How to Clean an Unsealed Tile Floor

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Unsealed tile flooring can be difficult to clean. The grout in between the tiles is likely to absorb dirt and moisture through normal use, which can cause discoloration. Improper cleaning also can stain unsealed grout. Using too much water or cleaning solution allows the dirty liquid to soak into the grout, which causes more staining and provides an ideal environment for mold. Though unsealed tile floors can be cleaned with most cleaning solutions, there are some precautions to take to avoid damaging the tiles or the grout between them.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning solution
  • Sponge
  • Dry towel
  • Fan or dehumidifier

Put your chosen cleaning solution into a spray bottle. Be sure to follow any instructions on how or where to use the product. You can use bleach if you don't want to buy a special cleaning solution, but be sure to mix with water at a ratio of one part bleach to five parts water..

Sweep up any loose debris.

Spray a small section of tile with the cleaning solution. Spray enough to cover the area in a mist, but not so much that the solution pools on the tile.

Allow it to sit for a few seconds, then scrub gently back and forth with a sponge.

Dry the area with a clean towel.

Repeat steps 3-5 until the entire area you want to clean has been gone over. You may need to get a second towel if the first one becomes too damp.

Keep the area well ventilated for a day or two after you have cleaned it. Run exhaust fans or a dehumidifier in the area for several hours if possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • A common home-made grout and tile cleaner is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour a light film of baking soda over a small area of tile, then spray with white vinegar. Make sure to stand clear, as this will cause a mild (but harmless) chemical reaction. Once the reaction has stopped, scrub the area as you would with any other solution, then dry thoroughly.
  • Using bleach or ammonia may discolor the grout between the tiles. If you are worried about discoloration, you may need to buy a gentler cleaning product. Also, never mix ammonia with any products that contain bleach.

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