How do I Clean Terrazzo Tile?

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All-purpose household cleaners can damage terrazzo tile.
All-purpose household cleaners can damage terrazzo tile. (Image: glass cleaner image by Randy McKown from Fotolia.com)

For over 2000 years, terrazzo has been used as a material for floors. Composed of one part Portland cement to two parts marble, additional pieces of marble are added to create a mosaic form during installation. The marble itself is very resilient, but the cement is porous and prone to easy staining.

To keep your terrazzo tile looking like new, a cleaning regimen needs to be established.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Floor duster
  • Mop
  • Cleanser made for terrazzo tile
  • Rubber gloves
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide

General Cleaning

Dust the floor as often as needed. Sweep the floor with a broom when there are particles of dirt on the floor too big for the duster to pick up. Debris not only becomes ground into the tile, it damages the finish. Best results come from dusting and sweeping daily.

Mop cleanser onto the floor and allow it to sit for several minutes. The cleanser works to loosen any grime soaked into the tile. Use of a scrubber periodically removes built-up dirt and grime. Make sure the scrubber isn't abrasive enough to damage the tile.

Mop up the cleanser solution using clean water. Keep the floor wet at all times while cleaning so dirt doesn't dry into the tile. Change the rinse water often so as not to simply spread dirty cleaning solution around.

Buff the floor after it has dried when possible. Buffing the floor restores the shine and luster of terrazzo tile.

Removal of Common Stains

Soak an absorbent cloth in hydrogen peroxide and place the cloth on the soda stain. Soak another absorbent cloth in ammonia and lay it on top of the first cloth. Allow both cloths to remain on the stained floor for several minutes. Remove both cloths and rinse floor well.

Wipe up soda spills immediately to prevent staining.
Wipe up soda spills immediately to prevent staining. (Image: glass of soda image by Kalani from Fotolia.com)

Mix liquid detergent with warm water and scrub the alcoholic beverage stain with a clean cloth. Rinse well.

Apply denatured alcohol and wipe with a clean cloth for stubborn stains. Rinse well so no chemical residue remains on the terrazzo tile.

Lay an absorbent cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide over a particularly stubborn stain. Lay an ammonia-soaked cloth on top. Leave both cloths on the stain for several minutes, then wipe the floor with a sponge. Rinse floor well.

Stains made by alcoholic beverages often prove difficult to remove.
Stains made by alcoholic beverages often prove difficult to remove. (Image: alcohol image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Mix liquid detergent and warm water. Apply mixture to cooking oil stain with a cloth and scrub well. Rinse with warm water.

Household de-greasers also remove oil stains. Read the bottle carefully for application and removal instructions.

Cooking oil stains leave blotches on terrazzo.
Cooking oil stains leave blotches on terrazzo. (Image: cooking oil image by Gary Walker from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • Having your terrazzo tile professionally sealed helps prevent grime build-up and staining.
  • Always wear rubber gloves to protect your hands when handling chemical-soaked cloths.

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