What is the Best Way to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors?

Using a steam mop is said to be the best way to clean ceramic tile floors. Is it the right tool for you? Learn what feature you should look for in a steam mop and other tips to clean ceramic tile floors.

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Different Methods of Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

Ceramic tiles are excellent flooring options since it is dirt-resistant and low-maintenance. Hence, it is perfect for high foot traffic areas in the house, such as living rooms, kitchens, and comfort rooms. While it is relatively easy to maintain, that doesn’t mean it’s not prone to typical wear and tear, especially if you don’t know how to clean it.  For instance, ceramic tiles could look dull and foggy over time. Dirt, sand, grime, and stains, when not cleaned immediately, could do damage and scratch a tile’s surface. Grout lines are also areas where dirt could accumulate quickly.  With all that being said, maintaining ceramic tile floors is not difficult. You only need a combination of patience, hard work, and the right tools to get the sparkling shine back. If that’s exactly what you want, read on because you’ve come to the right place.

Benefits of Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tiles are highly versatile, easy to maintain and look exquisite. Here are more advantages of using ceramic tiles as flooring:

  • Environment-friendly. Ceramic tiles are made from natural materials such as sand or clay. Some are from recycled components.
  • Cost-effective. Depending on the style and quality, ceramic tiles may cost as low as $1 per square foot. Even the high-end ones can typically be bought at $15 per square foot.
  • No shortage of options. Ceramic tiles come in a vast selection of shapes, colors, and designs. Local hardware and tile centers almost certainly sell hundreds of different ceramic tiles at once. 
  • Reduces Allergens. If anyone in your family has dust-related allergies, ceramic tiles are a fantastic flooring option. It does not house dust mites, and its smooth finish allows you to easily clean off the dust.
  • Water and scratch-resistant. Glazed ceramic tiles are tough and designed to withstand just about anything, from water to punctures and scratches.

Ways to Clean Ceramic Tile Flooring

Cleaning and maintaining ceramic flooring typically fall under two categories: light maintenance and deep cleaning. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

1) Light Maintenance

This is your everyday, garden-variety type of cleaning. For easily removable stains and dirt, dry mops or brooms are enough to do the trick. After lightly sweeping the floors, microfiber mops are excellent options to bring the shine back. If you do not like the manual labor involved in sweeping the floors, you may also use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust. And if some stains and fogginess are a little outside a microfiber mop’s league, use a mixture of white vinegar and water to effectively salvage the sparkle.

2) Deep Cleaning

Light maintenance is like the typical tooth brushing routine. Do it every day, and it’ll help you stay away from common dental problems. Once in a while, though, you need a visit to the dentist to eradicate deep-seated plaque and tartar.

Deep cleaning ceramic floor tiles is like visiting the dentist. The only difference is, with the right tools, you don’t need a professional to do it for you. Here are some ways to deep-clean ceramic flooring:

  • Using steam mops. The best thing about a steam mop is that new steam cleaners give your floors a natural clean. It will not only clean the surface, but high-pressure steam simultaneously disinfects the tiles. This makes the tiles safe for babies and kids to crawl and play on. You also have the option to add relaxing scents to the mop, so you can transform your home into a haven of aromatherapy. If a steam mop is a viable option for you, choose one that allows using steam on demand. Unlike a model that blows steam continuously, it keeps floors clean and dry after each pass of the mop.
  • Using spin mops. Using a spin mop with a vinegar mixture to clean ceramic tiles is also a great option. It is cheaper than a steam mop, but it is more versatile, as you can use a spin mop on virtually any type of surface. 

How to Use a Steam Mop

Using a steam mop allows you to disinfect the floors, ridding them of bacteria while removing deep-seated dirt for a thorough clean. Here are directions on how to use a steam mop:

  1. Before using the steam mop, you need to vacuum or sweep the floor first. DO NOT SKIP this part. Surface dirt, sand, hair, and other particles will be picked up by the steam mop and could potentially hinder its ability to clean.
  2. Use distilled water or specific products to be used for steam mops. Dish soaps or detergents are not advisable and could wreck your machine.
  3. Do not plug the machine before attaching the cloth to the mop head. Some models get hot quickly and could scald you. There’s also a risk of an electric shock, so better be safe than sorry.
  4. Some steamers quickly get hot, while others may take a couple of minutes. When it heats up, place the mop head on the floor and squeeze the trigger (using steam on demand). Continue doing so as if using a regular mop.
  5. If you are cleaning a big area, do not forget to replace the dirty cloth. If you don’t, you’re just spreading the dirt around, which defeats the purpose of cleaning in the first place.
  6. After cleaning, let the mop cool off and the floor dry. Unplug the steam mop while doing so. Do not leave any cloth on the mop head after it has cooled off. This will potentially damage the mop and also opens up the way for mildew to accumulate in it.

Cleaning Tile Grout

What’s the use of clean ceramic tile floors if the grout that holds it together is not? Grout should also be kept clean, but admittedly, it is quite a challenge. Unlike the tiles themselves, grout is made from a porous material that can easily collect dirt and grime. 

Here are things to remember when cleaning tile grout:

  • Vinegar and baking soda are usually a potent combination when cleaning tile grout. There are also commercial products that do likewise, but if you’re using bleach and water, make sure it’s for white-colored grout. 
  • Use a grout brush. It is designed to be small with stiff bristles, perfectly fitting into the tiny grout lines.
  • If you have a steam mop, it’ll make your life a lot easier. It can be done naturally, without chemicals. A thing to look out for is that high-pressure steam could remove the grout sealant, so you either had to reseal after steam-mopping or do it after resealing.
  • After cleaning the tile grout, rinse with water and take the extra moisture by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.

The Verdict: Best Way to Clean Ceramic Tile Floors

As with any other thing, maintaining ceramic tile floors by cleaning them regularly keeps them looking sparkling new. You may use the proven, old-school method of mops and brooms for light maintenance, while for deep-cleaning, it is recommended to use spin mops or better yet, steam mops. Steam mops are particularly effective in cleaning deep-seated grime and dirt. Because it operates by releasing high-pressure steam, it also disinfects the floor as it cleans, hitting two birds with a single stone.  Another thing to keep in mind is to clean the tile grout. More often than not, tile grout calls for special attention as it needs particular tools to keep it clean. Some of these tools are grout brushes and sealants. 

Any of the methods listed above are proven effective in cleaning ceramic tile floors. Depending on the type of stains you’re facing, it’s on your discretion to choose one over the other. For simple, everyday cleaning, sweeping, and mopping could be enough. For deeper cleaning, steam mops and spin mops are the way to go.