Keeping Tile Installations Clean

Keeping Tile Installations Clean

Whether it’s the floor, wall, backsplash, tub, or shower, keeping tile installations clean has been a long-standing subject in the tile community.  A question that raises quite a few complaints.  There are a host of causes behind these complaints with many products on the market that claim to promote clean tile and grout if properly applied.  So what are the basics?  Let’s start with tile.

Glazed tile  is naturally easier to clean than unglazed tile.  Covered by a clear coat, there are very few things that cannot be easily removed from glazed tile.  Because a clear coat already exists with glazed tile, there is no need to provide a sealant and sealing may actually leave a difficult to remove sticky film on the surface.

Unglazed tile on the other hand can benefit from a sealant.  Many manufacturers recommend application of a penetrating sealer prior to grouting to fill the pores opened during the polishing process.  This will unmistakably make the cleaning process easier.  However, sealers are not cure alls.  They will not fix nor make the tile and grout waterproof and stain proof.  They will slow down the process of moisture passing through and allow for proper cleaning response time.


Using a neutral pH cleaner with a little warm water is recommended for cleaning all types of tiles.  One of the more common recommendations is a vinegar and water combination with a small amount of soap, however most soaps have an oily element that may leave a film and vinegar is acidic and may eat at the surface over time.  To be on the safe side, use a neutral pH cleaner.   Be sure to wring out all excess moisture from a towel and/or damp mop when applying and follow up with a dry cloth to remove spots.   For heavy duty cleaning, an alkaline cleaner may be used but is only recommended on an as-needed basis.

Cleaning Metal Coat Tile

Our tile can be installed in showers and in pools and their surrounding areas.  Additionally tile may be used in kitchen backsplashes, on range hoods and around cook tops and fireplaces (must leave a minimum 2-inch separation from heat source). Metal Coat Tile and Signs metalcoating is real metal and is considered to be a living finish.  As the metal ages, it will take on its own natural look.  To avoid damaging the metal finish and to protect the natural beauty of the finish, never use harsh cleaners (such as Lysol®, Pine Sol® or Bleach) or soft scrub cleaners.   Harsh chemicals may damage the finish.

To avoid water spots, dry all surfaces after each use.  Water spots and unwanted patina may be removed by applying a small amount of non-abrasive GOJO® hand cleaner with a soft cloth or gently with extra fine steel wool. Then buff with a soft cloth. If you wish to polish tarnished high polish tile, use a product such as Cape Cod® Metal Polishing Cloth or a non-chalking metal polish.  For Metal Coat Tile and Signs Care Instructions, click here.

Grout Cleaning

Grout cleaning is undeniably a common complaint.  Without diving into the logistics surrounding the proper installation of grout and its effects on performance success or failure, there are a few basics to understand.  Without proper selection and installation of tile and grout, there is no cleaner or sealer that’s going to solve your problems.  While numerous formulations of standard latex-modified grouts remain popular, many of today’s more popular premium grout products are highly engineered and designed to be stain blocking and application-friendly. Epoxy grouts are starting to find a market share as well and are receiving a reputation for easy application and cleanup.  Epoxy grouts are indeed very stain resistant, but that does not mean cleaning is not required and in some cases your cleaning schedule may actually need to increase.

When applying and cleaning grout with Metal Coat Tile and Signs tile, be sure to mask off tile to eliminate grout on all relief pieces and avoid damaging or scratching the finish.  Using a small brush and water only, remove excess grout from tile before it dries.  Do not use a solvent.  Using a solvent to clean residual epoxy grout can damage the finish.  Towel dry to avoid water spots.  Polishing paste and abrasive polishing products are not recommended.  Stone enhancers, sealers and cleaners may be used and will not prevent metal from aging.  Use non-abrasive GOJO®  hand cleaner sparingly with extra fine steel wool to remove water spots and unwanted green patina.

NOTE: Please refer to the manufacturers care instructions when available before cleaning tile installations.

Cleaning and Sealing Tile & Grout – Tile Magazine

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