Our Tips for Maintaining Ceramic Tile and Cleaning Joints
Ceramic tile is very commonly found in today’s homes. It is durable and is an integral part of the décor. Everyday cleaning of ceramic is fairly easily, and the tiles retain their shine for a long time. However, they require a little more in-depth cleaning from time to time. The same goes for the joints, which can sometimes turn greyish or become stained.
It’s easy to get lost among the myriad of household cleaning products available on the market. Here, we offer our advice to help you properly maintain your ceramic tiles and to clean your joints so that they remain as beautiful as they were when they were new.
Be sure to make the right choice when maintaining your ceramic!
Maintaining ceramic is a weekly, if not daily, task. For everyday maintenance of your ceramic, the most common products found on the market are sufficiently effective, and with a good quality ceramic, you rarely have to use products no more sophisticated than soapy water. Using environmentally friendly products is a bonus as they will not harm the ceramic and to allow it to last for a long time.
However, if your ceramic has deep, stubborn stains, or even cement residues (after laying the joints, for example), you must use a suitable, effective product in order to prevent further damage to your ceramic. Even though there are many products on the market or even relatively effective techniques passed down from your grandmother, it would be unfortunate to use a product that is too acidic for your ceramic, thus damaging it even more. When you are about to clean your tiles, you must first consider two things: What needs to be cleaned? (What dirtied the tiles?), and what kind of surface is it? (What kind of tile)?
Essentially, there are three “families” of cleaning products:
- Neutral products: These products are used for regular maintenance. They can be used on any surface and are especially recommended for cleaning natural stone, as they won’t damage the sealant.
- Alkaline products: These products are used for more in-depth cleaning. They can be used on most surfaces (be careful when using them on certain kinds of quartz – depending upon the product’s alkalinity). These products are excellent for cleaning grease, which makes them the best products for cleaning the kitchen properly, like the backsplash. Alkaline products will not damage grout or most kinds of stone, but can reduce a sealant’s lifespan if used too often.
- Acidic products: These products are made to clean mineral deposits (calcium deposits, rust spots, cement or gypsum residues, etc.) and soap spots. They are therefore perfect for showers and entryway floors. A slightly acidic cleaner would be ideal for occasional maintenance of these areas. If you have to do a more in-depth cleaning, you may use more concentrated products. But be careful, as acidic products are not recommended for limestone, marble, travertine, etc., and frequent use of too strong a product could damage the cement grout.
We also have a product especially designed for showers. It is a slightly acidic product used to remove soap residue and water spots, and it’s also hydrophilic, which means it leaves a water-repellant film on the surface. Water will therefore be unable to stick to the surface and will dry without leaving a residue. It’s perfect for tile, as well as for windows. But again, be careful when using it on marble, travertine or other limestone tiles.
Using a slightly acidic cleaner without phosphate and ammonia is strongly recommended to maintain the quality of your ceramic. PROMA products, in addition to being environmentally-friendly, are biodegradable, effective against the most stubborn encrusted dirt, cement residue, etc. Don’t hesitate to use a product designed for the kind of dirt you need to remove in order to preserve your ceramic’s quality.
Our joint-cleaning tips
The cement joints between floor or wall tiles may tarnish or stain over time. In more humid rooms, like bathrooms, mold can grow on the joints. Even when ceramic tiles are regularly maintained, the joints age and require special attention.
To return the joints to their original color and appearance, you should avoid cleaning with any product that could damage them or allow water to infiltrate and cause the tile to lift. This is why repeated use of overly acidic products, frequent use of bleach, or even steam cleaning are not really long-term solutions.
We have an acidic product especially designed for cleaning joints. Because it is acidic, the product will simply remove a very fine layer of the joint’s surface to expose brand-new grout just underneath the stained surface. Additionally, few people know that there are grout dyes that can be applied over the joints. You can choose the color, and the dye will hide the dirt in addition to protecting your grout. Otherwise a sealant (not a varnish or enamel) can be used once the grout is clean.
Of course, these solutions only work if the joints don’t have deep stains or have not been damaged by specific products. In these cases, we recommend using special non-abrasive joint cleaning products that are environmentally friendly, such as the PROMA brand of products.
One last tip: After an in-depth cleaning of the joints, take the opportunity to apply a scellant for the joints. It is very effective and more durable.