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Cleaning Tiles - Ultimate Guide for Old, Rough, Wall & Floor Tiles

Cleaning tiles: tips and tricks for radiantly clean tiles in every situation.

Difficulty: Easy - Medium | Costs: approx. 0-50 euros | Workload: at least 30 minutes.

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When cleaning different types of tiles, you can do a lot wrong, but you can also do it right

Tiles are a popular floor and wall covering in many households. They are easy to care for, robust and durable. But even tiles need a thorough cleaning from time to time in order to retain their shine and beauty.

In this article we give you useful tips and tricks on how to properly clean and care for your tiles.

1. Methods and machines for cleaning tiles

Depending on how dirty your tiles are, there are different ways to clean them:

  • Clean by hand:

    A damp cloth or sponge is often sufficient for lightly soiled tiles.
  • With use of machinery or chemicals:

    Steam cleaners or special tile cleaners can be used for heavier soiling.

    Our tip: A brush for the cordless screwdriver can be a great help for stubborn dirt that has not yet attacked the surface.
  • Prepare tiles by grinding , polishing or painting:

    If the tiles are heavily soiled or damaged, professional treatment may be necessary.

2. The best home remedies for cleaning tiles

Home remedies for cleaning tiles: vinegar, lemon, baking soda

You do not necessarily need expensive special cleaners to clean your tiles.

Simple home remedies often help to remove stubborn dirt:

  1. Vinegar: Dilute vinegar with water and wipe the tiles with it. Vinegar removes limescale and dirt and leaves a beautiful shine.
  2. Citric Acid: Mix lemon juice or citric acid powder with water and apply the mixture to the tiles. Let it soak in and then wipe off with clear water.
  3. Soda: You can also use soda for heavily soiled tiles. Mix soda with water to form a paste and apply to the tiles. After an exposure time of about 30 minutes, you can wipe the tiles with a damp cloth.

3. Tile cleaning in the bathroom

Bathroom tiles are cleaned by a man

Since limescale and soap residue often form on the tiles in the bathroom, special cleaning is required here.

3.1 Utensils needed to clean tiles in the bathroom

To clean the bathroom tiles you will need:

  • bucket of water
  • Cleaning agents (e.g. vinegar, citric acid or special tile cleaner)
  • sponge or rag
  • Brush or toothbrush for grout
  • Dry cloth for wiping

3.2 Instructions for cleaning bathroom tiles

  1. Mix the detergent with water in the bucket.

  2. Dip the sponge or cloth in the cleaning solution and wipe the tiles with it. If there are stubborn dirt or limescale deposits in the grout, you can use a brush or toothbrush to clean them thoroughly.
  3. After the tiles are cleaned, wipe with clean water to remove any detergent residue.
  4. Finally, dry the tiles with a clean, dry cloth to avoid water stains.

4. Clean wall tiles

Wall tiles are cleaned with a steam cleaner

Wall tiles also need regular maintenance to look clean and attractive.

4.1 The steam cleaner is the best method for cleaning large areas of wall tiles

A steam cleaner is ideal for cleaning wall tiles, as it effortlessly loosens dirt and disinfects it at the same time. Follow the appliance manufacturer's instructions, and be careful not to allow the steam to penetrate electrical connections or crevices.

5. Clean heavily soiled tiles

Heavily soiled tiles are cleaned well

Heavily soiled tiles require special cleaning measures:

Various methods

  • Steam cleaner: As already mentioned, the steam cleaner is a good choice for thorough cleaning of heavily soiled tiles.
  • Proven home remedies: Vinegar, citric acid and soda can also help with stubborn dirt.
  • Lots of water: With some soiling, it can help to rinse the tiles generously with water and then scrub them.

6. Clean floor tiles

Floor tiles are professionally cleaned with a machine

Floor tiles are often more dirty than wall tiles and therefore require more intensive cleaning.

6.1 Determine the degree of soiling and test clean one area with all methods

Before you start cleaning, you should determine how dirty your floor tiles are. Test different cleaning methods on a small, inconspicuous area to see which works best.

6.2 Professional floor tile cleaning

If the soiling is so severe that conventional cleaning methods are not sufficient, it may make sense to consider professional tile cleaning. Specialized companies have the necessary equipment and know-how to make your tiles shine again.

7. Clean fine stoneware tiles and unglazed tiles

Porcelain stoneware and unglazed tiles must be cleaned carefully and without chemicals

Porcelain tiles and unglazed tiles require special care to maintain their beauty and durability.

