Tiles convince not only through functionality and comfort, but also through their appearance. To keep it that way as long as possible, regular cleaning is of course indispensable. In the following article, we will give you useful information and practical tips on how to effectively remove various smaller and larger stains from your tiles.
Tiles are extremely hard-wearing and robust. No wonder that they are particularly popular where walls and floors are in great demand. However, dirt, stains and deposits cannot be avoided, especially under heavy use. And over time, this can leave its mark on even the most grateful tiles.
The bad news in this context: To keep your wall and floor tiles clean or to make them clean again, you unfortunately have no choice but to clean them. But the good news is that tiles are basically quite easy to clean.
Tile cleaning: Simple, but with certain differences
Generally speaking, cleaning clay tiles does not require much. They are generally very easy to clean and can usually be kept in good condition with a vacuum cleaner, cloth and clear water.
Most tiles are also quite resistant to cleaning agents. Most, but not all. With ceramic tiles, you can in principle use all common products without hesitation. However, anyone who wants to clean unglazed porcelain stoneware tiles should make sure that they do not contain any surfactants. Tiles made of natural stone, on the other hand, are the famous exception to the rule: The sensitive surface needs particularly gentle cleaning and should, if at all, only be treated with special cleaners.
In addition to the material of the tiles, the type of dirt also plays a role. On the one hand, in terms of the effort involved and on the other hand, how best to deal with the dirt. So it makes a difference whether you are dealing with everyday dust and conventional street dirt in the hallway, grease splashes in the kitchen or stubborn lime stains in the bathroom.
Tips from A for all-purpose cleaner to Z for toothbrush: How to clean tiles properly
In other words: Tiles are not the same and dirt is not the same as dirt. This makes it all the more important to have the optimum procedure, the suitable cleaning agents and aids or the best household remedies for every application. And the following tips should help you do just that.
First basic cleaning: Cleaning of tiles after laying
The first step for beautiful and clean tiles is a thorough cleaning after the laying work. Warm water alone can have a great effect: To remove the remains of the jointing mortar, first of all simply wipe the newly laid tiles carefully with a damp cloth or sponge.
If a grey cement veil remains nevertheless, you now have several further possibilities. For example, there are various special chemical cleaners available in the trade with which you can easily get the dirt off the tiles. However, you should pay attention to the ingredients (e.g. hydrochloric or phosphoric acid) so that the product is also suitable for the material of your tiles.
Alternatively, you can also use household remedies. Lemon juice or a mixture of vinegar essence and water can also be used to remove the cement film: simply apply to the tiles, leave to work for a few minutes and wipe thoroughly with clear water. This may require a little more effort because you may have to repeat the process more often, but it is also much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
What is important in any case: Wait with cleaning until the joints (including the expansion joints of the tiles) are completely hardened (approx. 7 days) in order not to risk damage.
Clean floor tiles
Floor tiles are exposed to more or less high loads, depending on the area of application. Thus the degree of soiling also varies from light to heavy. And this logically requires different procedures for cleaning. But of course there are also helpful tips for each specific case (most of which can be applied to the cleaning of wall tiles):
- The most important basic rule for clean floor tiles: Clean regularly. This means that dirt has fewer chances from the outset and the overall effort is kept within limits.
- In case of loose dirt and dust, it is best to simply reach for a broom or vacuum cleaner as quickly as possible so that the dirt cannot spread and become stuck.
- In addition to dry cleaning, you should of course also wipe your floor tiles wet at regular intervals. The recommendation here is usually once a week, or more often if there is heavy use. All you usually need is clean, warm water, any cleaning system (e.g. mop) and a suitable cover (ideally made of cotton).
- Of course you can also add a few drops of cleaning agent to the mopping water. In the case of ceramic tiles, standard household or all-purpose cleaners or simple washing-up liquid are completely sufficient. You can also clean porcelain stoneware with anything, as long as it does not contain any surfactants. This is because the residues can settle in the porous surface, making the tiles much more difficult to clean over time. To be on the safe side, alkaline or acidic cleaners (e.g. acetic or citric acid) are therefore the better choice for porcelain stoneware.
- You should generally avoid aggressive cleaning agents for tiles. On the one hand it is usually not necessary anyway and on the other hand it can damage both tiles and joints in the long run.
- Remember to change the mopping water regularly when cleaning floor tiles so that the dirt absorbed does not get back onto the tiles and, above all, into the joints.
- After wiping, it is recommended to dry the tiles with a microfibre cloth. This means that excess water cannot leave behind limescale stains – and the floor remains free of streaks even if too much cleaning agent is used.
