Caring For Your New Kitchen

Cabinetry

Granite

Engineered Stone(Cambria, CeaserStone and Zodiaq)

Marble

Stainless Steel

Soapstone

Solid Surface(Corian, Avonite, Gibralter and Staron)

Laminate(Wilsonart, Pionite, Nevamar and Formica)

Wood/Butcher Block Tops

Hardwood Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

Ceramic Tile

Top of Page

Cabinetry

General Care Tips:

1. Excess water, when left unattended, can cause white spots and haziness to the finish and even damage the wood itself. Always remove excess liquid promptly, especially in moisture-prone areas such as sink, range, dishwasher and baseboard areas

2. Direct sunlight can cause exposed areas to lighten or darken over time. When possible, keep cabinets out of direct sunlight or draw curtains during the sunniest part of the day.

3. Smoke and grease can form a hard film over time, dulling the finish. Routine cleaning can prevent long-term damage.

4. Extremes in temperature and moisture can cause wood to expand and contract, eventually damaging the finish. Try to avoid exposing your cabinets to very hot and cold environments, such as near radiators or in garages.

For routine cleaning a soft cotton cloth dampened with warm water is usually sufficient to clean your cabinets. If more thorough cleaning is required, use one of the following cleaning solutions: a fresh solution of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water or a mild all-purpose cleaner that does not contain ammonia or silicone. Using stronger, harsher chemicals may damage or discolor the finish on your cabinetry. Finish cleaning by wiping the surfaces with a clean, damp cloth and dry the surfaces using another soft, clean cloth.

When spills occur, clean them immediately. Prolonged exposure to spills, including food, water or other liquids, or to oil and grease splatters, can cause permanent discoloration or damage the surfaces of your cabinetry.

Pay attention to areas near the sink, range, dishwasher and keep those surfaces dry as they tend to accumulate excess moisture which can damage the cabinet surface.

Don't drape dish towels over cabinets doors because they will promote mold development on the cabinets and could cause permanent damage to the cabinet surface.

Avoid cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaning products. Do not clean cabinets with sponges or dish clothes as they may contain food and oil residue or particles that could scratch the cabinets. Avoid solvent-based or petroleum-based products, products that contain ammonia, bleach, and silicone-based products.

Use a clean, soft cotton cloth or feather duster for regular dusting.

Top of Page

Granite

The natural stone your have purchased for your home or office is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful services. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. Here are some recommendations for routine care and cleaning.

Granite countertops should be sealed when they are installed, and re-sealed once or twice a year to keep them looking their best. With a solvent-based sealer, the process should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Less-expensive water-based sealants can be more labor-intensive and are not as widely recommended.

To test if countertops are already sealed or if it is time to re-seal, spill a small amount of water on the surface. If it beads up, the granite is sealed. If the water begins to seep into the granite, it is time to re-seal.

Precautions

. Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface

. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

Cleaning Procedures & Recommendations

Floor Surfaces: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

Other Surfaces: Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

Bath and Other Wet Areas: In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Outdoor Pool & Patio Areas: In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Do's and Don'ts

. Do dust mop floors frequently

. Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap

. Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing

. Do blot up spills immediately

. Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats

. Don't use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub & tile cleaners

. Don't use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers

. Don't mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas

Top of Page

Engineered Stone

Cambria, CeaserStone and Zodiaq

This material requires simple and routine care to maintain. Cleaning with a damp cloth and a liquid detergent will do the job. Because Engineered Stone is impervious to stains, it will withstand daily exposure. Just wipe away and the surface is like new again.

Stubborn Stains or Dried Spills

Any multi-purpose cleaner or detergent can be used on these stains. For extra-stubborn spills use a white scouring pad to shift the dirt. It won't damage the tough surface. Cleaning liquids like bleach are also good for removing stains that seem to be hard to remove at first.

Spot Removal

To remove adhered materials, first scrape away the excess with a sharp blade. If there are any gray metal marks on the surface one of the regular cleaning agents will remove it. Finally, wash and rinse the surface in the normal way.

Polishing

Engineered Stone is non-porous and will therefore keep its lustrous gloss and ultra-smooth surface without polishing or sealing.

Heat Resistance

Engineered Stone can tolerate moderately hot temperatures for brief periods of time without being damaged. This makes these surfaces ideal for kitchens because an accidentally misplaced hot pot will not ruin the countertop. However, take care to avoid direct contact for a long time with very hot pots.

