Preserve the look of your granite, marble or tile countertop with these maintenance tips.
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Tile comes in two types: glazed and unglazed. Smooth glazed tile is tough, but brittle and easily scratched, while the surface of unglazed tile can absorb cleaning products. Finally, grout, used to set tile in place, is porous and traps moisture, mold and mildew.
For regular cleaning of glazed ceramic tile — the shiny tile most commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms — use a nonabrasive spray cleaner. Spray window cleaner leaves a nice finish, but avoid heavily colored commercial sprays, as the bright-colored cleaning solution can discolor porous grout.
Heavily soiled glazed ceramic tile requires bigger guns: an abrasive cleanser or scouring powder. For a seriously stained kitchen counter or grimy shower wall, apply a thin paste of cleanser containing a bleaching agent and water, and allow to stand for 15 minutes to several hours before wiping away cleanser haze. Rinse the area well with water, then wipe dry.
Clean unglazed ceramic tile with a natural sponge lightly dampened with a solution of water and non-soap detergent or commercial tile cleaner.
Avoid using acid-based cleaners, such as white vinegar, on tiled areas. Acid attacks the grout, causing it to crumble. Stay away from steel wool, as it will scratch the surface of ceramic tiles.