Tile floors are a lovely flooring style option for any home. It seems that there are so many styles to choose from these days. From ceramic tiles that resemble wood flooring to tiles with ultra-modern patterns and colors, the options are endless. Many homeowners choose tiling over carpeting and other surface covers, simply because this option looks nice and generally is quite easy to clean. However, when you’re faced with nasty grout stains between your tiles, your beautiful floors can start to look overall pretty dull and dirty. So what can you do to keep them clean and shining their brightest? Well, stay tuned because we have some tips and tricks in store for you!
How to clean tile floors – The basics
First and foremost, it’s great practice to get into the habit of sweeping or vacuuming your floors at least once a week followed by a light mopping. If you’re like me and have pets, sometimes you might find that you’re vacuuming twice per week to keep up with the tumbleweeds of fur that collect in the hallways and in the corners of every room. If you can vacuum twice a week, all the power to you! The more you’re able to, the more life and beauty you’ll get out of your floors. It’s especially important to get those high traffic areas around doors and hallways since this is where most dirt and debris enters and gets tracked through your home.
When mopping your floors, it’s best to use a cloth mop or chamois mop. A chamois mop has wide strips of super absorbent synthetic fibrous cloth which helps to lift any residual grime and dust without scratching your floor surfaces. Choosing a cloth mop over a sponge mop will save you from further grout stains and from damaging your floor surfaces. Sponge mops are known for pushing debris into the grout lines which will, in turn, soil the grout further and quite frankly, the just don’t seem to have the same type of lift action that a cloth mop can offer. Not to mention, cloth mops are so much easier to clean. If you find yourself a good detachable mop head, you can throw it in your washing machine with some mild detergent so that it’s ready to go for its next use.
As for the type of solution you use for your floors, you may choose a mild commercially prepared detergent, but why not try a solution that can be easily made at home with some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in your cupboards? Go ahead, try it!
Simple floor cleaning solution:
- 2-3 drops liquid dish detergent
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup baking powder
- 2 gallons hot water
Some solution mixes call for a full tablespoon of dish detergent. However, I find the ratio to be a little too soapy to the point where you may have to go back over the floors to collect the residual soap. And no one wants to mop twice, right?! Of course, you can play around with the ratios of dish detergent in your homemade solution to find what suits you best but start with the recommended 2-3 drops. If you fancy a citrusy spin on your cleaning solution, you may try adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to the mix for a wonderfully clean crisp smell.
Make sure to change out your solution as often as you need in order to avoid moving soiled water around. When you start to see hazy streaks, it’s time for a new bucket of solution.
Conquering grout stains
Often times, a simple weekly vacuuming and mopping will keep your tile floors and grouting looking spick and span but for those tough grout stains, we’ve got more tips in store!
Naturally, grout lines between your tiles are lower lying than the actual tiles themselves, so it’s no surprise that dust, debris, and liquids will collect there. If left to rest for too long, you’ll start to see those stains settling in at home in your grout making it difficult to lift with a simple mopping. So what can you do to get rid of those pesky stains?
Try a simple homemade paste using:
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- ½ cup baking soda
Mix the ingredients well in a container and apply with a toothbrush. A word of warning though: do not use a wire or metal brush for this application as it will scratch and damage your grouting.
Leave the paste for at least 10 minutes and keep working your way down your grout lines. You may choose to leave the paste longer, which is perfectly fine. If you don’t have kids or animals running around, or if you’re able to block off the section of flooring, you may even choose to leave the paste overnight to lift deep stains like coffee, red wine, or grease.
Once the paste has been left to set for the allotted period of time, fill a bucket with warm water and wipe down your grout with the damp cloth. After all the paste has been lifted, run the mop over your floors with the simple floor cleaning solution mentioned earlier. You should begin to see an immediate difference. If you find you still have a couple of miserable stains that did not come out after the initial cleaning treatment, you may use some of these handy spot cleaning methods to treat these problem areas:
Spot treatment for troublesome stains
Coffee and red wine: I recommend using a cloth to blot hydrogen peroxide on the troublesome stain. Of course, the quicker you can get to a stain before it sets the better, but I understand life happens! This solution will work even if left to soak into the stain. Once the stain has been removed, lift the cloth and rinse the floor surface.
Grease: For gruesome grease stains, I recommend using a mix of club soda and water. Dab the mixture on top of the grease stain and let soak if needed. The club soda will act as the lifting agent as the water washed it away.
Ink: It happens, sometimes you’re having a creative moment and bam, your pen explodes… All over the floor! Fret not; it can be cleaned by using a diluted solution of equal parts bleach and warm water. Soak a cloth in the solution and lay it over the inked area of tile and grout. Allow the solution to soak in lifting the cloth only to check after an hour or so. Once the stain is gone, remove cloth and rinse your floor surface.
While keeping on top of the basic cleaning will give your tile floors the shine they deserve, over time it will be essential to apply a silicone-based grout sealant to ensure the longevity of your floors. After a thorough cleaning, apply a sealant to protect from any further scratching and deep staining of your grout. This will keep your floors looking overall cleaner, for much longer. I certainly hope these tips and tricks on how to clean tile floors have been helpful to you and wish you a very happy cleaning experience!