Tough? Yes - Indestructible? No

As with any surface, Engineered Stone can be permanently damaged by exposure to strong chemicals and solvents that undermine its physical properties. Do not use products that contain trichlorethane or methylene chloride, such as paint removers or strippers. Avoid any highly aggressive cleaning agents like oven/grill cleaner that have high alkaline/PH levels.

Should your surface accidentally be exposed to any of these damaging products, rinse immediately with water to neutralize the effect.

Honed Finish

Caesarstone's HONED FINISH will require more daily maintenance than our polished finishes. Since there is more exposed surface area with honed finishes, metal marks, finger prints and other signs of daily living will show on honed material. Most of these marks can be easily removed with little effort and cleaning products such as a white Scotch Bright pad, Windex and for tough stains, Softscrub with bleach.

Call your professional stone supplier, installer or restoration specialist for problems that appear too difficult to treat.

Top of Page

Marble

Marble is stone that is generally polished and used in fine building work, furniture, or decorative art. It may be white or colored. It is porous, and easily stained. Marble is etched by acids. Wipe off anything spilled on marble immediately, as you would on a wood surface. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on marble as they leave rings.

Marble may be stone, but it is porous and stains easily. Wipe off anything spilled on marble immediately, just as you would from a wood surface. Use coasters under beverage glasses to avoid moisture rings.

Regular Cleaning

Occasionally wash marble surfaces with lukewarm water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Wiping surface with a damp chamois will not leave streaks. Once or twice a year, depending on soil, wash with a mild detergent solution (hand dish-washing detergent and warm water), rinse and wipe dry.

A light coat of wax will protect the surface of marble but is not considered essential. Use colorless wax. Don't wax white marble as it may tend to yellow it. A marble sealer can be applied to clean marble, which will protect from staining and allow soil to be wiped off with a damp cloth.

Special Cleaning

Marble which has become dull can be livened up by using a commercial marble cleaner and polish. Companies generally carry imported polish-cleaners, which are used on softer imported marbles and hence safe for the harder U.S. marble. They work faster and easier than the old "marble care kits" which used to be distributed by marble companies.

Putty powder (tin oxide) can be used to polish dulled or etched surfaces, rubbing on with a damp cloth, folding and refolding to clean damp areas, and preferably using an electric polisher for buffing. However it's very hard to find. In the case of a everely damaged surface, contact your stone instalation professional.

. Don't use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces

Stain Removal

Make a poultice from white absorbent material such as a napkin, blotter, paper towel or facial tissue, dampened with the chemical recommended below to dissolve that stain; or mix whiting with that chemical to make a soft paste to cover the stain. The poultice should be left on the stain from 1 hour up to 48 hours, depending on the age and depth of the stain. Plastic wrap, held in place by masking tape, can be put over the poultice to keep it damp; otherwise it will have to be re-dampened with the chemical periodically. Mix only enough poultice for immediate use; mix a second batch later if another application is needed.

Organic Stains:

Tea, coffee, colors bleached from paper, textiles or soft drinks. Make poultice soaked with 20 percent peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.

Oil Stains:

Oil stains may include butter, hand cream or lotion. As soon as possible, spread surface with an absorbent fine powder such as whiting or even corn starch. After short time brush to remove and reapply more powder. Let stand 24 hours. To remove: Scrub with hot, sudsy (detergent) solution and stiff brush. Or wipe with ammonia-dampened cloth. In either case, then rinse and wipe dry. If these alkaline solutions don't remove all the oil, you can try a solvent. Make a poultice dampened with acetone or amyl acetate (available at drug stores), or with home dry cleaning fluid. Use good ventilation with windows open to remove fumes, do not use near spark or flame, and do not leave on too long.

Rust Stains:

Usually the result of metal items such as a lamp, metal container in which plant is placed etc. Use a commercial rust stain remover. Follow directions exactly and do not leave on surface very long as acid in many rust removers can etch the surface.

Etching:

Acids Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain on marble. Wipe up acid spill immediately, and wipe surface with wet cloth. If surfaced is etched, polishing may be required.

Top of Page

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel owes its corrosion resistance to a thin, transparent lightly adhering chromium oxide film that forms on the metal's surface. When this film is penetrated, it rapidly re-forms as long as oxygen is present. If the surface becomes contaminated with dirt or grease which prevents the oxygen from contacting the metal, corrosion (pitting and discoloration) will occur. Therefore it is necessary to keep the surface clean.

