Things I know about cleaning ceramic tiles

Sugar soap
Good for getting off ‘ordinary’ dirt – dust, sand, residual grout etc. NOT good for getting off:

  • dried gyprock splotches
  • cement dust and splotches
  • paint spots

Tip: don’t use too much – you’ll be using bucketloads of water to rinse off the slippery glaze for hours. Guess how I know this.

‘Internet’ mix of white vinegar, warm water and eucalyptus oil
Good for getting off most cement dust and any residual (or fresh) dust, sand etc. NOT good for getting off:

  • dried gyprock splotches
  • cement splotches
  • paint spots

Tip: don’t let the internet Handy Household Hints sites fool you – vinegar is not the cure-all it’s cracked up to be.

Tip 2: neat eucalyptus oil IS good for getting boot polish smears off ceramic tiles. Guess how I know this.

Hardware-store quality tile cleaner – sulfamic acid
Good for getting off residual grout and cement dust and any fresh dust, sand etc. NOT good for getting off:

  • dried gyprock splotches
  • cement splotches
  • paint spots

Tip: when using acid cleaning products, make sure you buy good quality rubber gloves that can withstand chemicals, and wear safety glasses when applying. That way, when you find out that the acid hasn’t worked, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you applied it without being a danger to yourself or others. And that makes such a difference. Guess how I know this.

Hydrochloric acid
Good for getting off dried gyprock splotches (hooray!), cement splotches (hooray!), residual (and fresh – because it just keeps on coming) dust, sand etc. NOT good for:

  • paint spots! Jesus Christ! I just want clean tiles. Okay, I’ll get some acetone. Or maybe some product called Goof Off.

Tip: ensure you have someone else around to apply the HCl because, really, after trying everything else, you’re likely to get careless with the ratio of acid to water, and what good are the rubber gloves and safety glasses if the acid eats what’s left of the grout after the sugar soap, vinegar, eucalyptus oil and sulfamic acid have done their bit. This is a good tip.

*sigh*

To be continued …

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