Fixing broken or scratched tile is an important part of regular maintenance. Although sealants are not always helpful on tile floors, they can help to protect your counters and high traffic areas from grout stains. When a tile breaks, repair it quickly to prevent further damage, and ensure that grout is added where and when it breaks down.
Essential Dos and Don’ts
Here’s a breakdown of important dos and don’ts to consider when taking care of your tile floors before, during, and after installation:
- Use a protective cover for the tile surface while applying grout to avoid construction cleaning problems. Items such as kraft paper, cardboard, and plywood can be used as a cover.
- Seal on all grouted joints.
- Test scouring powders on a small area or a sample tile first.
- Install tiles until all heavy construction is complete. Most are finished materials and heavy objects and construction materials can cause damage to their finish.
- Use top sealers that can become a coating over the tile and grout joints.
- Allow cleaning solutions to dry
- Use steel wool pads, scouring pads, or any item containing harsh aids like metal. Apart from the possibility of damaging the glaze or surface, small steel particles can cause grout to rust.
- Use any oil-based detergents or wax cleaners for the maintenance of your tiles.
- Use agents that contain dye/color on unglazed ceramic tile.
Sweep or vacuum floors to remove any dust or debris before using any cleaning products. Damp-mop your tile floor at least once each week (more frequently for heavy traffic areas) to decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil.
Clean regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household cleaner that’s compatible with cleaning grout joints. Use an everyday multipurpose spray cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew on wall tiles in your bath or shower.
Use concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for regular cleaning. These will safely remove grease, oils, and normal spills—just check to be sure the cleaner is intended for the application, use, and traffic level. Clean glass tile with any non abrasive cleaner recommended for either glass or tile.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE
- Test scouring powders and sealants on a small area before cleaning the full area.
- Use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
- After cleaning, rinse the entire area with clear water to remove any cleaning solution residue.
- Have any damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.
Invest in high-quality floor mats and protective pads under heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection to your tile floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce tile wear.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Any cleaners containing acid or bleach shouldn’t be used for routine maintenance.
- Avoid wax-based cleaners and oil-based detergents, and use sealants on grout joints only.
- Harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal shouldn’t be used on tile.
- Unglazed tile should not be cleaned with an agent that contains color.
Vacuum or sweep your floor regularly with a soft-bristled attachment or broom, especially in high-traffic areas. This prevents gritty dirt and particle buildup that can scratch the wood’s surface. Don’t use vacuums with a beater bar or power rotary brush head.
Use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight. Most wood types will gradually age when not covered, so it’s a good idea to rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help it age evenly.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE
- Keep pets’ nails trimmed and their paws clean. Pets can track in substances that cause scratching and stains.
- Use a humidifier during heating seasons to help reduce wood shrinkage and humidity between 35% and 55%.
- Wipe up spills and spots immediately with a Hardwood & Laminate Flooring Cleaner applied directly to a clean white cloth.
- Use ice to harden tough substances like wax or chewing gum, and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper or a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the surface and wipe the area clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth.
Invest in high quality floor mats and protective pads on heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection on your hardwood floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce wear.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Avoid walking on your hardwood floors with spiked or damage-heeled shoes.
- Resist wet-mop, damp-mop, or cleaning your hardwood with water or other liquids.
- Don’t use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax, or other household products containing lemon, citrus, or tung oil, or silicon to clean floors.
- Stay away from harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal, or scouring powders.
- Don’t use 2-in-1 cleaners that contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR CARPET
Cleaning your carpet is easier than you think. All it takes is the right vacuum, cleaning products, and a little know-how. Here are a few tips on removing common stains the right way:
- Always treat the affected area immediately. The longer the spill sits there, the harder it’ll be to remove the stain.
- For a food spill, gently remove as much solid material as you can with a spoon, or a dull knife. Add water and blot, using detergent sparingly if needed. Then, using the highest suction function, vacuum back and forth, adding more water to the stain as you go until completely clean.
- If you need a spot removal solvent, use a Spot Remover or another product approved by The Carpet and Rug Institute of America. Apply several drops to a clean white cloth and blot the carpet in an inconspicuous area. If you notice a change in the carpet color, consult a professional carpet cleaner.
- If stains remain after cleaning, moisten tufts in the stained area with 3% hydrogen peroxide and let stand for one hour. Blot and repeat until completely clean.
KEEPING YOUR CARPET BEAUTIFUL
Follow these simple tips to keep your carpet’s color and texture looking fresh.
- Vacuum your carpet regularly to prevent soil from embedding itself in the pile.
- Depending on the type of carpet you have, you’ll want to use a vacuum with a rotating brush, a beater bar, or suction only.
- Keeping traffic and other use factors in mind, consider professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months.
- Use scissors to clip sprouts and snags. Don’t pull on them—you might damage the carpet.
- If your carpet is burned, simply remove the tops of the dark, burnt fibers with curved fingernail scissors. If the burn is extensive, you may need to patch or replace it.
- Remove heavy furniture dents by stroking the dented area with the edge of a coin. You can also use a hair dryer or a steam iron, but be very careful not to touch the carpet with the iron.
- For extensive water damage, consult professional cleaners to dry your carpet from the front and back.
TIPS FOR SOFT CARPET
- Adjustable Height – Use the highest setting where appropriate.
- Efficient Airflow – Avoid vacuums with very concentrated or sealed suction.
- Large Wheels – A vacuum with large wheels is easier to move across soft carpeting.