Clean regularly with water containing soap or mild detergents only and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse off surfaces with clean water. Polish dry with a soft cloth or proprietary stainless steel cleaning system.

Avoid use of abrasive cleaning materials: scouring powders, steel wool, steel brushes, etc.

Never use bleach and other chlorine based cleaners, nor acids, photographic development liquid, nor alkalis (caustic soda) and concentrated disinfectants on stainless steel.

If any of these liquids come into contact with stainless steel clean them off immediately with clean water, otherwise, over time, surface pitting will occur. Do not allow surface deposits to build up on the metal surface, e.g. powder detergents, mineral deposits and salts.

Always use panstands and trivets to protect stainless steel from rough, hot and wet pots, pans and utensils. Direct contact from iron, steel and copper vessels can discolour the metal surface.

If discolouration does occur, it can be removed by rubbing gently in line with the metal grain direction, using a fine Scotchbrite, or similar, plastic abrasive pad. We recommend that you test a small area beforehand.

Always use cutting boards to chop and slice food upon. Never cut directly onto steel surfaces.

Over time, with normal kitchen use, stainless steel surfaces will acquire a patina that reflects the use to which they have been put. It is normal for the metal finish to weather in this way and it is characteristic for stainless steel to mellow with the passage of time.

Top of Page

Soapstone

The only maintenance required for soapstone is ongoing applications of mineral oil. Soapstone is non-porous, and unlike marble and granite does not need to be sealed. However, applying mineral oil to soapstone surfaces will not only enhance its overall appearance, it will encourage its natural darkening and ensure that the stone will darken evenly.

There is no preferred method of applying mineral oil to your soapstone countertop, nor can you oil it too often. Applying mineral oil too little or in excess will not damage the soapstone. But you can make oiling your countertops that much easier. You’ll find that if you store your oiling cloth between uses in a plastic sealable bag, it will readily absorb the mineral oil, allowing it to spread the oil evenly on your countertops. Always remember to remove all of the excess oil so that you can keep your countertops from feeling slick to the touch.

Once the last application has begun to fade away you should apply another coat. You’ll notice that when you oil your soapstone countertops for the first time the stone will become significantly darker. That’s to be expected. Typically, after the first application of mineral oil most soapstone will begin to lighten again. That is the point when you can re-apply mineral oil to your countertops.

It will take approximately three coats for your soapstone countertops to reach their ultimate colour. After each application the countertops will retain the oil for a longer period of time. You’ll find that your soapstone countertops will remain permanently dark within six to eight months of mineral oil applications.

Cleaning your soapstone countertops is simple. As chemicals and acids will not cause any damage to soapstone, any common household cleaner can be used. However, using these types of cleaning products will have a tendency to remove the oil. Soap and water will do just fine, and it will not strip the mineral oil from your soapstone surfaces.

Although soapstone is a soft stone and therefore prone to scratches, unlike marble and granite, scratches can be easily removed with sanding and (or) another application of mineral oil. If you discover a deep scratch, you can use a small piece of 120 grit sandpaper, and in a circular motion sand away the scratch until it has almost disappeared. Then, with 220 grit sandpaper and water, sand the scratched area again and apply mineral oil to the area. With subsequent applications of mineral oil the original colour will return within a few days.

Top of Page

Solid Surface

(Corian, Avonite, Gibralter and Staron)

Cleaning:

Soap and water will clean most stains. For more stubborn stains use a green Scotch Brite® pad and an abrasive cleanser.

Scratches:

To remove scratches, start sanding with 240 grit paper and then clean with an abrasive cleanser and a green Scotch Brite® pad.

Polymer Sinks:

1. Use the Matte Finish cleaning and scratch removal procedures above.

2. To keep sink color bright, clean occasionally with liquid bleach and water.

SATIN FINISH

Cleaning:

Soap and water will clean most stains. For stubborn stains use a white Scotch Brite pad and a non-abrasive cleanser, such as Soft Scrub.

Scratches:

To remove scratches, start by sanding with 400 grit paper followed by 600 grit paper. Then clean the area with Soft Scrub and a white Scotch Brite pad. You may choose to spray a light coat of Protect All to enhance the luster.

