How to clean slate tile
Do you properly care for your flooring? Taking proper care in cleaning and protecting your floor prevents damage, extends the life of the floor, and will keep it looking great for years to come.
Sand and dirt particles cause your flooring to age prematurely. If you take a look at the soles of your shoes you’ll no longer wonder why our floors seem to stain and show wear in so little time. The sand and dirt grind away at the surface of the floor, setting in stubborn stains. Removing your shoes before walking on the surface of your floors is one simple way to prevent staining.
As soon as slate flooring is laid it’s important to think about prevention. First, sweep the floor clean of all dust and dirt. Use a neutral cleaner to remove the dirt, but not the shine, from the floor. There are many, many cleansers to choose from; some well-known brands are Marble life, Ezkleen, and Stonetech as well as many, many others. Warm water is another option that some find most reliable, and for obvious reasons, the most cost efficient. The important thing to remember is that the cleanser must not contain acids, as they will break down the slate, causing costly repair or replacement.
Next, you’ll want to apply two or three coats of stone and tile sealer to your slate flooring using a cotton string mop. Sealant can be found at your tile store, or wherever you purchase slate cleaners. Marble life and Stonetech, mentioned above, also make slate tile sealant. You’ll want to make sure to let each coat of sealant dry for thirty minutes before applying the next coat, to ensure the best protection possible.
For floors with an old finish, apply wax stripper to the floor and let it stand for three to five minutes, then break up the wax with a nylon bristled brush. Remove all the old wax with a mop, and then thoroughly cleanse floor with clean water, then seal it as indicated above. Resealing floors regularly is the best prevention of early wear and set in stains.
A sealed slate floor should be easier to clean and maintain, but spills should still be cleaned immediately. Cleaning stains out of slate and grout can test even the most patient person. Grout is very porous by nature, which means that liquids soak right through it. If you do not have colored grout, spray the stained area with a fifty-fifty solution of hydrogen peroxide and water directly on the stained area, letting it soak for fifteen minutes, and repeat. Again, only use this method of stain removal if you do not have colored grout. Peroxide is bleach, and will pull the color right out of your grout.
If the stain persists after spraying with the fifty-fifty solution, soak a paper towel or cotton rag with peroxide and place the towel directly over the stain for fifteen minutes. Placing the towel directly over the stain holds the peroxide on the stain, allowing more time for the stain to breakdown before the peroxide dries. If the stain still remains, create a paste of peroxide and baking soda, allowing the bubbling to settle before applying. Apply the paste to the stain and let it set, re-spraying with peroxide as it dries out. After letting the re-sprayed mixture dry, gently wipe with a warm towel and the area should be stain free.
Another easy option for stain removal is shaving cream, which usually does a great job removing even the most stubborn stains. Again, if you have colored grout it’d be best to test an inconspicuous area before applying it to an area that is highly visible, as bleaching could occur. Most tile stores also carry a product that looks like a stick of chalk and easily removes most stains. Remember, after removing stains from grout you need to reseal again to prevent permanent stains in the future.
The key to beautiful floors is prevention. Of course, aging and wear is normal, and eventual replacement must be expected. If your floors are well sealed and maintained they will easily exceed their life expectancy.