Tile flooring is known for being one of the most affordable and durable hard flooring options in New Zealand. Tiles are well suited to almost all areas of the home, including both indoor and outdoor living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.
One of the most popular attributes of tiles is that they are a low-maintenance, easy-care flooring solution. However, keeping your tiles looking as good as new does require a little bit of care and attention from time to time. Understanding what maintenance and care is needed can help determine which type of tiles you choose to install in your home and also give you an idea about the best ways to care for your tiles to help maintain their appearance and durability over time.
Type of Tiles
How you clean your tiles will often differ slightly depending on their type – in New Zealand, there are five main types of tiles widely used in construction.
How Do You Clean And Maintain Tiles?
Dust and dirt tracked across a tile floor can cause staining and wear and tear to the surface of the tiles, removing this residue on a regular basis reduces the wear to the finished surface. There are a few quick steps to cleaning and maintaining your tiles below that will help get you on track.
Step 1 Vacuum Or Sweep
Vacuuming or sweeping a tile floor regularly is the best way to prevent dirt, debris and dust from gradually adhering to the surface of the tile through daily use. Tiles with a textured surface will require extra attention to reduce the build-up of dirt and dust in the tiny crevices.
When vacuuming your tiles, always ensure you have the hard floor setting in place to avoid scratching the surface of your tiles. Using entry mats can be a great way to minimise dirt being tracked in on people’s feet - just remember to give these a quick vacuum too!
Step 2 Mop It
After vacuuming or sweeping up the dirt, giving your tiles a quick mop with hot water and a mild non-abrasive cleaner will ensure you have collected and removed as much dust and dirt as possible, leaving your tiles hygienically clean and fresh. Attempt to use as little water as possible when mopping, too much water can damage your floors.
When mopping, there are two key factors to ensure a good result, firstly, it’s important to use hot water and soap and change it out frequently. Mopping the floor using dirty water is only going to spread the dirt around. Secondly, you should also regularly clean your mop or mop heads for the most hygienic mopping experience.
Step 3 Dry It Off
Wet tiles can become slippery or leave water marks and residue, for best results, wipe tiled areas dry with an absorbent cloth such as a towel after mopping. This removes any remaining dampness and cleaning product residue leaving your tiles fresh, streak-free and dry.
The Deep Clean
Keeping your tiles and grout in tip-top condition means giving them a deep clean around once a month. For this purpose, mix water with tile and grout cleaner per the manufacturer’s instructions and apply to the tile surface. For best results, leave to sit for roughly five minutes, scrub lightly with a soft brush or sponge, then thoroughly rinse clean and wipe dry.
For heavier soiling or spills, always spot-clean the floor with a clean sponge or cloth using the manufacturer-recommended tile and grout cleaners. Leaving spills and larger food particles for long periods of time can result in permanent staining. Heavily textured tiles may require a bit of extra effort at times, a soft scrubbing brush is ideal, or use a toothbrush if cleaning grout channels.
What Is The Best Thing To Clean Tiles With?
Generally speaking, it is important to care for your tiled surfaces with specialist tile products. Generic off-the-shelf cleaners often purchased at supermarkets and the like can leave unwanted residue on tiles, make your floor surfaces slippery and be too acidic, leading to permanent damage to the grout and tile surface over time.
Which brand of tile cleaner should you use? Sticking with supplier or manufacturer-recommended grout and tile cleaners is always advisable. Always take note of the cleaning product’s instructions to make sure the product is compatible with your type of tile.
Keep in mind removing soap scum, hard water deposits, black mould and mildew stains may require more heavy-duty cleaning products, while areas with minimal dirt and grime or where there is soft water may only require an all-purpose cleaner.
To avoid permanent damage to your tiles when choosing your cleaning products avoid using anything that may contain methylated spirits, bleach, chlorine or corrosives. It also pays to limit the use of wax or acrylate-based products as they promote a build-up of layers on the tile surface that may attract dust, dirt and bacteria, making them more difficult to remove.
Always test all tile cleaning products on an inconspicuous area before use; if desired results are not achieved, it can be helpful to repeat the application.
Cleaning Shower Tiles
Wet areas such as showers will have more specific cleaning needs as they are regularly subjected to moisture, body oils, soaps, and higher amounts of dirt. Shower and wet area tiles will require specific cleaners best recommended by your tile supplier or manufacturer.
If mould is developing in the grout lines, it might be time to clean and reseal the grout. If mould is developing in the silicone lines around the edges of the shower, then the silicon must be removed to correct this properly. Remove the silicone, clean the tiles and grout lines, reseal the grout lines and re-install the silicon.
5 Tile Floor Care Essentials
While understanding the basics of cleaning tiles is essential to their upkeep and longevity, the tools that you use to carry out your cleaning strategies are equally as important. Below are some essential tools you will need to keep your tile floors looking their very best.
What Not To Do When Cleaning Tiles
When caring for your tiles, there are a few basics to keep in mind, take a look below at our tips on what not to do with your tiles.