn stains, use stone soap or some similar stone cleaner (note: cleaning agent must be declared safe for natural stone surfaces!). In most situations, using plain water and mop, after vacuuming, is more than enough.
Don’t ever rub or wipe tiles with a rough or even metal brush or sponge, because such cleaning methods will damage the surface.
Cleaning the Tile Joints – Grout and Caulk
Tile joints are not so easy to clean – dirt, limestone, mold and other nasty stuff accumulate over time and make walls and floors look dirty, even after cleaning.
Tile joints can be done using grout or caulk. Grout can be cement grout (made using a cementitious powder mix) or epoxy grout (made using epoxy resins and a filler powders), while caulks can be acrylic, silicone, urethane, or multi-polymer based.
All these joints ‘age’ at different rates and change their color over time. Nonetheless, when considering tile joints cleaning, in most cases, it is cement grout that has to be cleaned.
Wall and floor tiles are often cleaned using steam mops – steam disinfect the surface, while wet and hot mop cloth remove the dirt from the tiles and tile joints.
Hot steam penetrates the tile joints and help remove dirt, limescale and mold from narrow places. Depending on the amount of dirt, microfiber cloth can cover rather large area before it must be replaced by a new one.
Using commercial products for enhanced cleaning is not required, but can help. Heavy soiled floors should be vacuumed first.
Clean Tile Grout With Baking Soda
Keeping the tiles and tile joints moist free, prevents mold buildup. If the mold has set in the joints, the preventive measures don’t help any longer. In that case, the best, but not the easiest thigh to do, is to clean each joint manually.
To clean the grout with baking soda, mix it with water to form a paste. Such paste is rubbed into the grout and left there for an hour or so, after which it is cleaned with plenty of water and clean cloth. Be sure to dry tiles and tile joints.
There are chemicals that can be used for cleaning tiles and tile joints and such products often do the job faster, however, it is very important to read the instructions and to keep area well ventilated.
Note: it is possible to clean tile grout with nail polish remover using cotton pads, for example, but such strong chemical can damage certain types of tile joints.
Anyway, before using any new cleaning product or method, make sure to test it on a small, hidden area first. Better safe than sorry.