Ceramic tile is a good-looking, durable option for home flooring, and with regular care, it should last homeowners a remarkably long time. It’s very easy to maintain, however problems arise when moisture manages to seep into the tiling, allowing mold and mildew to grow in and around your tiling job. Fortunately, you don’t need to remove your entire floor to fix this problem – mildew in ceramic tile can easily be fixed with some persistence.
However, once you’ve done this at least on one occasion, you’ll probably agree that the best option from now on is: sweep once or more a week, and do a thorough floor cleaning once or twice a month.
Removing Mold and Mildew
Rid your ceramic tile of mold and mildew by mixing together a solution of ammonia (half cup), vinegar (half cup), and about a gallon of warm water.
- Never, ever mix bleach and ammonia – and you don’t want to use bleach on your ceramic tile, regardless.
You should also open a few windows, since ammonia can irritate the eyes or cause nausea due to its fumes. If you feel ill or dizzy, walk away from the project immediately. You may have a high sensitivity to ammonia, and you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible about any potential allergies.
Use a soft brush dipped in solution to lightly but firmly wash away the mildew, making sure not to damage your tiles or the grout. After the mildew is gone, rinse the area thoroughly with clean, cold water.
If the grout itself seems to have become stained by mold or mildew, shine it back up with a diluted bleach solution, being very careful to avoid your tiles or any other surfaces. Only use a toothbrush or thin sponge edge to do this, and don’t get any on your skin. Even diluted, bleach can be dangerous on sensitive flesh.
If mold or mildew has created a really difficult stain on your ceramic tiles, make up a paste using scouring powder and water, rubbing it into the stain firmly and thoroughly. Allow this to sit for five to ten minutes, and then use a scouring pad or soft brush to clean the paste off your tiles. Do this as many times as necessary to remove the mildew stain, and follow this with a normal, thorough floor washing.
In order to prevent mold and mildew from making its way into your home and under your ceramic tiles in the future, you should make sure the rooms in your home are well-ventilated and that there is a vapor barrier installed in front of each wall’s insulation.
To prevent reoccurring mold and mildew on tile grout, use a commercially available grout sealer, found at your local hardwood or department store. Apply this to the grout, and it will function as a water repellant by preventing water from getting into tiny spaces and cracks around each tile. Clean your grout and tiles on a regular basis as well, and make sure the room is ventilated enough for the tile to thoroughly dry.
Another option you have is to use a clear silicone waterproofing agent, which can also be applied to the grout. However, keep in mind that any grout sealant you use, no matter how high-tech it claims to be, should be re-applied once every six to twelve months, depending on how often the room containing your ceramic tile is used.