Easy tips for cleaning bathroom tiles

Ceramic and vinyl tiles — two very different materials — are relatively low-maintenance, easy-to-clean surfaces. However, both tiles can scratch. To prevent this, it's important to keep them dirt-free.

Easy tips for cleaning bathroom tiles

1. For regular cleaning of floor tiles

  • Sweep both ceramic and vinyl tiles with a broom or vacuum. Trapped dirt and sand are highly abrasive and can cause lasting damage to matte and glossy finishes.
  • If you vacuum, avoid using the machine's beater bar (for carpets), which can permanently damage tile finishes.

2. Once a week

  • Clean floor tiles by going over them with a damp mop. Again, this goes for both ceramic and vinyl tiles. Damp mopping removes stubborn, smeared-on dirt.
  • Never use excessive amounts of water with vinyl tiles, since the water can seep under the tiles and damage the glue.
  • Avoid soapy or oily cleaners, as they can leave a dull film. If anything, add a splash of vinegar to the mop water. An alkaline-based, all-purpose cleaner is also effective.
  • Or, use a specialty tile floor cleaner available from hardware and home improvement stores. Follow manufacturer's instructions.

3. For ceramic wall tiles

  • Wipe them regularly with a damp sponge.
  • As with floor tiles, avoid soapy or oily cleaners. Add a splash of vinegar to the water, or use a commercial bath-and-tile cleaner.
  • Another alternative is to add 1 capful of methylated spirits to 4 litres (4 quarts) of water in a bucket and wipe down the tiles using a sponge or clean, soft cloth.
  • Never use abrasive scrubbers or cleaning products, such as scouring powders. These can scratch glazed tiles, dulling the finish and making them more susceptible to dirt.

4. To keep grout clean

  • Do it regularly so that the scum and mildew don't have a chance to get a foothold in the porous surface. Indeed, it's a good idea to clean grout after you shower, while it's still steamy moist and the soil has been loosened.
  • Mix together 50 ml (1/4 cup) of vinegar with 4 litres(4 quarts)of water and scrub the grout with a toothbrush or nylon-scrubbing pad.
  • For more cleaning power, go over it once with a degreaser or bath and tile cleaner, which will loosen the germ-harbouring soap scum, and then with a disinfectant all-purpose spray, to kill the germs themselves.
  • Let your cleaning products do the work for you. Too much scrubbing grinds the grime in deeper.
  • Spray or wipe each product on and leave it on for several seconds.
  • Wipe it down with a clean, wet sponge to rinse off the cleaning solution.
  • If you must scrub, use a long-bristled brush that is not too stiff (you don't want to wear down the grout) or use an old toothbrush. Steel wool is too abrasive.

5. Tough measures for grimy grout

  • For really grimy grout that stubbornly resists standard cleaning methods, try a solution of chlorine bleach and water.
  • Make sure the area you're working in is well ventilated, and wear rubber gloves.
  • Then mix together 250 ml (1 cup) of bleach and 2 litres (2 quarts) of water in a bucket.
  • Using a toothbrush or nylon-scrubbing brush, scrub the dirty areas then let the solution soak for 10–20 minutes before rinsing with clean water.
  • Rinse a second time — again with clean water, not the water you used in the first rinse — and wipe the area dry with a clean cloth.
  • You can also spray on a ready-mixed commercial product.
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