Ceramic tile come in a variety of colors, sizes and styles. They are popular because of their beauty and because they are very easy to clean. They are primarily made from clay silicate, which is baked at a very high temperature. Tiles come glazed or unglazed; the unglazed requires much more cleaning and maintenance because they lack the hard outer shell that repels water and dirt. Over time, tiles can become dull but with certain cleaners and some elbow grease, can be brought back to life.
Cleaning dull ceramic tile
Cleaning tiles regularly with plain water and then thoroughly drying with a clean towel or cloth will prevent mildew, mold, grime and dirt from building up. Grout is cement and sand mixed with acrylics and silicon. If the grout is unsealed, it will collect dirt and grime and will stain easily. For ceramic tile walls that are stained or discolored and dull, make a solution of one quarter cup of mild detergent with one gallon of water and with a sponge, carefully scrub the areas that are stained and dull. Once cleaned, wipe them dry with a towel or cleaning rag. Use a 50/50 mix of bleach and water if the tile and grout are severely discolored and dirty.
For tile floors, do not use any abrasive powder, as it will scratch and dull the shine. Do not use a cleaning product that is not recommended for tiles. A solution of three cups of vinegar to a half gallon of warm water will make the tile sparkle and bring it back to life. Another good cleaner is shaving cream, which can be used on stubborn stains; spray it on the stain, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse off.
Maintaining the shine
When cleaning, use a cotton mop, cloth, sponge or nonmetallic brush. Remove dust and debris by sweeping and mopping, cleaning at least once a week. If it's a high traffic area, mop more than once a week. Thoroughly rinse with water to remove any cleaning solution residue left on floors or walls.
To protect the tile, apply felt pads to the legs of any metal, wood, plastic or iron furniture that could leave scratches. A good quality floor mat will protect ceramic tiles from wear by collecting grit, sand, dirt, asphalt, oil or driveway sealer that may be tracked onto the floor.
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