HIGH GLOSS

Cleaning:

Soap and water will remove most stains. Use a polishing compound like 3M Perfect-It and a soft cloth to remove more stubborn stains.

Scratches:

To remove scratches from a high gloss finish, start sanding with 400 grit paper. The surface must then be machine polished back to its original finish. Consumers should contact their fabricator if they do not own or have access to this equipment.

DO'S AND DON'TS

Always use a hot pad or trivet under hot pots or heat producing appliances.

Always us a cutting board.

Never stand on your counters.

Avoid harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners and paint removers.

For high gloss counters place felt protectors on the bottom of pottery or other hard objects.

Avoid sliding hard objects across these glossy surfaces.

Always run cool water when pouring boiling water into polymer sinks.

Top of Page

Laminate

Wilsonart, Pionite, Nevamar and Formica

General care:

* Avoid dropping heavy objects on them. Laminate countertops are pretty tough, but the laminate itself can be damaged by a particularly nasty drop. Take care when lifting heavy items onto the counters or over them.

* Don't let them burn. Laminate counters by their nature can be damaged by particularly hot items. Do not place hot pots and pans directly on their surface. Instead, use hotplates, hot pads or even heavy towels to protect the surface.

* Avoid cuts. Make sure not to cut directly on the surface of laminate counters. Use cutting boards, stones or plates instead to protect the finish and surface of the counters. This practice is required for just about every counter top out there. Using the right cutting techniques not only protects the counters, it also protects the knives.

* Be careful with water. Too much water flooded onto a laminate counter top can cause problems with the seams. If water gets inside, the substrate can swell and ruin the appearance of the counter tops.

* Don't use harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals that have acid in the mix do not go well with laminates. Avoid using them on or near these counters. The types of cleaners to exercise care with include such things as drain unclogging agents, metal cleaners, ceramic cleaners and even rust and lime removers.

Basic cleaning for laminate counter tops is very similar to the care instructions for most other counters. The instructions include:

* Simple cleaning. Wipe up these counters with a clean, soft cloth for basic, everyday cleaning. This will help remove surface dust and dirt without damaging finish.

* Tough stains. Mild household cleaners generally work very well on getting stains out. Avoid using harsh abrasive cleansers. Do not use abrasive sponges or steel wool on laminates. For really bad stains, create a paste out of baking soda and water. Blot this up rather than scrubbing and scraping. Take care to wipe up spills as quickly as possible as laminates can stain permanently.

* Waxing. There are special waxes for laminates that can help create a protective surface to stop stains from sinking in. These waxes should be used on a fairly regular basis to help protect the appearance of counters. Reapplications should be done if the surface wax becomes worn.

Laminate counter tops are a little more susceptible to damage than some of the other options out there. Still, these counters can be beautiful additions to any home. With proper care and cleaning, they can look great for years to come.

Top of Page

Wood/Butcher Block Tops

A solid wood surface finished with a polyurethane based varnish requires no maintenance at all. Nevertheless, some scratches, cut marks and other similar damages might be difficult to repair with touch-ups; therefore extra care will be required. On the other hand, a mineral oil finishing needs to be applied periodically but in turn, it allows you to easily fix minor damage, and to renew the surface whenever necessary.

Assuming you followed the instructions regarding finishing before installation, you will need to apply a new coat of oil every month during the first year and once every six months or so ever after. You should be advised, however, that there is not any carved in stone set of rules regarding how often you should re-oil your butcher block. A lot of external factors could come into play. Dry winter months, air conditioners, the vicinity of a stove burner, for instance, will cause the wood to dry up faster and, therefore, require a more frequent re-oiling. The golden rule, therefore, would be to apply a new coat of oil every time the wood begins loosing its “oily shine” and starts looking dry.

For maintenance purposes, you will need to oil the topside and the edges only. As the wood is already saturated, it might take a bit longer for the oil to completely cure and some excess oil might remain on the top surface.

Sanding the damaged area and re-oiling it can conveniently repair almost any scratch, cut mark, watermark, food stain, or similar damage. Similarly, if you choose to re-shape your solid wood top, you have to subsequently oil carefully all the exposed areas.

Routine cleaning is done with soap and water; do not use cleaning solutions on your butcher block under any circumstances. The butcher block should be cleaned after each use and at least once a couple of months when not used.