- Heavily soiled tiles are best cleaned by soaking: Apply the water-cleaner mixture generously to the affected areas and let it soak in for a few minutes before wiping your floor tiles clean as usual. Particularly stubborn stains can be additionally treated with a brush, for dried incrustations the ceramic hob scraper from the kitchen can also be useful. If all this does not help, there are still special remedies for stains in the tile trade. TIP: Do not use sharp or pointed objects or metal meshes to scrape off any dirt – they could damage the tiles despite their resistance.
- If you generally do not feel like scrubbing, you can use a steam cleaner instead. The practical devices are ideal for cleaning floor tiles and dissolve even heavy dirt almost by themselves.
- If you prefer natural cleaning, you can fall back on proven household remedies: vinegar, citric acid or orange peel usually remove dirt just as reliably as the considerably more expensive cleaning agents. Curd soap and soft soap are also alternatives worth considering, especially the latter is even suitable for cleaning natural stone tiles.
Cleaning bathroom tiles
In general, the same recommendations apply when cleaning bathroom tiles as in any other room. With one special feature: In the bathroom, the dirt consists mainly of lime deposits – especially where walls and floors frequently come into contact with water. Here are a few additional tips:
- The best tip against annoying lime spots is to avoid them at first. Ideally, you should therefore remove the water from your bathroom tiles with a squeegee and/or a dry, absorbent cloth immediately after each shower. Do not forget the joints!
- Remaining lime residues are best removed with the popular household remedy vinegar. Take the cheapest household vinegar or mix vinegar essence 1:1 with water and wipe the calcified tiles with it. Allow the vinegar to soak in for a few hours before rinsing thoroughly with warm, clear water. Tip: Since vinegar is highly acidic, you should avoid the joints as much as possible when applying the product.
- The alternative to vinegar is lemon juice or orange peel. Simply rub the calcified tiles with it, let it take effect and rinse with clear water as usual. A positive side effect: the citrus fruits not only remove limescale, but also leave a wonderfully fresh scent in the bathroom.
- An insider tip against lime are dishwasher tabs. Dissolve the tab completely in a spray bottle of water and spray the mixture onto the tiles. After a short reaction time of approx. 15 to 20 minutes, the lime residues should be easily removed with a damp cloth. TIP: You can achieve the same effect with denture cleanser or vitamin C tablets.
- For heavily calcified tiles, rinse aid is also often used. When applied diluted with water (or undiluted in cases of hardness), the unsightly white stains should disappear quickly.
- Limescale deposits on natural stone tiles are easily removed with gemstone soap. Put a little soap in warm water and wash the tiles with it. Afterwards you should wipe with clear water to avoid a lubricating film.
Cleaning tiles in the kitchen
What is lime in the bathroom is fat in the kitchen. Grease stains are a daily occurrence, especially on the wall tiles around the stove. To remove them, however, it does not take much:
- Warm water and dishwashing detergent usually already achieve the desired result.
- Liquid detergent also dissolves the grease and gives your kitchen a new shine.
- Encrusted areas can be additionally treated with curd soap and brush.
Clean rough tiles
If tiles are particularly rough, dirt particles can settle more easily. But with the right tips you can also clean rough tiles very easily:
- Microfibre cloths are very useful on rough surfaces, as the fine fibres penetrate deep into the pores and even get out deep-seated dirt.
- With a dirt eraser you can also get rid of the dirt on your rough tiles.
- In case of coarser dirt, it is recommended to wipe the tiles with vinegar water.
- You can also clean heavily soiled areas on rough tiles with a versatile household remedy: baking powder. To do this, make a paste with water and apply it to the tiles. Then spray some vinegar on the paste and let it work for about 15 minutes. If necessary, you can also help with a toothbrush before you finally clean the treated area thoroughly.
Cleaning old tiles
If tiles are already a bit old, yellowing often occurs. A mixture of salt and turpentine helps to get rid of the unsightly yellow veil.
Clean matt porcelain stoneware tiles
In the course of time, tiles can become dull. Rub your tiles with ammonia or ammonia solution – and they will look like new again. You can also use rinse aid, linseed oil or hair shampoo to make matt tiles shine.
A not very popular (because it is much more complex), but at least as important topic is joint cleaning. Finally, here are a few valuable tips and household remedies:
- Wipe the joints in the same way with all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth when cleaning your tiles. In this way you keep the dirt – and the associated cleaning effort – within limits from the outset.
- Dirty joints are made nice and clean again with a paste of baking powder and water. Simply apply with an old toothbrush, let it work for a short time and rinse off with water. Of course you can also use a special joint brush.
- As an alternative to baking powder, you can clean the joints of your tiles with soda. The procedure is basically the same as for baking powder, as is the effect. Please note, however, that soda may cause skin irritation.
- And you will often find another tried and tested household remedy when grouting and cleaning tiles: With baking soda you can not only remove dirt, but also prevent the formation of mould.