Tile School: The 101 on Tile Care and Maintenance | Fireclay Tile
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Know Before You Buy

Tile School: The 101 on Tile Care and Maintenance

By Shannon Malone

Tile School: The 101 on Tile Care and Maintenance


Tile shown: 3" Hexagon in Boundary Waters, Azurine, Basil, and Sea Foam; Image: Brittany Runyan

There’s a lot to love about tile. Durable, heat-resistant, and water-repellant, it’s both a practical and beautiful design solution for your space. With just a little maintenance and TLC, you’ll be able to enjoy your new tile for years.

The Basics

Clean your tile with a clean rag, warm water and diluted dishwashing soap or a cleaner. Diluted dishwashing soap can do the job without having to worry about damaging the tile or stripping the sealer from your grout. In general, we recommend using cleaners with neutral pH levels, as cleaners with acid can damage the grout and glazed surface of the tile. You’ll also want to avoid using steel wool pads or scouring pads that can also scratch the surface of your tile. And always wipe away spills or messes immediately after use so they don’t damage the glaze or sink into the grout. A little clean up will go a long way!

To maintain tiled floors, regularly vacuum and sweep your floors to protect tile from abrasive debris like dirt and sand. Placing mats in high traffic areas like entrances, exits, and sinks can keep dirt from tracking in and prevent wear.


Tile shown: Ogee Drop in Rainy DaySea Glass, and Tusk; Image: VIE Magazine

Pro Tip: Keep your tile samples! They’re great for trying out cleaning solutions without affecting your installation. If you don’t have sample or can’t find them, try the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous section of your installation before using it on the rest of your tile.


Our Recycled Tile doesn’t need sealer. However, our White Tile should be treated with a coat of penetrating sealer after grouting and drying, and the once per year thereafter. We’ve specified our tiles that are non-acid resistant in our Tile Spec Sheet. These tiles should be sealed, especially in wet environments like bathrooms (we don’t recommend using White Tile for pools).


Tile shown: 2 x 6 in Foggy Morning


A sealant like Penetrating Water Stop should be applied to frosted matte finishes. This can help prevent the appearance of smudges and fingerprints on the tiles.

You don’t want to use acid to clean Glass Tiles, which can permanently scratch or damage the glass surface. Products like Windex®, ammonia mixed with water, or vinegar mixed with water are gentle enough for cleaning glass tile.

Allow tile installations in wet areas such as swimming pools, fountains and showers to cure for at least 21 days before immersing it in water.


Glass shown: 1 x 4 Mosaic in Prickly Pear: Image: Malcom Fearon Photography


When it comes to our Thin Brick tile, minimal maintenance is required. You don’t need to use sealant on brick, and mild soap and water should be sufficient for most cleaning (although we still encourage that you test it out before daily use).


Brick colors shown: Cotton and Snow; Image: Malcolm Fearon Photography


Seal your grout to ward off staining and discoloration from harsh cleaners and hard water. Allow grout to cure (or dry) for a minimum of 7 days before cleaning (you should consult the grout manufacturer’s recommended dry time). To clean grout haze, use a weak vinegar solution with a soft rag or a manufactured grout haze remover type cleaner.

Have questions about caring for your tile?  Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you soon.