How to Clean Granite Tiles
Granite tiles are one of the most dependable surface materials for all home spaces on top of the stone's exquisite beauty and high value. Not only granite looks elegant from any direction, but it's also made durable. Some stone tiles like marble, polished granite and travertine are slippery when wet, making them prone to stain build-up over time. This is why you need to practice proper tile maintenance to extend the life of your granite stone.
What damages your granite tiles?
Granite is made durable and resistant to stain, but water, if left stagnant, can cause visible discoloration. Any form of liquid can penetrate the stone when you disregard it for a while, particularly acid-based liquids, oils, and alcohol and fruit juices. The good thing is that you can do now remove the stain with some "home-made" solutions like acetone and baking soda mixture and typical bleaches.
If you haven't heard of etching, this is the chemical reaction you usually see on granite tiles. Etching comes from the harsh chemicals or impurities from vinegar, muriatic acid, ammonia, and even your favorite fruit juices. It decreases the capacity of your granite stones to resist chemical exposures, resulting in the accumulation of stain in the long run.
Even though granite is known for its hardness characteristic, the strong impact from any object could cause your tiles to chip. You'll barely notice the damages since chips often happen around the edges of the countertop and kitchen sinks. This only happens if you accidentally hit your countertop with a hammer.
Sometimes, people tend to apply the wrong type of cleaning solution, which can leave a hazy appearance on the surface. The cloudy appearance isn't considered a severe damage, but rather a hint that you've used an inappropriate cleaner. The water from any sponge may also produce this effect especially if the sponge has already been used for several times. So it's recommended to replace your cleaning sponges with a new one at least once a week.
Other possible reasons that may cause damages include scratches, extreme water pressure and mishandling of heavy objects that could've dropped to the floor. To keep them beautiful for a longer period of time, maintaining a regular cleaning habit should be on the top of your list. Here's how you can do it:
Cleaning the tough dirt and stains
- Any all-purpose cleaning agent may not be suitable if you haven't cleaned up your granite tiles for a long while. For a more difficult task, you can use different brands of cleaning solutions that are safe for stone tiles and your health as well. If your floor or countertop looks dirty, consider using stone cleaners like TriNova, Granite Gold or Weiman Granite Cleaner.
Since you need to use stone cleaners, better leave your windows open to ventilate your area. This will help maintain good air circulation and prevent you from inhaling the fumes while you're working. Be sure to spray the granite cleaner on every tile then wipe the solution with a soft cloth. Also, refrain from leaving the cleaner standing as it can create stains on the surface.
When purchasing any granite stone cleaner, always check if the solution is intended for indoor, outdoor or both areas. Refrain from using floor sanitizers or car shampoos as these products may contain ingredients not suitable for tiles.
- You can use household solutions like vinegar or baking soda to remove the deep stain. Create a mixture of both baking soda and water to make a "sour cream" plaster. Spread the mixture directly to the tiles, cover them with plastic and leave it for one day.
This paste solution will help draw the stain out of the granite, so you can easily wipe the deep stain. When you get back the next day, wash the granite tiles using typical dish soap and warm water. You can use this type of method when you plan to have your granite tiles cleaned at least once a month.
- Always clean the grout since it can trap dirt and stain. If the grout becomes more visible, possibly, your granite tiles are dirty. You can purchase some commercial grout cleaners at any hardware store. But be careful in choosing a grout cleaner as many of them are made abrasive which can harm your granite tiles.
Avoid using scrubber sponges or steel wool to clean the grout as these cleaning accessories can damage the tiles further. If you're not concerned with time, you can use smaller brushes, preferably a toothbrush, to clean the grout in between tiles with better accuracy.
Developing the regular cleaning routine
This method is intended to develop a permanent habit of cleaning the granite tiles. Follow these simple suggestions to prolong the beauty of your granite tiles:
- Try to remove the surface dirt first before you start cleaning the granite tiles. You can use dry mops with or without a handle or a duster to wipe the dust away. This will prevent the bits of grout from trapping the dirt in between tiles.
- Use water with mild dish soap and water if your granite tiles are just a bit dirty. In a bucket of water, pour in some drops of dish soap and dilute it. Get a soft cleaning towel and start wiping the tiles in a clockwise direction. Remember to clean the excess water to prevent stain formation.
You can find microfiber cloth at any hardware store. Avoid using floor brushes, steel wool or scrubbing sponges as these are made of abrasive materials. When using dish soaps, you should avoid choosing those variants with a strong smell or color. That's because dyes may contain active ingredients that can damage the tiles or create stains on them.
- Clean the granite tiles from left to right and then move to the next row to avoid missing any area. Make sure to dry the tiles thoroughly since wet marks can build up the stain if you leave them unattended for a long time. Wipe the tiles in a circular motion, starting from left to right and then go down until you reach the other end. If you're cleaning the walls, you can start from the top and go down to the floor.
Performing regular maintenance on floors and walls
- Establish a regular cleaning schedule will help you preserve the beauty of your granite tiles. Wipe your granite tiles as often as possible, say at least once in every other day to reduce the accumulation of surface dirt. This will definitely reduce the need to work on the deep stain using granite tone cleaners. Write down a list of daily tasks including granite tile cleaning so that you won't forget it.
Make it a habit to clean your granite countertop at every use. Regular cleaning will surely prevent building up of grimes, dust and food particles on it, which can also be a potential source of bacteria. You may use neutral cleansers, warm water, and dish soap to clean your countertop.
Aside from cleaning solutions, you can use alcohol and water to disinfect the top surface. Create a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and warm water then spray it on one tile at a time. Let the solution remain on the tile for several minutes and remove it with water and a dry cloth.
- When you spill something on the ground, clean it up as quickly as possible. Any food and beverage drinks are acidic in nature which can cause deep stains when you leave them standing on the granite tiles. Mild soap and warm water are good enough to clean the spills and prevent the stain from building up. Use granite cleaner if you can't take the stain off with warm water and soap.
- Perform regular inspection on grout and tile condition. Broken grout can cause serious damages to your granite stone. Regular cleaning schedules can help you examine the condition of each tile and its surrounding grout lines. Alternatively, you can seal the granite tiles at least once in a while.
Sealing your granite tiles can prevent water seepage and tile cracking though it shouldn't be a reason not to clean them anymore. Fortunately, you can find granite sealers at any hardware store.
- Check the cracks on the granite tiles. Granite is not expected to crack during regular use. However, it's still possible to create damaging breaks when placing hot objects on the surface or when standing on the countertop.
To prevent this, avoid placing any hot kettle or pan on the granite tile. Even though granite can withstand the presence of heat, constant change in temperature can potentially damage the tiles. Use coasters, pot holders and other protective materials before putting the hot pan on the countertop. In addition, wipe the granite tiles immediately if you exposed them to smoke and oil splats.
Tile flooring and countertop finishes made from granite represent durability and practical value of every home. When properly maintained, granite will definitely increase the retail value of your precious spaces. You'll enjoy the benefits of having granite tiles if you know how to take care of it.
- Tags: granite tiles
- Dale Basilla