How to Clean Tile
Q. What do I use to clean tile?
A. You can make your own cleaner using environmentally friendly materials that is safe and cheap. Materials needed are 1/4 C white vinegar, 2 tsp. Borax, 3.5 cups hot water, 20 drops of essential oil (lavender or lemon work well), and 1/4 C liquid dish soap. In a 32 oz. spare bottle, mix vinegar, Borax and water thoroughly. Add essential oil as desired. Finally, add the dish soap.
Once mixed, spray the cleaner onto your tiles, stone or laminate surface. Use a paper towel or wash cloth to wipe clean. Sponges and soft brushes are also very effective to clean tiles.
The glossy surface on tiles called glaze is a glass surface. Using abrasive tools will scratch the glazed surface of tiles and allow germs to collect and can turn to mold. Regular cleaning of your tile surfaces is recommended.
For kitchens, spray any food that is hardened on the surface and let soak for a minute, then wipe clean. For a shower or bath, spray the surface after bathing then let soak for a couple minutes before you wipe it clean with a cloth or squeegee.
Q. How do I clean unglazed porcelain floors?
A. The following method of cleaning is good for new floors as well as old floors that need to be stripped to their original condition.
Unglazed porcelain floors are impervious. They do not absorb spills and stains, but the surface does have microscopic pores that make the floor feel rough and which can catch dirt as well as construction traffic debris.
Using a paste of dishwashing powder (Cascade™ detergent is preferred) and fine construction sand (for abrasion), scrub the floor aggressively using a coarse Scotch-Brite™ pad. This is for mechanical cleaning; it will not scratch unglazed porcelain or harm the grout. If the area is large enough, a floor machine with a coarse pad can be used.
The floor will require lots of rinsing to remove the detergent and the cleaning residue. Flooding the floor and then removing the water with a wet-dry vacuum is a good method.
Q. How do I quick-start a patina on a new floor or on a deep-cleaned old floor?
A. Old floors have a patina that has built up over years from floor maintenance. The patina has filled the microscopic surface pores of the porcelain. This gives the floors a slight sheen and makes them easier to maintain. Any floor detergent is good for regular mopping of an unglazed floor.
Before you start the patina process, clean the floor following the instructions above. After the floor is dry, apply several coats of an acrylic stone sealer. These sealers are available in a full range of finishes, from matte to gloss. The look of a natural patina tends more toward the semi-gloss finish.
Q. How do I maintain an old porcelain floor patina?
A. To maintain your floor’s patina, rinse it with approximately 1 Cup acrylic stone sealer mixed into 3 Gallons of water. This restores any wear that has occurred on the sealer and also helps build a patina without waiting 40 years.