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Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

I work at a gas station with ceramic tile floors. I've changed mop water a dozen times, remopped with fresh water and both methods end with streaky floors. I've viewed similar questions, but most responses would take me all night to attempt. Any ideas for a larger area?

By Jennifer from Waupaca, WI

Recent Answers

By Kelvin Magee11/03/2012

I own a carpet and tile cleaning business. Biggest issue I see is people using vinegar and bleach and over time it will destroy the tile and grout as both are acid based. I can usually restore the tile and grout with the equipment I have but in some cases the grout will have to be color sealed to hide the discoloration.

My advice stay away from "ANY" home cleaners. Use products made for cleaning tile and grout. Follow the directions. When it comes to maintaining the tile use a neutral cleaner with ph of 7-7.5. You want the cleaner to be as close to a ph 7(water) as possible. Keep mop water and mop heads clean. Steam tools as well. Vacuum grout lines. Don't sweep (avoid sweeping dirt in the grout). If you are still having problems getting your tile/grout cleaned call a professional, IICRC Certified preferred

What does bleach and vinegar do to tile and grout?

Bleach is an acidic product that should not be used to clean ceramic tile floors. Bleach will break down the grout and also cause the colored cements in the grout to wear away. Bleach will literally bleach away the color in the grout. Eventually the grout will start to loose its deep rich colors and also cause your grout to look splotchy. I see many of these cases.

Vinegar is an acidic product that was never meant to be used to clean ceramic tile and grout. Prolonged use of vinegar will eat away at the grout and cause the grout to break down. Additionally vinegar is difficult to totally rinse away after using it to clean ceramic tile floors. A vinegar residue will start to accumulate inside of the grout that is extremely difficult to remove.

By erin [1]06/10/2010

I've been told that a vinegar or like a window cleaner.
I'm not sure it will help but good luck.

By Louise B. [4]06/10/2010

When I was in Morocco, I saw the maids in the hotel cleaning the ceramic tile floors with water (either just water or water with a small amount of soap) and a squeegee. No mopping. She squeegeed the water into the open courtyard and onto the dirt, so no mopping at all. Now, I don't know if this would work in your situation, but it is something to consider. I didn't see what they did in the rooms where they would eventually have had to mop up the water. These tiles were all glazed floor tiles, white/beige with a blue/pink design and pale grey grout. The squeegee was obviously made for floors. I believe I have seen them in auto supply stores for cleaning shops over here. Maybe you should not be mopping the floor at all.

By Sandi [6]06/10/2010

I would think cleaning a tile floor in a gas station is a work in progress. You never see the end results the way you would like. Consider how many people track in, and in all kinds of weather! Do you have good floor mats placed to collect much of this dirt? How about a janitorial supply store? Maybe they would have an answer to your cleaning problems?

As for my ceramic tile i have found the best thing to clean my floor is a steam mop. You never use chemicals, or detergents. Just make sure the floor is clean of dirt. Keep the micro pad clean after each use. Follow the instructions per each maker's product. Before i went through the vinegar and water which made my house smell like a wet dog? Any of the cleaners made for tile just left it streaky. I was never satisfied with the way they looked. Good luck to you!

By melody_yesterday [213]06/09/2010

I was a carhop back in the 70's & one of my chores if I closed that night was floors.
We used a product called :
Basic H, I believe it is/was a Shakley product. One drop.
Also good for nails hair & skin
I had a small bottle given to me & dosed my bathwater sometimes with it.
"makes water wet"

By metroplex [81]06/07/2010

the man who installed our tile floors said just use water; right. you know what happened when we used that suggestion.

The tile guy at the hardware store said vinegar and water, but no matter how much I cleaned, my floors came up gray when I wiped something up.

I had a cleaning lady who used a bucket full of water and just 2-3 sprays of Clorox in the spray bottle. I don't know if they make it anymore. However when I used it my floor came up gray again.

I've tried so many things and sent away for so many things and nothing worked. But Lately i've been using Mop N Glow - bought at grocery stores, walmart, kmart, target, etc.

It has to be rinsed though; you can just mop and go with it. but it smells great and doesn't look streaky.
a pain, pain and a pain to keep rinsing though.

Good luck!

By Myrna [13]06/06/2010

I would get a new mophead, scrub the pail with ammonia to remove buildup of oils, etc., then mop with ammonia to remove film on tiles. You need to change the water frequently and then once floors are really clean, you can rinse with a clean mophead.

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Archive: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

What is the best way to clean ceramic tile floors?

