Tidying Up: How to Clean Up Different Tile Types

It’s no secret that Americans have fallen in love with Marie Kondo and her mission to clean up homes across the nation. From her NY Times best-selling books, to her overnight hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, the KonMari method teaches us to focus on organizing by way of categories and to strive for a cleaner home filled with items that spark joy.

While we can’t help you clean out your closet by purging, thanking, or folding your clothes, Architectural Ceramics can help you clean your tile floor or backsplash.  Check out the following tips below, organized into categories, to care for and maintain your porcelain, ceramic, glass or natural stone tile.

Porcelain

The KonMari method provides simple tools to organize your home, with the overall goal of sparking joy.  Simply put, when it comes to porcelain tile, the care and maintenance required is almost none.  That should spark joy in anyone.

Porcelain tile from AC’s Himalaya Collection, made to look like polished or matte marble.

Porcelain tile is non-porous, stain-resistant and antimicrobial, which means it’s easy to take care of. Cleaning a porcelain tile floor like our Himalaya Collection, shown above, takes nothing more than a little routine vacuuming or a quick wipe with a damp towel.

Stains like red wine on a marble surface are the enemy. With this matte marble-look porcelain, stains from a capsized Cabernet aren’t as worrisome. But, just because porcelain is stain resistant, doesn’t mean it’s a superhero against stains left to sit for hours or days on end. It’s still a good idea to tidy up spills right away.

Ceramic

While Marie Kondo’s dream is to organize the world, we want to tile it. Ceramic tile has a colorful history because of its global contributors, like delicate Delft blue and white tile from the Netherlands or bright and geometric tile from Morocco.

Machine-made ceramic tile from AC’s Neri Collection, available in small-scale field tile and mosaic sizes.

Today, ceramic tile is still available in handmade varieties, but it is now also machine-made. This is in part because of America’s need in the 1950’s for ceramic tile to serve as a sanitary option in bathrooms coast-to-coast.

Either way, whether your ceramic tile is handmade or machine-made like our Neri Collection pictured above, here are ways to clean and care for it:

Handmade Ceramics

Handmade ceramics are often hand-painted. Avoid harsh chemical-based products when cleaning the surface of these tiles. Instead, use mild soap and water coupled with a soft sponge or white cloth to avoid discoloration, fading or scratching.If your handmade ceramic tile has a crackle finish, clean it the same way you would a hand-painted tile.

To further protect against stains, seal the tile once a year, with one of our sealant products. Your contractor already sealed the crackle tile before grouting it during installation. Continuing to seal your tile once a year keeps it looking like it did the day it was installed.

Machine-Made Ceramics

Caring for machine-made ceramics is really no different than handmade ones. Use soap and water to clean the tile. If you prefer home cleaning products however, be sure it is a pH neutral, water-based solution.

Glass

When you think of cleaning glass, what’s the first product name that comes to mind? Windex anyone? Please don’t! Doing so could discolor the tile or the porous cement grout around it.

A back-printed glass field tile from AC’s Batik Collection, with an Indonesian inspiration.

With glass tile, there’s no need to think outside the box, like the ones Marie Kondo compartmentalizes objects with. Treat cleaning glass tile like you would ceramic tile; opt for a mild soap and water combination paired with a soft cloth. With our glass Batik Collection pictured above, you’ll want to avoid textured scrubbing pads that could scratch the surface of the tile. This is especially true of any glass collection that features a matte finish.

For information on installing or cleaning glass tile, visit AC’s Learning Center and use the document titled: Glass Tile Installation & Cleaning Instructions

Natural Stone

Marie Kondo says herself, “The question of what you want to own is really the question of how you want to live.”  If you prefer to live with a bit of luxury in your life, then natural stone is for you.  Marble, travertine, limestone and slate are all beautiful stones to surround yourself with, but they require a bit more care and maintenance than the other tile categories.

A marble mosaic from AC’s Brocade Collection.
View more projects like this one, by Dayton Street Development, on our Houzz Project page.

It’s best, for example, to seal your natural stone tile once a year to keep it’s original luster and to avoid stains. For more frequently used areas, like a foyer or mudroom floor, it’s best to seal the tile every six months. With our sealants, you’re able to protect your investment.

For the marble mosaic backsplash pictured above, from our Brocade Collection, stains like splattered pasta sauce are the worst. Before sealing an entire backsplash like this one, remove any stains and then test the sealant solution on a small area to know how the tile will react.

For more information about cleaning or sealing marble tile, check out AC’s Tile Cleaning & Maintenance Tips Brochure. Here, you’ll find tips on caring for not only natural stone, but porcelain, ceramic, and glass tile too.

For further questions about the tile products featured here, or to place an order, please contact sales@architecturalceramics.com.  Want weekly updates about Architectural Ceramics and our product lines?  Join our newsletter here.

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