A marble or ceramic tile floor is a thing of beauty, but not when it’s lost its luster due to the build-up of daily grime and dirt. Knowing how to clean tile will help to keep your investment looking beautiful and new.

One of the best ways to clean tile is to sweep over it with a dry mop or broom to sweep away surface dirt, which can quickly accumulate especially if the tile has a textured surface. It’s perfectly alright to use a vacuum cleaner on a tile floor, but just be sure that the vacuum does not have a beater bar or otherwise the action of this bar against the tiles may cause dulling or scratching of the tile surface.

It’s a good habit to get into to remove your shoes at the door before walking on a tile surface because any dirt or oil attached to the sole of your shoes is going to get ground into the tile flooring as you walk on it. Keep a pair of bedroom slippers or socks handy and slip into those from your street shoes. It’s actually best not to walk on tile with bare feet because the oil from your skin will transfer to the tile and provides just another foreign substance that will need to be cleaned up. It’s a good idea to keep floor mats at the entrance to every door into your home to keep dirt from being tracked from the outside to the inside where it will get deposited onto the tile.

Once the tile has been vacuumed or swept free of the surface dirt, you are ready to clean tile with warm water. For marble tile floors, use only warm water and a damp mop or soft cloth. Any cleaning agents that include lemon or other acidic ingredient can damage the tile surface. After damp mopping marble tile, dry the surface with a clean towel or cloth to prevent water spotting on the tile.

Ceramic tile should only be washed with warm water. After the floor has been cleaned and completely dried, you can apply a tile sealant obtained at your local flooring store to help prevent dirt or liquid spills from being absorbed into the tile.

Before applying a sealant, however, be sure that the grout in between the tiles has been cleaned. Check your tile flooring store for a cleaner stick that can be applied to both natural as well as colored grout. Another method for cleaning stained tile grout is to spray it with a solution of half warm water and half hydrogen peroxide and letting that set for a few minutes. Blot up any remaining liquid. This peroxide mixture should never be applied to colored grout as it will discolor the grout and possibly the tile as well.

Avoid using anything scratchy as a cleaning device on tile such as steel wool pads or gritty cleansers. Likewise, never use ammonia-based cleansers on tile. Oil-based cleaners can damage glazed tiles.

Frequent sweeping to remove surface dust and dirt along with regular warm water washes followed by drying is still the best way to keep either marble or ceramic tile floors looking clean and like new. Make the effort to be vigilant in mopping up wet spills before they can do any damage and you’ll go a long way in maintaining your investment in tile.

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