Please be advised that a mineral oil finishing will offer a weak protection against harsh chemicals such as bleach or pipe-draining acids. Polyurethane-based varnishes do not have these limitations.

Top of Page

Hardwood Flooring

Few things match the beauty of hardwood flooring, and with simple proper maintenance, your hardwoods can retain the sheen, warmth and durability that make them a classic flooring choice. It is important to remember that in caring for your hardwood floors, you are actually caring for two separate surfaces – the finish, and the hardwood beneath.

The first thing to remember is to keep grit off the floor. Those fine particles of dirt and dust can act like sandpaper on your hardwoods, and subtly scratch and dull your hardwood finish. Vacuum hardwoods at least once a week, and dust mop or sweep the floors in between vacuuming.

When spills on your hardwood floors happen, immediately clean them, and tracked-on dirt, with a clean, soft cloth. After wiping the spill away, dry the area with a dry cloth. Moisture is the enemy of both the hardwoods and their finishes; never allow a wet area to stand.

Use protective mats, runners and area rugs. Rugs at exterior doors reduce the amount of dirt and grit that can enter your house, and mats and runners in high traffic areas will reduce the wear on your hardwood surfaces. Mats, rugs and runners can capture an amazing amount of dirt, so be certain to shake them out often and clean them regularly.

Be careful about the movement of chairs and tables on hardwoods; this can cause excessive wear to the floor’s finish. Use felt or fabric covered casters or glides on all furniture legs that come in contact with the floor, and replace them regularly. When moving a piece of furniture, lift it, don’t slide it. If it is too heavy to be lifted, place a towel or heavy sock under each leg to avoid damaging the floor.

Be mindful of what kinds of footwear are best for hardwood floors. High heels or shoes with deep treads that can hold grit or small stones can create permanent gouges or marks.

Keep the humidity in your home between 45 and 55%. Excessive humidity can cause wood fibers to swell, causing cracks and buckles in the finish. Unusually dry conditions can cause separations between the floor boards. Depending on which extreme you are encountering, install a humidifier or dehumidifier.

Select the appropriate cleaner; the right cleaner will match the specific needs of your hardwood flooring’s finish. Never use any product on your hardwood floors until you have carefully read the label. If it does not specifically say “suitable for hardwood floors,” don’t use it! Also, never use self polishing waxes, vinyl or tile floor care products. Although they may leave your floors looking glossy at application, the polishes will discolor over time, and will create problems when future refinishing of your hardwood floors is required. Be careful not to over-clean your hardwoods – too much cleaning with commercial products will ultimately dull the finish.

Also, never pour water or allow water to puddle on your hardwood floor. Water and wood are not a good combination, especially if you have applied a wax finish to your floors. Remove any wet spots from your hardwoods immediately, and dry the area thoroughly.

If your hardwood floors are sealed (that is, have a polyurethane finish), use clear vinegar and hot water on a barely damp cloth to clean them. Commercial cleaning products can damage the polyurethane surface, and make adhesion of a new coat of polyurethane in the future a problem. And never use wax on sealed wood floors. It can create a dangerously slippery surface, and also create difficulties should a future recoating of polyurethane be necessary.

If your hardwood floors are waxed, decide between a buffable and non-buffable wax product, and stay with it. Mixing the two can cause a dull and streaky finish. Buffable waxes are a good choice for high traffic areas; non-buffable waxes (which contain acrylics) are recommended for low traffic areas or areas protected by rugs. And never use a cleaning product that includes or requires water on a waxed floor. Carefully read the products label, and be certain it is compatible with the kind of wax you are using. And never wax over dirt!

By following these few simple steps, your beautiful hardwood floors will be as satisfying in years to come as they were the day they were installed.

Top of Page

Vinyl Flooring

Over the years, vinyl flooring has earned its place as the most popular flooring material for kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms and other high activity areas. As expected, high activity areas require more attention, but the ease of cleaning and maintaining vinyl just secures its place as the favored flooring for busy rooms.

Regular care of vinyl floors is amazingly simple. Daily vacuuming, sweeping or mopping will help maintain the original shine and color of a vinyl floor for years. Quick clean up of spots and spills with a mild detergent and water will prevent discoloration of the flooring, and a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning with a commercial floor cleaner keeps the floor looking as good as new.

