Tile floors are best for use in the kitchen, patio and other areas of the house in need of simple low-maintenance surfaces. However, you can also use ceramic tile as a flooring on other rooms of the house, as there are ceramic tiles that can mimic the look of wood, granite, or other surfaces.
Tile floors tend to get dirty with extensive use, though, particularly in the joints, which are often connected with grout. Cleaning a tile floor regularly is a good practice, not only to ensure the presentable appearance of your tile floor, but also to ensure sanitation.
- Sweeping. First you will need to remove all dust and debris from the floor, since any dust accumulated might be abrasive when you clean the floor with cleaning solution. You can either sweep it or use a vacuum cleaner to take out all the dust.
- Dust mop. Remove any remaining dust with a dust mop. Just plain water will do, although you can already use disinfectant solution to help kill off germs from the floor. Give the floor a few passes, to ensure a clean surface. Then, leave the floor to air-dry.
- Scrubbing. Next, fill a bucket with warm water and ammonia. A quarter cup of ammonia every five gallons of water is an ideal proportion. Brush the solution onto the joints of the tiles to clean the grout. Grout has a nice appearance when clean and new. After time, though, dirt can accumulate and grout will appear black. In worst case scenarios, the grout might even be infested with mold and mildew.
- Mopping. Use the same solution to mop the entire floor area. For stubborn spots, use a soft cloth with the same ammonia solution to spot-clean.
- Chlorine bleach. If the grout still appears black or dark after scrubbing and mopping, you will need to use a stronger solution. You can try chlorine bleach. Mix a cup of liquid bleach, a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and two gallons of hot water. Mop the floor with the solution, paying particular focus to problem spots. You can use your brush to scrub areas that are particularly dirty, such as in-between tiles and areas in your kitchen near the sink and stove. When using bleach, be careful not to let the solution touch any carpeting or upholstery. You should also test the solution on an inconspicuous area, such as under tables and counters, or corners.
- Professional cleaning. When you can’t get rid of the black color in your grout, you may already need professional cleaning services for your tiles. Most carpet cleaning companies will offer tile cleaning. They will usually apply special chemicals to your tile grout, and add sealant, so that the grout will appear bright and clean longer.
For maintenance, it’s always a good idea to clean your floor regularly. Even daily sweeping and mopping goes a long way. As an extra measure of cleanliness, you can implement a no-shoes policy in your household. Ask everyone to leave their shoes in the coat cabinet or outside, especially during rainy and snowy weather, so that they don’t track mud and dirt indoors.