Spring is upon us- and with it, that uncontrollable urge to open all your windows and clean every surface of your house. But while you’re vacuuming your window screens, polishing the silver, and trying not to be too grossed out while purging your pantry, there’s one surface a lot of people overlook: the walls. Do you have a tile backsplash in your kitchen? Chances are you clean it when you remember to, but it’s been a long time since your tile has gotten a good scrub. For those of you with an aversion to strong chemicals, fear not: the best way to keep your installation looking fresh is simple, cost-effective, and innocuous.
Tile generally doesn’t require a whole lot of heavy cleaning, which is one of the many reasons it’s such a popular choice for homes and heavy-duty areas. Sweeping it free of dirt and dust (or in the case of backsplashes/wall installations, wiping with a dry cloth) every day is incredibly helpful. If you can’t do it daily, try to do it at least twice a week. Dust and dirt are the top offenders when it comes to scratching tile, and getting rid of them on a regular basis will preserve its luster. However, sometimes a deeper cleaning is necessary. In this case, soap and warm water is best- that’s it. As many products as there are marketed as tile cleaners, we have found that the best way to keep your tile looking brand new is with the ages-old soap and water formula. Other products can dull the glaze, which is probably one of the reasons you purchased the tile in the first place! Take good care of your tile with these regular maintenance steps and you’ll get the long-lasting beauty your home deserves.
Cleaning the grout lines
Grout is a bit porous and usually a lighter color. As a result, stains and dirt tend to appear much more quickly and require a little more diligence than cleaning the tile.
Bob Vila’s website has an excellent mildest-to-strongest list of cleaning methods for grout, but we stand by the soap-and-water method. Warm water with a lot of suds, elbow grease, and a toothbrush will help you get the mold, mildew, and soap scum out of your grout until it’s as clean as the day it was installed. If you need something a little stronger, you can always turn to the refreshingly dependable household staple of distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is lauded for its versatility, but it’s still highly acidic and must be watered down for this particular application. A common ratio is one part vinegar and one part water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle, grab a stiff-bristled toothbrush, and get to it! Spray directly onto the grout and scrub it. If need be, briefly leave the mixture on the grout line before cleaning.
Everyone wants their home to be clean, but that doesn’t mean it has to be toxic. Your tile can stay looking great for years using these practices on a regular basis (we stress the “regular” part!)- simple household products that won’t emit hazardous fumes or compromise the integrity of your tile are the best approach after all!