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Home tips: How to maintain and care for tile flooring

Design: The Scientist
 

Cleaning basics

It’s important to make sure that dirt does not accumulate on your tile flooring because accumulated dirt and grit can easily scratch and dull the surface. Sweeping or vacuuming floors is usually sufficient for regular cleanings. Damp mopping with plain water at least once a week should also remove minor dirt and dust. For more stubborn stains, damp-mop the floor with a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid – white vinegar works well, too, especially for greasy floors. After cleaning, rinse and mop the entire area with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Buff dry with a clean microfibre cloth or old towel after.
 

Don’t forget grout lines

Dirty grout lines equals dingy-looking floors. Grout is porous and absorbs dirt, grease and stains over time. Skip commercial cleaners; instead, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it to the grout lines using a toothbrush, and let it sit overnight. Scrub the stain with a stiff nylon brush (a metal brush will damage the grout and scratch the tiles). Let the grout air dry, then apply a silicone-based grout sealer to repel future stains.
 

Fix the cracks

Have hairline cracks on your tiles? Fret not, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your tiles need replacing. Check your tile supplier or any hardware store for a scratch repair kit. You can also use paint and clear epoxy to cover the crack. Wash the chipped portion with soapy water, and thoroughly dry the tile, preferably with a hair dryer. Using a small paintbrush, apply a thin layer of oil-based primer on the crack and let it dry for at least two hours. Then, paint on the crack using light strokes with an oil-based paint that closely matches the colour of the tile. When the paint is dry, dab just enough clear epoxy to cover the cracked area and level the gap with the rest of the tile. Protect the area from foot traffic for at least 24 hours.
 

Extra protection

Put protective pads under heavy furniture to prevent damage to your tile flooring. Place floor mats at entrances — they trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, and grit. To reduce tile wear, also place mats in high-traffic areas, such as in front of vanities, kitchen sinks and stoves.
 

Tip!

Never use cleaners containing acid or bleach for routine maintenance because these can alter the tile colour and/or stain the grout. Avoid oil-based detergents, wax cleaners and cleaners containing dye or colouring. 

 

 

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