Tiles are one of the easiest surfaces to clean, and will look great for years to come as long as they are cleaned properly and regularly. Different tiles require different levels of care and some tiles will need more than a quick clean to keep them in top shape. No matter what type of tiles you have, this quick guide will help you to keep your bathrooms clean, hygienic and in top condition.
General cleaning guidelines
The most important thing to keep in mind when caring for your bathroom tiles is frequency. Ignoring routine care is the easiest way to age your bathroom and make it unhygienic for people at your home. Ideally, tiles should be cleaned once or twice a week depending on how much the bathroom is used and by how many people. For example, a family bathroom might need to be cleaned more often, whereas bathrooms that aren’t in use can be cleaned as little as once a month.
It is always easier to clean your bathroom tiles when the bathroom is warm and steamy. Clean your tiles after a hot shower, or run the shower on hot for a few moments before beginning you cleaning routine. This will help to loosen any stains, especially on the grout in your bathroom.
If you prefer to work with a natural solution rather than more chemical-based products available at the shops, then a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar dissolved in hot water will do the trick. However, take some time to read the instructions for each of the different types of tiles to ensure you are following best practice.
Cleaning ceramic and glass tiles
Ceramic tiles are often the easiest to clean. As long as they are glazed, then your tiles will not need any special treatments. If you choose a commercial cleaner, all you need to do is check that it is suitable for the grout between your tiles.
Maintenance should be as simple as applying this cleaner with a scratch-resistant cloth, sponge or mop. This should be rinsed away with water, being careful not to drip on the floor. You’ll then need to dry your tiles with a micro fibre cloth to keep them shiny and free of grime.
It is unlikely that glazed ceramic tiles themselves will stain, though the grout between the tiles may experience this problem. Check below for tips on maintaining the grout in your bathroom. Unglazed, ceramic tiles are more prone to staining than glazed ones. Depending on the type of stain, you may need to replace these tiles if cleaning with soap and a toothbrush does not work.
This process is the same whether you are cleaning ceramic wall tiles or floor tiles. As porcelain is a type of ceramic tile, you can also follow this process for these tiles. Just ensure that you have swept or vacuumed your floor first (the process applies for glass tiles too), to get rid of any dust or lint first. This prevents any dirt getting embedded within the grouting.
If you do have unglazed tiles, you will need to clean them regularly with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH level.
Cleaning natural stone tiles
Stone tiles are cleaned differently than ceramic tiles - you’ll find that most commercial cleaning products available are not suitable for stone tiles. Using one of these products could damage your tiles, so ensure that you check that the products you purchase are designed for use on stone tiles.
Natural stone is quite porous compared to other tiles, so it is easily stained. Look for a neutral cleaner as anything acidic can damage your tiles over time.
Floors made with natural stone tiles should be vacuumed and frequently mopped as they can be scratched by something as small as dust. When cleaning stone tiles, ensure that the tiles are dampened with water before applying cleaning solutions as this will help to protect your tiles from any abrasion.
In addition to regular cleaning, natural stone tiles will need to be sealed once or twice a year. Bathrooms that are used on a daily basis will need more frequent attention, especially when it comes to sealing the tiles.
If your tiles do become stained, which is more likely to happen with natural stone than other materials, you should clean them with a stone poultice. This is a fine, absorptive clay that is non-acidic. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to remove oil and other stains with this product. It’s a good idea to make sure you keep this poultice on hand as stains can set quickly, especially in marble.
Cleaning the grout between your tiles
There are two ways to clean the grout between your tiles. The first method is with a suitable grout cleaner and a brush, and the second is with a steam cleaning machine (these can usually be hired). Both methods will work on all tiles as long as the cleaners that you choose are suitable for that material. Only use bleach on ceramic tiles and never on natural stone tiles unless the manufacturer recommends it.
One of the reasons to install tiles in your bathroom is that they are easy to clean and maintain. As long as they’re cleaned regularly, you will have gorgeous tiles that will last for an extraordinarily long time.