The ABC’s of Clean Tile on a Budget

More and more people are starting to make their own cleaning products to save money and just as importantly, live a greener lifestyle by avoiding harsh chemicals.

Tile flooring is a common floor type for most homes and is a particularly durable choice for bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of the home that might get wet from time to time. Tile flooring can look new for years to come with some basic and routine care that is both proactive and reactive.

Basic Floor Cleaning

iStock_000011782405XSmallSweep or vacuum the floor tiles regularly to keep dirt, crumbs and other debris from accumulating and dulling the tile. Dirt that sits on a wet surface turns into hard-to-remove grime.

A dry cloth or dust mop should be used on the floor after it has been swept.

Mild detergent and clear water, with a rag, is the easiest way to clean the floor tiles. Be sure to frequently change the water when doing so to avoid the floor turning cloudy.

Spills should be cleaned up promptly. The longer the spill is allowed to sit, the more it will soak into the grout causing a sticky situation. For spills that involve a pet or raw meat, spray a disinfectant over the area and wipe it up.

Deep Cleaning

To deep clean the flooring, start by mopping with a warm mixture of vinegar and water. If the floor still appears dull after mopping with a vinegar solution, mop it again but this time use fresh water and detergent. This method is not recommended on marble flooring.

Spills that are left for a while risk leaving a permanent stain on the flooring but you can make a paste – which is outlined below – that can be used to spot-clean the area.

  • Use a mixture of 50/50 scouring powder and warm water.
  • Apply the paste to the stain by using a clean cloth and let it sit for at least five or ten minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub the area and then wash it with warm water and use a cloth to remove the remaining paste.
  • If the stain is still present, repeat.

Bathroom floors are infamous for mildew. The best prevention against mildew is to air out the room between showers and to keep the floors dried. When mildew is present you can make the following ammonia solution:

Important: Before making the solution, put on rubber gloves to protect your hands.  Also make sure the room is well ventilated.

The solution is made of 50/50 ammonia and water. Next scrub the tile with soft brush and rinse until the mildew is no longer present.

Another common complaint on tile flooring is rust spots which can occur when a can of shaving cream is left in the shower, for instance. Although this is less common then dealing with mildew, it can happen, and if it does, kerosene does the trick.

Use gloves, dampen a cloth with kerosene, rub the stain and then wash the area with warm water.

Cleaning Grout

The true secret to great tile flooring is c
lean grout. Because grout is porous, it tends to absorb grease and other stains. Although there are several cleaners available, you can make your own paste using baking soda and water. In this instance, make the paste and let it sit on the stain overnight and then scrub in the morning with a stiff nylon brush. Repeat the process, if/when necessary. A silicone-base sealer can be applied to avoid future stains.

Lastly, area rugs placed in high traffic areas of the home can be a huge help as it will collect dirt and debris that would otherwise be on the floor.

Gabrielle Greene co-blogs on TipsOnHowToSaveMoney. Her friends often refer to her as “Gaby Gabs A lot,” especially if it has anything to do with freebies and saving money! As the mom of two teenage girls, being frugal is an absolute must.