Before mopping with a cleaning solution, sweep the floor thoroughly to remove as much dust, lint and loose dirt as possible. Then simply mop with the solution to remove the more stubborn dirt from the floor. Be sure to rinse the floor with clean water after mopping with the detergent solution; residue from the detergent can form a sticky film on the vinyl that clouds the finish and attracts more dirt.

Many commercial floor cleaning “protectors“ and “polishes” are available on the market that provide a glossy surface and seal to the vinyl. However, some of these are not appropriate for all vinyl floors, and may in fact dull the floor rather than polish it. Those suitable for vinyl floors will coat the surface to reduce wear and tear, and add an additional sheen to the surface. Inappropriate polishes will only dull the floor. Check your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations before using any of these floor polishing products.

As often as twice a year, you may want to “strip” your vinyl floor. A stripping solution (often provided by the manufacturer when your vinyl floor is installed) removes the inevitable buildup of oils and soap residues that even careful mopping cannot always get. The stripping solution should return your vinyl floor to its original condition, and allow regular cleaning to continue to maintain the floors shine.

There are also commercial refinishing products for vinyl floors. These are rarely used, and in fact are only appropriate where heavy wear has worn the surface of the vinyl floor away. The refinisher will reseal the vinyl and add a new lustrous coating to its surface, but should be used only when the vinyl floor’s original surface has been compromised, not as a polish. If you use a commercial refinishing product, follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

Vinyl flooring is tough, but still subject to scratches, dents and tears. It is a good idea to use felt pads under all furniture legs that are placed on vinyl floors. Also, the slick, shiny appearance of well-maintained vinyl floors makes sliding furniture seem easy, but it’s not a good idea. Always lift furniture off the vinyl when moving it.

With simple, regular care your vinyl floors should remain beautiful for years.

Top of Page

Ceramic Tile

The beauty, elegance and durability of ceramic tile has made it a favorite flooring choice for centuries, but these are not the only reasons for its popularity. Tile is surprisingly easy to maintain, and by using simple household products, you can keep your ceramic tile floors looking like new for years.

As with all flooring, the best care is regular care. Sweep or vacuum your ceramic tile floors at least once a week, more often if it gets regular use. Dust and lint can evolve into grime if they are not promptly removed, especially in areas where there is moisture.

Since ceramic tile is often used in “wet” areas of the home, it is likely that it will be subject to different spills and spots. Simple washing or mopping with hot water and a mild household detergent should wipe away anything that finds its way to your ceramic floors. The hot water helps loosen any dirt that collects in the spill, and the detergent lifts any oily substance on the floor. If a “once-over” is not enough to remove all of the spill, try a second pass over the floor with a sponge or mop. If the spill remains stubborn, you can use a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad to loosen the spot, but do not use steel wool or a metal brush, as these may scratch the surface of the tiles.

After washing a ceramic tile floor, be sure to thoroughly rinse the floor with clean water. This will remove any detergent residue from setting and attracting more dirt to your floor.

Occasionally, a tough stain will appear on a ceramic tile floor, especially floors with unglazed tiles, but these stains can also be easily removed. Prepare a paste of scouring powder and water, and firmly rub it onto the stain. Allow the paste to sit for at least 5 minutes, and then scrub it away with a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad. Repeat the process until the stain is completely gone, and then thoroughly wash and rinse the floor.

Even in the tidiest homes, mildew frequently finds its way, especially in bathrooms, spa areas and pool decks. Should mildew appear on your ceramic tile, use a simple solution of equal parts water and ammonia to remove it. Again, use a soft brush to clean away the mildew so you do not damage the tile or grout, and rinse the area thoroughly with clean water after the mildew is removed. Be sure the area is well ventilated when using the ammonia solution.

If the grout itself becomes stained or discolored, it can be brightened by a good cleaning with diluted bleach (3 parts bleach to 1 part water). Use the edge of a sponge or a toothbrush for this job, and be careful to keep the bleach solution away from other surfaces.

Even rust stains can be easily removed from ceramic tile. Commercial cleaners for rust stains that you can find in your local home supply store may do the job, or you can use regular kerosene to lift the offending rust. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when working with kerosene, and make sure the space is well ventilated.

The incidence of difficult stains on ceramic tiles is rare; its durability and imperviousness to stains is one of its great appeals, and regular cleaning will eliminate most of the stains on your floor. But should your tile or grout become a tougher cleaning problem, these simple methods should return your tile floor to its original beauty.

Top of Page