Cleaning and Maintenance of Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles
Initial Cleaning After Installation
- On newly installed floors there may be grout residue on the tile surface. All traces of this residue must be removed as soon as possible after the grout has set.
- Cementitious grout residue should be removed using a de-cementing solution. If this is the case, always rinse the floor with clean water after washing with residue remover.
- Wall tile may be wiped clean with a soft clean cloth. This should remove the haze on the tile surface.
- Always sweep floor thoroughly before scrubbing.
- If any spillages of oil, fats, greases, or other liquids occur, clean the tile surface immediately as a spill like this could cause a slipping hazard. Some liquids, if left on the tiles, become very sticky and trap dirt on the floor. This may require scrubbing to remove.
- Most areas can be cleaned easily with light mopping using a neutral cleaner. (Frequent changing of the cleaning solution is imperative in getting good results.)
- For larger areas, floor maintainers fitted with scrub brushes are suitable.
- Always rinse floor with clean water.
- Wall tile should be washed with a neutral cleaner and rinse with clean water. (Frequent changing of the cleaning solution is imperative in getting good results.)
Periodic Deep Cleaning
(The frequency of this cleaning will depend upon the amount of traffic and the efficiency of the regular maintenance.)
- Stubborn dirt can build up over time and should be removed with a degreaser diluted to manufacturers' instructions. The degreaser should be left on the floor for 15 to 30 minutes as per manufacturers' instructions in order to penetrate the dirt.
- The floor should then be scrubbed with a maintenance machine, fitted with brushes.
- After scrubbing, always rinse well with clean water.
This procedure will not harm the tile and should keep the tile looking beautiful for years to come.
Cleaning Slip-Resistant Tiles
Slip-resistant tiles will normally be used in industrial or work areas and, because of the relief texture of the surface, can have special cleaning problems or needs.
- Three counter rotating brushes or roller mechanical washers have proven excellent for cleaning textured surface tile floors. With a 3-brush machine, the reciprocating scrubbing action ensures they are always perpendicular and, hence, reach all the way to the bottom of the textured ridges.
- Another commonly used method is the high-pressure washer. When using this method, the right pressure must be used and it should only be used where the floor has epoxy grout filled joints.
If the floor is not extremely dirty, the dirt can be dissolved relatively easily with cleaning detergents.
- With smaller areas, the ideal cleaning tool is the sponge mop, which has the added advantage of soaking up the dirt together with the washing liquid.
- With larger areas that need to be cleaned, if hot water washing is not enough, a combination method will be needed:
1. a chemical "soaking," leaving the cleaning product to stand for the time indicated by the manufacturer
2. washing with a high-pressure washer and using a moderate pressure that will not damage the joints
- Water temperature should be between 50°C and 70°C. If a higher temperature is used, you run the risk of melting fats that may be on the floor and thus make cleaning more difficult. At less than 50°C, on the other hand, the temperature may not be high enough to detach the grease.
- The recommended equipment to clean large floor surfaces is a machine that scrubs and suctions up the liquid and dirt in a continuous operation.