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How to Clean and Maintain Cement Tiles

on October 24, 2022

Learn the Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Your Cement Tiles

You’ve just installed a gorgeous cement tile floor, shower, or backsplash. Now, how do you keep it looking clean and beautiful for years to come? While cement tiles are incredibly durable and easy to maintain, they are porous. So like a natural stone surface, they require some special care. Don’t worry. The LiLi Team is here to teach you everything you need to know on how to clean and maintain cement tile. So grab a mop and roll up your sleeves. It’s time to learn the dos and don’ts of cleaning your cement tile! 


How to Clean and Maintain Your Cement Tile in 8 Steps

1. Seal Cement Tiles After Installation 

Before you start enjoying your new cement tile floor, shower, or backsplash, you need to seal your tiles to keep them protected. Sealing tiles immediately after installation will help prevent stains and scratches and make cleaning up a breeze! Sealed cement tiles are much easier to clean than unsealed tiles. In addition, they are better able to stand up to spills, resist scratches, and dry faster than unsealed tiles. 


The LiLi Team recommends hiring a professional to seal your tiles with STAIN-PROOF Original Sealer. This sealer is approved for indoor and outdoor applications, including floors, backsplashes, showers, counters, and walls. It won't alter the color of your tiles, and it is guaranteed with a 15-year written performance warranty if applied by a Dry-Treat Accredited Applicator. Remember to reseal when necessary to maintain your cement tiles for decades to come. 

2. Sweep Away Dust and Debris 

Regularly sweep away dust and debris to prevent scratches and grime build-up on your cement tiles. You will always want to sweep before mopping. Otherwise, you could spread dirt to other rooms or scratch the surface of your tile. We recommend sweeping 1 to 2 times per week. However, you may need to sweep more often in high-traffic areas or homes with pets. 

3. Immediately Wipe Up Spills 

Never let a spill sit on your concrete tiles, even if sealed. Immediately wipe up spills with a warm soapy rag, especially acidic liquids like wine, soda, or salad dressing. Acid liquids can eat away at the surface of your cement tiles, leaving etchings or stains. If you have a puppy in training, make sure to protect your tiles with puppy pads or old towels. If you notice a spill or accident, don’t wait to clean it up! 

4. Shop for pH-Neutral Cleaners

Cement tiles are porous like natural stone, so you must only use pH-neutral cleaners. Harsh cleaners with heavy grit, ammonia, bleach, or vinegar can damage your cement tiles, eating away at the surface or washing out the color. For regular cleaning, the LiLi Team recommends using Hillyard Super Shine-All Neutral Cleaner or other pH-neutral cleaners like Fabuloso, which is pretty inexpensive. We recommend using Dry-Treat S-Tech Stone & Masonry Cleaner for deep cleans or heavily soiled tiles. Always check the pH level of your cleaning products before using and never apply concentrated products directly on your cement tiles. 

5. Gently Mop Away Dirt and Grime 

Using a soft mop to gently wash away dirt and grime is one of the easiest and most effective maintenance practices to preserve the longevity of your cement tile. Use a pH-neutral cleaner and wring out your mop often to avoid heavy water puddling. You want to ensure a quick dry time, so you may want to run fans or open windows while you clean. The LiLi Team recommends mopping once every 1 to 2 weeks for the best results (and a spotless home)! 

6. Scrub Grout With a Soft Bristle Brush   

 

Cement tiles are typically installed with thin grout lines. However, they can still collect dirt and grime between the tiles. Use a soft bristle brush and warm soapy water to gently scrub grout lines. The LiLi Team recommends cleaning your tile grout once every 1 to 2 months. However, you may need to clean grout in high-traffic areas, bathrooms, or kitchens more often.  

7. Buff Out Scratches With Sandpaper 

No matter how careful you are, you may scratch the surface of your cement tile from time to time. Maybe you drug a piece of heavy furniture across the room or shattered a glass. There is no need to fret! If your cement tiles get scratched, use 220 grit sandpaper to buff them out. Your tiles will look as good as new! Just remember to reseal your tiles after sanding. 

8. Reseal Cement Tiles as Needed

Some cement tile sealers can last over a decade with the proper application and care. Pay attention to how your tiles are holding up, and reseal when needed. Cement tiles installed indoors will require less regular sealing than outdoor tiles. In most cases, cement tiles installed in outdoor spaces need to be resealed every year to protect them from prolonged sun exposure.

Bonus Cleaning Step for Brass Inlay Cement Tiles

If you like a little bling with your cement tiles, you may have chosen brass inlay tiles from our Elite Brass collection. Cement tiles with brass inlays are prone to tarnish and require additional maintenance. Keep your brass tiles looking shiny and fresh by removing tarnish with wet sanding using 320 grit sandpaper. Repeat as necessary and reseal after each sanding session. The LiLi Team embraces the natural aging process of brass, and we encourage you to find the beauty in a vintage look, too!


The Dos and Don’ts of Cement Tile Maintenance 

Do: 

  • Use soft cleaning materials rather than stiff brushes. 
  • Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals. 
  • Opt for natural and pH-neutral cleansers. 
  • Immediately clean up spills. 
  • Refinish and reseal as necessary. 
  • Protect high traffic areas with rugs. 
  • Ask experts for help when you need it! 

Don't: 

  • Use rough cleaning materials or high grit brushes. 
  • Use harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach or ammonia that can fade tile.
  • Use vinegar solutions that can eat away at the tile surface. 
  • Leave spills or pet accidents sitting for long periods. 
  • Neglect or put off resealing. 

Keep Your Cement Tiles Looking Beautiful for Years to Come!

Cement tiles have been around for centuries, and some still look just as vibrant as the day they were installed. The LiLi Team is here to assist you with your cement tile needs, from picking out the perfect pattern to installation day to when you need to reseal. Reach out to us with any of your cement tile maintenance questions. We’re happy to help you keep your tiles looking beautiful for years to come!    





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