To have your tile installation look its best, regular cleaning is necessary. Tile expert John Almon shares his tips.

Tile expert John Almon from The Tile House shares his advice on how to keep a building’s porcelain tiles in tip-top shape.

Quick fixes
Prevention is a great place to start – using mats at entrances will help to reduce the dirt getting into the room in the first place. To avoid damage from light dirt, regularly sweep or vacuum the tiles. Mopping porcelain tiles with warm water will lift up more dirt particles, but is more work than a quick brush. Use a 2 bucket system with one bucket with clean water and the other for rinsing. This is to avoid spreading dirt from one area to another.

To reduce the risk of damaging newly laid tile surfaces, protect them and avoid the presence of abrasive materials (dust and residues from operations carried out after laying) as far as possible.

Initial cleaning should be carried out after 4-5 days after laying, and in any case no longer than 10 days after laying and grouting. Freshly laid and grouted tiles may have a fine concrete film which cannot be removed with water alone. An acid based product, suitably diluted (from 1:10 to 1:4 in cold water) should be used.  

Heavy-duty cleaning
For unglazed/unpolished porcelain tiles:
Prepare a vinegar/water mixture or select a specialised cleanser and allow it to work into the tile for 5 to 10 minutes in order to loosen the dirt, but don’t allow the tiles to dry. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the area, wipe and rinse with hot clean water, then dry with a microfibre cloth.

For polished/glazed porcelain tiles:
Use a hot water dampened mop, but don’t allow any excess water to puddle. For heavier dirt, loosen with a nylon bristle brush. For most stains, use a vinegar/water mixture or a specialised cleanser if the stain requires specialised treatment. Mop the tiles with the cleanser, then with clean hot water and dry-clean with a microfibre cloth.

Generally speaking, If you are going to use any specialist product, test it first in a small area that will not be visible or on a loose tile

Habits to avoid
–    Never use ammonia, bleach or any type of acid-based cleanser unless consulted with a tiling specialist
–    Never use oil-based detergents or wax cleaners
–    On unglazed porcelain tiles, never use any cleaners that contain dye or colouring unless this is the effect you desire
–    Never use steel wool on porcelain tiles
–    Handy Andy is very abrasive cleaning product and is not recommended

The Tile House
Tel: 021 506 3020
Website: www.thetilehouse.co.za