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10 Tips for Keeping Your Ceramic Tiles Looking Great

Aug 17, 2007
You enter the bathroom. You turn on the lights. You dream of having a nice, relaxing bath or a cold, invigorating shower. What you get instead is a strangled shriek and despair.

Yes, ceramic tiles sure brighten up any bathroom or kitchen with their artistic and wonderful designs. We all love that glossy finish and the pearl-like shine. But moldy and dirty ceramic tiles are a big turn off, especially to those who have a fetish about bathing in a spotlessly clean bathroom.

What about your kitchen? Can you bear placing your food atop a surface that looks dubious? Can you imagine the germs sticking themselves to your favorite vegetable?

Alas, help from professional cleaners may cost us hundreds to thousands of dollars. That money can be better spent on other worthwhile items. All we need to know is how to properly care for our ceramic tiles so they'll keep looking clean and brand new.

1. Wipe 'Em Daily

Keep this as a mantra to yourself. This is easy enough to do, especially on kitchen counters, and it won't take you more than 15 minutes. All you need is a wiping cloth and some water. Always wipe surfaces after use. This is the best method from keeping dirt and debris from piling up. Dry tiles with a cloth or a sponge to prevent mildew formation.

2. Felt and Pads

Do you have heavy furniture made of wood, metal, aluminum or even plastic? Try to place felt or similar pads to their legs. This will help reduce the wear and tear on the tiles and will also facilitate easier shuffling and movement.

3. Protection with Mats

All houses have spots where heavy pivoting occurs. This could be your doorstep, or in front of the kitchen sink or the bathroom door. Situate mats of good quality to protect your tiles from pressure, weight or friction. These mats can also reduce dirt, grit, sand and oil that is deposited in your tiles since the fibers of the mat trap them nicely.

Make sure to wash the mats every once in a while to remove the deposits. Replace worn mats if possible.

4. Weekly Appointments with the Damp Mop

Aside from the daily regimen of wiping them, your ceramic tiles can also benefit a great deal from mopping them with a solution of vinegar and water. Mix cup of vinegar to a gallon or so of water and use this to mop your floor.

Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then mop the floor again with tap water to remove most of the vinegar and odor. The mild acidity of the vinegar will promote the death of mildew. Also, refrain from using soaps on the tiles as they will dull they surface.

5. Kiss Grime Away With Bleach

Ooh, your neighbor tracked his mud-soiled boots on your spotless white tiles. Even though you want to beat him up bad, you might want to hold in the urge because you need to act on that dirt, fast! Wipe off most of the dirt with a wet cloth. If there are stubborn streaks remaining on your beautiful tiles, it's time to bring out the bleach.

Add about half a liter of bleach to a bucketful of water. Make sure you have your rubber gloves on, since bleach is very harsh on the skin. Mop the floor with the solution and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. After that, try rinsing it with water.

If stains still remain, repeat the process until you get back your shiny, sparkly tile. Remember to wipe it dry with a clean cloth after the procedure.

6. Clean that grout!

Grout is the cemented space between your tiles. White tiles usually have a white grout and white grout is a breeding ground for mildew, molds and dirt.

If you already spot mild discolorations on your grout, it's time to mix about of a mild detergent to a bucketful of water. Splash some on the grout and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. After that, try scrubbing the grout with a soft cloth. The color should fade away quickly. Again, wipe your tiles with a dry cloth after the procedure.

7. Abrade me not

NEVER use abrasives and harsh soaps on your tiles. They reduce the shine and polish as well as make cracks and pits that would be a more ideal ground for dirt and grime to settle in. Use only mild soaps and detergents. Always dilute strong acids before using them on your tiles.

8. Can you hand me that toothbrush?

Stubborn dirt and grime in your grouts? Well it's time to give them a little push. This will involve getting down on you hands and knees but it's all worth it when you see your tiles looking like they're newly installed.

Again, make a mild detergent solution from cup of detergent to a bucketful of water. You can add a small amount of bleach if you want, but remember to protect your hands and knees. Let it sit for a few minutes.

After that, get a used toothbrush and start scrubbing your grout. Be careful not to damage the side of the tiles. The ugly dirt should give way even with only a little force. Rinse with water and wipe dry.

9. Stock on Drying Cloth and Sponges

You might have noticed that every procedure call for wiping your tiles dry. That's because there is no sense in performing the task yet leaving molds and mildew for a chance to attack. Remember that these organisms grow best in moist surroundings.

With all that cleaning going on, you'll get tired from washing and drying the same cloth everyday so stock up for convenience.

10. Be Patient.

The thing is, people look up handy tips and tricks to cleaning their tiles. But some mail back, feeling very unsatisfied with the results. The usual problem here is PATIENCE. If a specific procedure tells you to wait for 15 minutes, it's best to follow it. See, waiting allows the solution to seep into the layers of dirt and grime. The solution loosens up impacted dirt and facilitates removal. This is the key to a successful cleaning venture.

With that said, have fun in cleaning and remember: Always wipe it dry.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://tile.pagechic.com where you can learn more about types of tile and tile installation .
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