Porcelain Floor Tiles: Types, Maintenance and Cleaning Care

Porcelain flooring
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An extremely durable flooring material, porcelain doesn’t require much care or maintenance to keep it looking sleek and new through decades of use. A type of ceramic that is baked particularly hard, these tiles are often paired with a glazed glass protective coating that makes them impervious to staining, water damage and most scratching physical impact. However, there are ways to give extra care to certain aspects of the installation in order to achieve optimal effects. 

Types of Porcelain: Unglazed

In its raw manufactured state, porcelain is a strong but somewhat porous material that can be subject to staining discolorations over time. These materials need to be treated with a certain level of delicacy, receiving a sealing treatment annually, while being cared for with constant vigilance and the removal of any spills that occur. 

Cleaning Damp mop with warm water, or a mix of one gallon of warm water to a few drops of relatively mild ph-balanced dish soap. Do not saturate these floors as they will be more prone to water penetration than other materials.

Types of Porcelain: Glazed

In most cases, porcelain flooring will be treated with a melted glass glaze, which is poured over the surface of each tile to create a thin protective layer that is completely impervious to water penetration and most stains. These applications are much easier to care for, requiring less maintenance and no annual sealing treatments.

Cleaning: Most mopping or cleaning procedures, including both natural and chemical, can be used to effectively refresh glazed ceramic floors. However, you still have to check and follow any instructions listed on the packaging of the product. You should also be aware of the health risks of using any harsh or abrasive substances in an interior space.

General Porcelain Maintenance

Sweep, vacuum, or mop your porcelain floors regularly. Small grit particles can wear away at both glazed and unglazed protective coatings and scratch the surface of the material, dulling it slightly over the years.

Wipe up stains as soon as possible, and flush away any residue. While these tiles are resistant, they can still slightly shade if messes are allowed to linger for long periods of time.

DIY Disinfectant for Porcelain Floor Tiles

In general, you will be able to just use warm water and a mop to clean porcelain tiles. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to make use of a disinfectant in order to kill germs and completely sanitize the surface installation.

  1. Mix ¼ cup white vinegar with 1-gallon warm water. Mop it on thoroughly.
  2. Add essential oils to flavor.
  3. Rinse the mix away when you have completed the task. 
  4. Sprinkle baking soda on the floor, then rinse it with a vinegar water solution using a mop.
  5. Flush the floor thoroughly to remove any residue. Work in small sections so that you can clean, rinse, and allow each portion of the floor to dry thoroughly.

Grout Lines

These are often the most vulnerable points in the installation. They will need to be sealed even if the tiles don’t. You can clean them with equal parts water and baking soda, using a small brush. If necessary it is possible to completely remove and replace grout lines for a brand new look.

While most cleansers won’t do anything to porcelain, some particularly abrasive chemicals can have an effect, so try to avoid anything too heavy duty. Always check the manufacturer's label. Make sure to ventilate the area properly when cleaning, for evaporation and air quality reasons. Use gloves, eyewear, and open windows to avoid inhalation damage.

Notes: Never use steel wool or other abrasive utensils on a porcelain floor. These can cause scratches and can damage the surface of the tiles.