How to Remove Yellow Stains From Floor Tile

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Remove yellow stains to maintain a tile floor.

Yellow stains on tile floors can form because of moisture, hard water, soap scum and scale buildup. This yellowing can be noticeable on all colors and tile patterns but looks especially bad on white tile floors. The cleaning method depends on the type of tile. While porcelain, glazed ceramic and vinyl tiles can hold up to standard removal techniques, you need to be more careful with natural stones, like marble, travertine and limestone.

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How to Clean Yellowed Tile Floors

To get rid of yellow ceramic tile discoloration, sweep the surface to remove loose grime and dirt. Next, you should add 1 cup of white vinegar to a large bucket and pour in 1 gallon of hot water. Mix well and dip in a clean sponge or sponge mop. Scrub the tiles with the solution until the yellow fades away. Then, rinse the solution with clean, warm water and dry with a clean, absorbent cloth.

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To clean yellowed tile floors, spritz undiluted hydrogen peroxide onto the tiles and then use a steam cleaner filled with hot water. Professional cleaners use muriatic acid, but if you choose to do this yourself, you'll want to wear a breathing mask, eye protection, gloves and heavy clothing; opening the windows is also recommended. This muriatic acid gets mixed in a 1:5 ratio with clean water, but you need to make sure that you pour the acid into the water and not vice versa. Use a hard-bristle brush to scrub this into the stains. Use water to rinse the area. Dry it and dispose of any remaining mixture.

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How to Remove Stains From Floor Tiles Made From Vinyl

Vinyl flooring can start to turn yellow as it ages. When cleaning it, avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, hot water and steam cleaners. Heat is a no-no for vinyl. Instead, try mixing baking soda and warm water until you have a thick paste and gently rub this into the stains with a soft, white cloth. Remove the paste with a second clean cloth. Rinse with clean water and dry. Another method uses rubbing alcohol; dip a clean white cloth into it and rub it on the discolored area.

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Lemons can also remove yellow stains because the juice acts as a bleaching agent. Cut one in half and rub it right onto the stain. As an alternative, you can add 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into a gallon of warm water for a cleaning agent. Other options include WD-40 and store-bought vinyl floor cleaners; test the cleaner first, rinse well afterward and dry the area.

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How to Remove Stains From Unglazed Floor Tiles

If you're not sure if your tiles are glazed or not, you can try a couple of methods to determine which you have. Generally, the glazed ones usually have veining patterns or complex designs. Unglazed porcelain tiles have more uniform finishes with no shade variations. You can also perform this test: Allow water to sit on one of the tiles for five minutes and wipe it off. If the surface darkens temporarily, it is probably unglazed.

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Try using an alkaline cleaning product that's designed for natural stone tiles but test it on a smaller, inconspicuous area first to make sure. Use a nonabrasive soft scrub pad, rinse the area and dry it after cleaning. If you see swipe marks or a hazy residue, this could be grout haze left over from the installation. You can use an acidic cleaner (formulated for natural stone) to clean that particular haze away from those tiles.

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