The topic of how to clean your ceramic tile is quite often misunderstood by the homeowner consumer. Let’s clear things up a bit. Firstly, we can chat about a few loose definitions. Ceramic tile, for purposes of this post, will be considered to be a fired clay product that has a glaze over the face of the material. We want to emphasize that this is an easy layman’s approach and obviously not an overly technical definition. The Tile Council of North America can provide a much deeper dive if that is your wish.
Now back to the cleaning aspects. We brought up the glaze because glaze, while not being completely impervious to all potential staining agents, is relatively resistant to most. Therefore, most of the homeowners I have met tend to want to overthink the cleaning exercise. Here are few easy steps.
-1. Wipe the surface of the tile with a clean plain wet cloth or, in the case of a large floor area, a clean wet mop. Take care to keep your mop water clean in the latter case. This will remove all the “easy stuff”.
-2. Now let’s go old school and mix about a gallon of warm water with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of typical plain white vinegar. Clean the tile surface with a bit of elbow grease and you should be just about “home”.
-3. Another decidedly old school method is to use a “retired” toothbrush to remove any residual offensive elements. Typically, you may have some “gunky stuff” adhered or stuck to the surface that the toothbrush with take care of. In a more commercial setting, or a larger residential space, a mild 3M pad will yield good results.
-4. A putty knife is also a handy tool if you have to go to the next level. Imagine something like nasty chewing gum firmly stuck to your ceramic tile. Take your putty knife, and with the tool at a very shallow angle work the edge of the tool under the gum and free as much as possible. When most of it is loose, you can then go back to the toothbrush and close the deal.
There are other methods to clean your ceramic tile that involve greater complexity of both chemicals and effort. This is a nice start however. By the way, check out this post: Delft Dutch Tile. Then, next week we will discuss cleaning your grout.