After having ceramic tile installed you will immediately realize how much easier it is to take care of in comparison to other floor and wall surfaces. Ceramic tile is extremely durable and easy to maintain and with sensible care and regular minimal cleaning it will remain as beautiful as the day it was installed for many years to come.
Glazed wall tile is probably the easiest to care for. Simply wipe the tile down with a sponge or damp cloth using a mild non-abrasive detergent. For soap scum you may want to try Aqua Mix AquaKleen which comes in a spray bottle and is ideal for everyday use. Be sure not to use abrasive cleaners or steel wool pads as has they have the ability to scratch shiny surfaces.
For unglazed and glazed ceramic and porcelain floor tile we’ve found that cleaning spills early will go a long way. Remove loose dirt particles by sweeping or vacuuming followed by damp sponging or mopping the floor with a neutral pH cleaner such as Aqua Mix Concentrated Stone and Tile Cleaner. Whichever cleaner you use make sure it is non-polluting, non-hazardous and has low VOC (volatile organic compound). Be sure to give the floor a clean rinse afterwards to remove any residue and dry with a cloth towel. For bathrooms where there is soap scum, body oils and hard water deposits you may find the need to clean more often. If you have a textured tile surface you may find it useful to replace the mop with a white nylon pad or soft scrub brush.
Where a tile installation receives high traffic, has been neglected from cleaning or has difficult to remove foreign matter like soap scum, heavy duty cleaning may be needed. In these instances, we suggest the use of a high pH and alkaline cleaner such as Aqua Mix Heavy Duty Tile and Grout Cleaner.
For cleaning glass, resin or metal tile wiping down with a sponge or damp cloth using a mild, non-abrasive detergent is usually sufficient.
Never use acids, bleaches or ammonia on tile surfaces. Acids have the ability to damage glazed surfaces and grout. Similarly, bleach and ammonia will damage the grout if used too often. Never combine bleach and ammonia as it will create a lethal gas.
Typically, sealing ceramic tile is unnecessary however there are some situations involving certain types of ceramic tile where you may want to seal as an extra precaution (they are described below). Sealing tile it is not to protect the tile from everyday use but more to protect the tile from being slightly discolored from pigments within the grout during the grouting process. Staining from grout pigment is a very rare occurrence; however, it is always highly recommended that a test area is grouted and cleaned to see how the grout and the tile will react to each other. Should you find it necessary to protect the tile use either a grout release which is a soap based product that completely washes off during the grouting process or a penetrating sealer which does not alter the appearance of the tile but does seal up pores in the surface.
Situations where a sealer may be needed on ceramic tile.
- The process of polishing porcelain tile creates microscopic pores or fissures on the surface of the tile and because of this, it is possible the grout pigments can enter into these pores or fissures and stain the surface. The use of a penetrating sealer prior to grouting will solve this issue. Be sure to grout a test area to determine if sealing is needed or not. If so, check with the manufacturer to see if they recommend a water-based sealer such as Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold or solvent-based sealer such as Aqua Mix Ultra Solve.
- When installing unglazed quarry tile, many manufacturers will recommend applying a grout release such as Aqua Mix Grout Release to assist in the grout clean-up process.
- Heavily textured unglazed porcelain and quarry tiles have a tendency to be difficult to clean after the grouting process. Using a grout release such as Aqua Mix Grout Release is often very helpful and recommended to assist the grout clean-up process.
- Where the unglazed tile and the grout are of contrasting colors (i.e. light colored tile vs dark colored grout) taking the extra precaution against grout pigments staining the surface of the tile use of a penetrating sealer is recommended. Be sure to grout a small test area to see if sealing is necessary or not. Penetrating sealers such as the premium Aqua Mix Sealers Choice and the economical Aqua Mix Penetrating Sealer can both be used as pre-grout sealers and are water-based.
Feel free to contact us for any other care and maintenance questions that have not been addressed.