Cleaning and Sealing Tile

Regular cleaning will keep ceramic tile in good condition, but surfaces around an outdoor kitchen, barbecue, or dining space may become stained. To remove a stain, start with the steps outlined in the chart, below right. If these solutions don't work, ask a tile supplier to recommend a cleaning agent that's compatible with your tile.

Intro

A cleaning agent mixed with baking soda, plaster of Paris, or refined clay often is enough to remove stubborn stains. Deodorant-free cat litter also works well. Mix the ingredients into a wet paste and apply it to the stain. Tape a plastic bag over the paste and let it sit for a couple of days. Then brush off the paste.

Unglazed tile usually requires a sealer. Penetrating sealers soak into the tile and preserve its natural color. Topical sealers lie on the surface of the tile and may change the tile color or surface sheen. Topical sealers wear off and require reapplication. If tiles look dull, it's probably time to strip and reseal them. Even presealed tile needs to be stripped and resealed periodically.

To remove old sealer, use a sponge or mop to spread stripper in an area that you can clean before the liquid dries (about 25 square feet). Scrub the area with a brush or with a floor machine. Don't let the stripper dry on the surface.

Prestart Checklist

Time
About 45 minutes to vacuum and damp mop a 15x20-foot kitchen, 90 minutes to strip it, about the same time to seal it

Tools
Stripping: scrub brush and mop or floor machine, vacuum cleaner
Sealing: vacuum cleaner, applicator, buffer

Prep
Vacuum and clean surface

Materials
Stripper, sponge, sealer, bucket, rags

Stripping Tiles: Step 1

To remove old sealer, use a sponge or mop to spread stripper in an area that you can clean before the liquid dries (about 25 square feet). Scrub the area with a brush or with a floor machine. Don't let the stripper dry on the surface.

Stripping Tiles: Step 2

Remove residue with a sponge mop or rags. Some water-base strippers allow removal with a wet-or-dry vacuum. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.

Applying Sealers: Step 1

On newly tiled surfaces, wait 48 hours before sealing. On existing tile, vacuum the surface thoroughly so dirt and dust won't become embedded in the new sealer.

Applying Sealers: Step 2

Clean the tile with a commercial tile-cleaning product, following the manufacturer's directions. Rinse with clear water.

Applying Sealers: Step 3

Apply sealer with a sponge, paint pad, brush, or mop, as recommended by the manufacturer. Prevent the sealer from puddling or contacting walls. Some sealers can't be overlapped. Allow time to dry between coats. Reapply one or two additional coats.


Comments (2)
8220613519
johnbob426 wrote:

I have "1950"s"PINK ceramic tile I'm sick of it.I heard that you can Paint it. Can you give me some advise on how to procede?

1/14/2011 03:23:13 PM Report Abuse
ktjohnston50 wrote:

Thanks for these great tips; especially the outdoor area. Your solution worked great. For even more tips, or professional cleaning services, check out http://www.hartscarpetcleaning.com

8/30/2010 10:07:05 PM Report Abuse
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