Tips for Cleaning Tile & Grout

“Get the tile,” they said, “it’s water resistant and easy to clean.” But there you are, standing looking at grungy tiles and grout after the shine and luster has worn off from every day use and exposure to dirt on the floor, soap scum in the shower and cooking grease in your kitchen! Don’t worry – we can help guide you with tips on how to restore the original beauty of your tile and how to clean grout so you can reclaim the space(s)!

Best Way to Clean Tile Floors

The first thing you want to remember when looking for the best way to clean your ceramic or porcelain tile floors is that routine care and maintenance is important. This includes sweeping or vacuuming regularly to remove dirt and debris before it has a chance to get embedded in the tile or grout. Here are some additional tips and tricks to making your tile floor look new forever:

  • When sweeping, it is important to not use a straw broom as it will scratch the surface of the tiles
  • Mop the floor with warm water at a minimum of once per week and be sure to dry it right afterwards to avoid any new dirt from quickly setting into wet areas and becoming hard-to-remove later
  • Wipe up spills, including water, immediately using absorbent clothes
  • Use a door mat both outside and inside your home to eliminate the tracking of dirt and water on the floors (especially during rainy spring days or snowy winter days)
  • When deep cleaning your tile floors it is recommended that you check with the manufacturer for the best cleaning solution for the product so you don’t risk damaging the tiles.
  • Use a rag or chamois type mop instead of a sponge mop when cleaning your floors; Sponge mops tend to push dirty water into the grout lines and could make them harder to clean

How to Clean Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

Backsplash designs have definitely evolved over the years but their function remains the same – to protect your wall and make it easier to clean up splatters from the stove. Those stove splatters can build up overtime and make your once desired focal point a conversation starter, and not in the good way! It is important to note that different kinds of backsplashes require different cleaning techniques (based on the material; i.e. ceramic, glass, stone) and it is always advised that you check with the manufacturer for the right cleaners to use this way you don’t damage the material in anyway. Here are a few additional things to consider when cleaning your tile backsplash:

  • You should always blot away grease or food splatters as soon as it happens (when possible); the longer those splatters and stains sit, the harder they will be to remove later
  • Remember that cleaning the backsplash regularly is required; it can be done with some warm water to help soften the grime followed by a quick wipe down of the area with a sponge soaked in soapy warm water
  • Deep Cleaning: Sometimes you may need to enlist the help of a chemical solution to clean the area and you should be certain to make sure as per the manufacturer, that the solution is safe for the tile and grout and for your family:
    • When you have selected your cleaning solution you should typically let it sit on the backsplash for 5-15 minutes depending on the amount of grease on the surfaceOnce the solution has settled, you will want to use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to clean the area you applied the solution
    • When you are finished cleaning (day to day or even deep cleaning), it is recommended that you dry the area to avoid any water streaks or mildew from potentially growing

How to Clean Shower Tiles

If you really think about how many times your shower gets used in one week, or a month, or even a year, it will be obvious to you why it takes so much work to keep the tile and grout sparkling! So between the everyday use, the naturally damp environment that aids in the growth of mildew and even your water supply, your bathroom tile could become one of the most unsightly items in your house, if you don’t take the time to care for it properly. Here are a few tips to maintaining the beauty of your spa-like retreat:

  • To minimize mold, mildew and the build-up of germs you should try to leave the shower as dry as possible when you are finished by:
    • Squeegeeing the water off the walls, floor and door or wiping the areas with a towel to remove any leftover condensation
    • Leaving a bathroom window open for an hour or so or running your vent van to help reduce the humidity
    • Leaving the shower curtain ajar to disperse the humidity
  • You may be adding to your shower tile problems without realizing it – by taking a look at the products you use in the shower (like soaps and shampoo’s):
    • A bar of soap can leave behind soap scum on the soap dish – by switching to a liquid body wash or gel you can eliminate the risk
    • If you notice that light tiles or grout is turning colors – it could be the result of dyes from your shampoo or conditioner
    • Where you store your bath products in the shower can aid in the growth of mildew too. Water can collect under the bottles if they are stored on a solid bottom shelf. A better idea would be to use a shower caddy with slats so excess water can run off
  • “Spot Cleaning” with a shower spray solution that is safe for your family and for your type of tile as per the manufacturers recommendations just a few times a week will help reduce the buildup of mold and mildew

The Best Way to Clean Tile Grout

Grout. Nothing about it sounds appealing – but the function that grout serves is undeniable. Grout is used to lock the tiles tight, keep water out, and provide a finished look to your new tiled surface. It is, however, a porous (and pain in the butt) substance that easily absorbs dirt, dust and grease and harbors bacteria and microorganisms. And because of all its really great porous properties – grout is prone to staining, soiling, and mold growth.

Ok, so on to the positive part of this grout talk!  Did you know that sealing the grout will help protect it from all these unsightly things? Make sure you talk with your contractor about a sealer that is recommended for your particular tile application. And, keep in mind, that you will have to re-seal the application in a few years and should consider this basic maintenance for the overall health of the project. Here is the best way to clean grout:

  • Apply hot water to remove any surface dirt and grime before you spray on your (approved) cleaning solution
  • Let the cleaning solution sit on the surface for about 5 or more minutes (depending on the level of grime)
  • Once you feel that the cleaning solution has had time to work its magic you can start cleaning the grout with a soft brush (like a tooth brush) – it is important to note that you should never use a metal brush or anything harsh as it will scratch the tile and potentially break the grout
  • Rinse with hot water and enjoy the sparkle!

Remember, knowing how to clean dirty grout improves the look and extends the life of your tile. It’s a win-win!

Finding the Right Cleaning Solution for Your Tile Grout

As we mentioned before, it is important to check with the manufacturer of your tile or your local retailer on the best products for the job. At Avalon, we carry OceanCare Products which are known for their ease of use, environmental friendliness and overall effectiveness. OceanCare offers a variety of solutions for any job – check it out below:

At Avalon Flooring, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we’ll be there every step along the way. Consider us your “One-Stop Shopping” destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!

Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

If you have any questions, please email us.