PJ from Lexington, KY


RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

The man who installed our ceramic tile floors told us to avoid harsh chemicals. I clean our floor with plain water and a scrubbie sponge, using elbow grease to remove dried-on food and dirt. The most important thing is, once you've gotten the floor clean, use a ceramic tile and grout sealer so that any future spills won't seep into your grout and stain your floor. The grout sealer needs to be reapplied once a year. You can get this sealer at your local hardware store or home improvement warehouse. (10/20/2006)

By ShellR

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

If you are just household cleaning, I'd use a small amount of Dish detergent, 1/4th tsp Lestiol, to one gallon HOT water, rinsing in HOT water several times with a CLEAN mop, then DRYING WITH A LARGE RAG-COVERED DUST MOP, LIKE SWIFFER. Everything has to be kept clean or you will have streaks. I've used straight "homemade" Windex with great results as well, and a whole roll of paper towels back when I had the money and not as concerned about the enviornment/economy.

After any illnesses I've opened the windows and used 1/4 C. Bleach per gallon of hot water for the best sanitization to reduce/eliminate recontamination.

The secret to whatever one does seems to be in the rinsing and drying afterwards.

If you are talking about a more serious tile problem: Two different ceramic tile floors, by two different installers, have "effervesced" in the grout, causing a white residue to spew up and discolor the taupe grout, in both cases.

Since we didn't have the Internet back then, and have replaced the flooring, I suspect that it might have come from my wet mopping and/or watering leaking from large pot plants draining over their bottom trays, BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO OUR BRICK FIREPLACE TWICE AS WELL, THE ONLY FIX BEING REPLACEMENT OF THE BRICKS!!

However, some clays, so I read, effervesce (sp?) more than others, which seems to come with cheaper ceramic/clay tiles?This is NOT dirty, only a mineral seepage from the elements used for the floor. It's a losing battle to try to prevent/clean that. I tried everything.

Regardless, I suggest that you ask specifically for a grout sealer and apply it WELL, although I cannot for the life of me see how it could truly seal if not applied to the tops of each adjacent tile, too.

Good luck and God bless your doing your homework.: ) (10/21/2006)

By Lynda

Archive: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

I read a tip about this a few days ago about cleaning ceramic floors, but darned if I can remember or find it now.

Mary from Toronto, Ontario, Canada


RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

I use two great tools:

1. A steamer--the kind you use to clean kitchens and baths.

2. My husband--you don't really expect me to do this, do you?

Now I am silly enough to have picked yellow grout for my kitchen. It matches the cheery decor. The best sealant for grout I have found is a Crayola crayon. There are lots of colors to choose from. At the Crayola website, you may order a whole box of just one color.

Crayola is a universal color standard. (02/28/2007)

By the Oracle

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

My husband is a tile setter, he recommends Murphy's oil soap or sassafrass oil. He also says never wax ceramic tile. (03/02/2007)

By Helen

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

Sorry, Helen, tell your DH I use crayons only on colored grout, not on the tile. Besides, if I do get wax on a tile, either the steamer or a hair dryer will warm it in to submission.

I forgot to mention, my DH mops up dirt after steaming with a polyester mop. I prefer them to Swifter, because they're much thriftier, and you are recycling them with your laundry cycle. (03/05/2007)

By the Oracle

Archive: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

My kitchen and family room have very glossy ceramic tile flooring. I cannot find any type of cleaner that does not leave water spots and streaks. Help!

By Patd818 from Chicago, IL


RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

If the grout is properly sealed, then lightly spraying an area with Watkins Citrus Cleaner and damp-mopping it with an old fashioned string mop works fine. Clean, no streaks, and quite agreeable smell. Other citrus cleaners may work too.

Have FUN!
DearWebby
http://webby.com/humor (04/10/2009)

By DearWebby

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

I use cornstarch in my warm water, it does wonderfully well! Mop and wipe dry. I dry mine so as not to get lime deposit build up. (04/13/2009)

By Kdot

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

I use Windex. It works great, cleans great and dries streak free. Use the real Windex. I tried using a less expensive brand and it left a sticky residue. Good luck. (04/14/2009)

By debit4857

RE: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

Swiffer wet cloths do wonders. Also, I have used hot water with a small amount of dish detergent and a couple of drops of baby oil. (04/21/2009)

By Noella

Archive: Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

After five years, when we clean our ceramic tile floor using a little vinegar it seems okay. If we use plain water the rooms give off a horrible odor which lasts for hours. Why?

By samual0729 from Boca Raton, FL

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