Most people with a tile patio don’t tend to think about the amount of cleaning necessary to keep it looking good until it looks drastically bad. When this happens, it can be a rather daunting task to get it back to its former glory, especially for those that have never done heavy duty outdoor cleaning. Here are a few tile patio cleaning tips and ideas to make this process just a little bit easier.
Using the Right Tools
It all starts by using the right tools, and the right tool to start with is a good stiff bristled outdoor broom. For best performance, make sure that the broom is designed specifically for outdoor use. Most hardware stores will have what you need here. Some other tools that will go a long way are soft scrub brushes (nothing heavy duty or you’ll scratch the tile) and a power washer, which you can rent if you don’t already own one.
Using Proper Chemicals
Chemicals can be dangerous and tricky to work with, but it may be necessary for extreme stains from dirt and other things. If you must use them, first off, be extremely careful. Always use gloves, eye protection, a mask if necessary, and anything else specified in the directions to keep yourself safe. Also, be mindful of all the effects of the chemicals you choose. Some may end up bleaching your tile more than you’d like or they can erode the glaze that makes your tiles easier to clean, so test it on an inconspicuous spot first. Also, some chemicals may be harmful to plants and shouldn’t be used if you intend to rinse your patio of into your lawn, or if you have patio plants that can’t be removed during cleaning.
Cleaning Slate and Ceramic Patio Tile
Cleaning your ceramic and slate patio tile can be tricky, especially if you are looking to maintain a smoother appearance. Many cleaners and cleaning tools, especially acidic chemicals and heavy duty products like steel wool, will destroy the surface of your patio ceramic tile and leave it scratched, dull looking, discolored, or worse. As mentioned above, all cleaners need to be specifically for your type of tile and all cleaning tools need to be soft enough not to damage anything.
Luckily, it rarely comes to such drastic cleaning measures for ceramic and slate tiling. To keep your tile looking great, start by doing weekly sweeps with a good outdoor broom. Once or twice a month, go over your tile with a damp mop, which will help pick up or loosen what the broom can’t while bringing a good shine back to your tile. If you have any stains, make absolutely certain to clean them up immediately. Always start with warm water and a soft scrub pad. If more is needed, move on to a light, non-acidic cleaner. If the stain persists, try using a 5 to 1 mixture of water and peroxide, saving any bleach or harsher chemicals for last.
Cleaning the Grout
Most of the necessary tile cleaning, even those that have stains, can be handled with a stiff bristled broom every week, a damp mopping every month, and the occasional light cleaner (window cleaner usually works) with a soft scrub pad for stains. Grout, however, gets dirtier faster because of being very porous. It can also be more difficult to clean with your broom, mop, and scrub pad because the tiles are often raised above it, causing narrow crevices. To work around this, use a soft or medium bristled toothbrush with your cleaner.