Most of us pay relatively little attention to our flooring, performing mainly general maintenance like sweeping and mopping. Flooring begins to become more noticeable if it starts to yellow or become discolored. Floors usually yellow because the tile reacts chemically with sunlight or because the wax has colored with age. Restoring tiles requires stripping them, which isn't much more difficult than giving the floor a thorough cleaning. Stripping also gets rid of dirt, dust and grime that may have accumulated.
Things You'll Need
Powdered dishwasher soap
Sweep the floor thoroughly.
Put 1/2 cup of powdered detergent and 1 cup of ammonia in 1 gallon of water and wait until the detergent is dissolved. Depending on your type of tile, you may want to use a commercial tile stripper instead, since powdered detergent can be too abrasive for some tile types.
Put on some protective cleaning gloves.
Use your mop to put some of the ammonia and detergent water on the tiles. (Apply tile stripper according to the manufacturer's instructions if using stripper instead--you may need to wait a few minutes for the stripper to work.) Work in small sections at a time.
Scrub the tile by hand with a scrub brush.
Use a floor mop to collect and dispose of the dirt, grime and old wax removed by scrubbing.
Mop up excess liquid.
Rinse the floor and allow it to dry.
Add a new coat of wax or commercial water-based, low-gloss floor finish to restore the shine to your floor.
In addition to your gloves, it's a good idea to protect your eyes and lungs with a mask and goggles.
Keep the area in which you work well-ventilated by turning on fans and opening windows.
Think about your cleaning path before beginning. Always start from the innermost part of a room and work your way toward an exit. Otherwise, you'll end up having to walk across your freshly mopped or waxed floor. For the same reason, move all your cleaning agents with you as you go instead of going back to them as you work.