7.1 Required utensils - Important: No chemicals that attack the fine stoneware

Be careful not to use harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the surface of the tiles. Instead, you should use mild detergents and soft cloths or sponges.

7.2 Step-by-step instructions for cleaning porcelain stoneware tiles

  1. First sweep or vacuum any loose dirt particles from the tiles.

  2. Prepare a mild cleaning solution by mixing water with a mild detergent.

  3. Dip a soft sponge or cloth in the cleaning solution and wipe the tiles with it.

  4. For stubborn stains, you can gently scrub with a soft brush.

  5. After cleaning, wipe the tiles with clean water to remove any detergent residue.

  6. Then dry the tiles with a clean, dry cloth.

8. Clean rough tiles

Rough tiles can be more difficult to clean due to their surface texture. But there are also ways to remove dirt.

If the tiles are heavily soiled, clean them by hand or with chemicals, provided the surface has not been damaged

If the tiles are very dirty, you can try cleaning them by hand with a brush or scrubber.

It may also be possible to use special cleaning agents that are suitable for rough tiles. Make sure that the chemicals do not attack the tile surface.

If the tiles are roughened due to heavy soiling, they must be sanded or polished with a diamond sanding pad

In some cases it may be necessary to grind or polish the tile surface to get it smooth and clean again. However, this should only be done by professionals so as not to cause irreparable damage to the tiles.

9. Clean heavily calcified or yellowed tiles

Calcified and yellowed tiles are cleaned

Limescale and yellowing can severely affect the appearance of your tiles. But there is a remedy here too.

Clean with effective home remedies such as lemons or chemicals designed to do this

Use home remedies like lemon juice or citric acid to remove limescale. Special cleaning agents that have been developed to remove such discolouration can help with yellowing.

Eliminate the cause of the calcification or yellowing

To prevent future calcification or yellowing, you should eliminate the causes:

  • Install a limescale filter in the water hose
  • Seal tile surface to make it more resilient
  • Yellowing is caused by grease - clean more often

Clean old tiles

Old tiles can often shine like new again if they are properly cleaned.

Check for possible damage

Before you start cleaning, you should examine the old tiles for possible damage such as cracks, chips or cracks. These tiles may need to be replaced or repaired.

Try using a steam cleaner, home remedies or, if necessary, chemical cleaners

First try to clean the old tiles with a steam cleaner, tried-and-tested home remedies or suitable chemical cleaning agents. Be careful not to damage the tiles and do not use aggressive products.

Clean tile grout

Tile joints are cleaned with a toothbrush

The joints between the tiles are often prone to dirt and mold growth. Therefore, it is important to clean them regularly.

How do I recognize heavily soiled joints - discoloration

Heavily soiled joints are usually dark in color or show mold growth. In such cases, thorough cleaning is essential.

Clean tile joints with a brush

To clean the grout, use a narrow brush or an old toothbrush. Apply a suitable cleaning product to the brush and gently scrub the grout to remove the dirt.

Remove tile joints with a milling cutter if they are heavily soiled and grout again

In extreme cases, where the joints can no longer be saved, it may be necessary to remove the joints and re-point. However, this should only be done by a professional to avoid damage to the tiles.

Conclusion - cleaning tiles is not difficult!

Depending on the type of tile and how dirty it is, cleaning tiles can be very difficult. However, with the right methods, home remedies or professional help, you can make your tiles shine again and extend their lifespan.

FAQs - Frequently asked questions about cleaning tiles

1. Can I clean my tiles with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar is a proven home remedy for cleaning tiles. Just mix some vinegar with water and use this solution to wipe the tiles. However, be careful not to use the vinegar on lime-sensitive surfaces such as marble.

2. How often should I clean my tiles?

The frequency of cleaning depends on usage and the degree of soiling. As a rule, tiles in the bathroom and kitchen should be cleaned at least once a week to prevent mold and stubborn dirt.

3. How can I clean rough tiles?

Rough tiles can be cleaned with a brush or scrubber. In the case of heavy soiling, it may be necessary to use special cleaning agents or to grind and polish the tiles.

4. What can I do if the joints between my tiles are dirty?

Dirty grout can be cleaned with a narrow brush or an old toothbrush and a suitable detergent. In extreme cases it may be necessary to remove the joints and re-point.

5. Can a steam cleaner be used to clean tiles?

Yes, a steam cleaner is an effective way to clean tiles, especially for stubborn dirt and mold growth. However, make sure that your tiles are heat-resistant and suitable for use with a steam cleaner.

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