Saturday, September 25

How to restore shine to tiles

Jacinta, reader and partner of, write to us asking for advice to restore the shine, as far as possible, to the tiles in your bathroom and kitchen, as well as to your hydraulic floor; in turn, he warns us that his house, near the Plaza de Los Carros, in Madrid, is more than 100 years old, so these surfaces look very tarnished.

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Certainly, in the old houses of the La Latina neighborhood of Madrid (the one that this partner cites), the Ensanche of Barcelona or the center of Bilbao, Zaragoza, Valencia and other cities, they preserve hydraulic floors with beautiful designs, as well as solid tiles from the old ones, thick and white.

The problem, as Jacinta points out, is that many have been badly over the years, as well as a poor and inefficient cleaning that has left them almost imperishable dirt stains. In the case of tiles and especially in the kitchen, when we try to clean them we always have a kind of stain or a greasy layer that is difficult to remove.

It is generally due to repeated use of the kitchen without extractor fan or with an old one, saturated and of inadequate power, which leaves the walls impregnated and with a dull, matte tone, with a sad appearance.

In the case of soils, on the other hand, they either show the very worn drawings and a rough surface, a sign that they have lost their tone, or have stains from having used unsuitable products on them.

In both cases the easiest solution is to call a professional polisher. But if we want to save the cost of an operator, or we judge that our floors can be recovered without their assistance, we can opt for the following solutions.

Talc for tiles

To remove the annoying greasy layer from the tiles, it is recommended to go through them first a solution of water with white vinegar with a sponge, and rub so that the dirt comes out. However, we will not dry immediately, but we will apply a lot of talc on a dry cloth and then rub the tiles with it.

In this way we will allow the talc soak up not just the vinegar but also that everlasting layer of fat, product of the kitchen fumes, which impregnated us and extinguished the shine of our tiles, which will thus recover their former splendor (as far as possible). We can apply the same technique in the bathrooms. However, if there is mold, we must study how to eliminate it in a safe and ecological way.

Baking soda in soils

In the case of hydraulic floors, the first thing we must do is make sure that we wash them properly: we must avoid at all costs products that contain bleach or ammonia on these soils, as they are very aggressive and will wear down your patterns.

The best solution is use a neutral soap and dilute it well in warm water, to respect the soil. The use of polishing waxes is not recommended either because in the long term they end up leaving a patina that achieves the opposite when it ages: they dull the floor.

A much cheaper and more decisive solution, after having scrubbed the floor well as we have indicated, is to fill a bucket with water and pour 50 milliliters (about five tablespoons) of vinegar along with two to three tablespoons of baking soda. With the mixture we will scrub the floor again and then we will dry it with a dry cloth.

Also in this case as far as possible, that is to say of the soil conditions over time, we can restore the floor to its former glory. And if the floor were terrazzo, we would choose to scrub it, this one, with ammonia very diluted in a bucket of water to restore its shine.

We will always carry out this last operation after having previously scrubbed the floor with warm water and neutral soap and drying it with a cloth. On the other hand, although it is obvious, it should be said to finish: let’s not forget vacuum or sweep well before starting this series of operations.

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