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How to Properly Care for Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is one of the most durable and low-maintenance flooring options available. Even so, proper care and maintenance keep any tile floors looking their best.

7 Steps to Keep Your Tile Floors Looking Fabulous

The following seven steps will keep your tile floors looking their best while also extending their lifespan.

1. Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

How many booklets and stacks of manufacturer’s instructions wind up in the garbage each year? Our guess: Most of them.

Contrary to popular belief, those booklets and pamphlets were created to ensure you have all the information required to keep your home’s fixtures and finishes in great shape for years and decades.

Tile flooring is indeed known for its low-maintenance attributes, but depending on whether tiles are porcelain or ceramic and the degree of texture, manufacturers may have a list of their own dos and don’ts. As your flooring designer and installer, we’ll also ensure you know what to do – and not do – for beautiful, durable floors.

2. Sweep or Dust Mop Regularly

We recommend keeping a broom, dustpan, or dust mop handy for everyday cleaning. A quick go around with a broom or dust mop will do a great job of keeping the more visible, dry debris off the floor’s surface.

Ideally, tile floors would be swept, dust mopped, or vacuumed (with a hard-surface floor-specific attachment) daily. While tiles can hold up to stains, a coating of fine dust, lint, pet hair, and other particulate matter dulls the surface.

3. Seal the Grout, Not the Tiles!

If your used to natural stone floors that need to be sealed, resist the urge to do the same for your natural stone-looking porcelain or ceramic tiles. More is not better in this case. Sealing with the idea of adding “extra protection” creates a dull coating that will attract and hold more floor dirt and grime and requires removal.

However, we do recommend sealing tile grout with any grout sealer recommended by the grout manufacturer or your flooring experts. This protects grout (which is porous) from staining or becoming a petri dish for bacteria and mold. Grout in high-traffic areas should be sealed every six to 12 months, while low-traffic areas only need sealing every year to two years.

4. Use a Rag or Chamois-type Mop

Sponge mops are convenient, but they tend to push dirty water into grout lines, creating a build-up of grime and discoloration. The rag and chamois-type mops clean up the mess and dry quickly without getting slimy or developing a dirt/goo build-up over time.

5. Try to Mop Tile Floors Once a Week

Floors look their best when they’re mopped once a week. Always sweep or vacuum thoroughly before mopping floors to minimize the amount of larger debris that can mix with water and become deposited elsewhere and stuck to the floors around edges or in the grout when the water dries.

Unless there’s a particularly sticky spill to clean, soak the mop in warm water mixed with a PH neutral cleaner or a low-VOC, non-abrasive, all-purpose floor cleaner. Wring it out until it’s damp – not dripping – and then make a few passes across the floor. Rinse, wring out, and repeat.

Sometimes, people use too much soap in their mop water, which can leave a dull film. If you notice a hazy or filmy look after the tiles dry, odds are you used too much soap. Do another run with hot/warm water mixed with a bit of vinegar (no soap), and that should do the trick.

6. Clean Up Spills or Messes ASAP

While your tiles are stain-resistant, it’s still best to clean up spills or messes as soon as they occur – or you notice them. The longer they sit on the tile surface, the drier they become, and this makes them harder to clean up.

7. Use Area Rugs in High-Traffic or Messy Areas

Yes, tile floors can take a beating, but sometimes a colorful or patterned area rug is exactly what’s needed to hide some daily evidence in the high-traffic areas. This can extend the length of time between regular sweeping and mopping. Plus, area rugs do a great job of softening the surface for bare feet, absorb sound as well as adding visual interest.

Think about adding non-slip area rugs to:

  • Entryway
  • Hallways
  • Underneath the living/family room coffee table

If you have a family with young(ish) children, think about your greatest needs now and in the immediate future. If it’s the easy cleanup of spills, skip the area rugs in those spaces (or use stylish indoor/outdoor rugs that are easy to clean). However, if you’re the most likely to see dirt/outdoor debris on the tiles, area rugs can be an attractive “cover.”

Creative Floors Is Here to Help You Clean Tile Flooring

While we aren’t going to come over and clean them for you, the team at Creative Floors is 100% dedicated to helping you choose the best tile products for your lifestyle, design tastes, and maintenance preferences.

We’ll make sure you have all of the information you need to clean and maintain gorgeous tile floors year-round and for the lifetime of your home. Contact us to schedule your flooring design consultation.