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How to Clean Stained Tiles with Stubborn Dirt on Them

by Marius Morgenberg

Over time, your bathroom tiles may start appearing stained and dirty, and what's worse, no bathroom cleaning product will clean it, no matter how you scrub.  It appears that the dirt and stains have become part of the tiles.   Scrubbing them hard or with steel wool or something may just scratch and damage the tiles.

Usually the first thing you think of is that the tiles finally need replacing.  I probably don't have to remind you that replacing them is going to be very expensive, so you might put it off and keep delaying it, meanwhile living with the dirty browned tiles for years and years. 

Well, today I'll tell you about my adventure and discovery, and best of all, solution to the problem. 

Firstly, you have to understand what is causing this: 

Usually it it because of letting a wet bathroom floor dry by itself.  The water and the limescale in the water mixes with any dust and dirt on the floor, perhaps with some soap that may be in the water, and dust may also come lie on it.  Pretty soon all the water evaporates away, but the limescale mixed with dirt stay behind.  This dirty limescale hardens and is impossible to scrub off, no matter what bathroom cleaning product you use.  It is like stone. 

So, always dry your bathroom floor.  Don't let any water spillage from the bath or shower dry by itself.  

But ok, your bathroom floor is stained brown from limescale and dirt, so how do you get it off? 

Well, don't do what I did when I was still wondering what on earth this stubborn dirt was, and use chlorine on the floor to clean it.  The chlorine did nothing whatsoever to the stains, but just the chlorine vapours completely bleached all my clothes that were in the bathroom wardrobe.  I could not believe chlorine vapours could be that strong!  Guess you learn something every day.

Then finally one day after cleaning my kettle, it came to me that perhaps the problem on the tile floor is caused by limescale.  I never thought so because limescale is whitish, while these stains are brown.  But, it turns out the problem indeed is limescale. 

So, here's what you need:  A descaler.  You can get limescale remover here.

Once you have it, here is how you clean with it, more or less - the type of descaler you buy will come with its own instructions. Follow those.

First, sweep your bathroom floor to make sure all the loose dust and dirt is off of it.   Open all the windows and doors, and make sure you have very good ventilation. Really, have as good ventilation as you can. Those descaling fumes really can't be healthy. 

Mix the descaler as recommended.  The type I used was a rugged powder that you dilute into hot water.  So mix your solution in a bucket, and pour it over your floor. 

As soon as the solution comes into contact with limescale, it will start fizzing.  The fizzing means the limescale is dissolving. 

Note though that some descaler types are not that strong, and will have to be left for an hour on the limescale stains. This type of slow working descaler is probably safer for use, but too slow for me. I just used the same kind that I used in the kettle, which is very fast working. It simply fizzes everything away in just a few minutes.

After about five or ten minues, you can use a spongebroom or floorsweeper and dustpan to scoop up and get rid of all the water.

Simply mop the tiles clean now.   

Some areas you'll find need a second treatment, so just repeat the treatment on those areas, perhaps with a stronger more concentrated mixture, only on those parts. 

Here is the results I had: 

BEFORE TREATMENT:

AFTER FIRST TREATMENT:

AFTER SECOND TREATMENT:

Good as new!  Here is another part of the bathroom:

BEFORE DESCALING:

AFTER FIRST DESCALING:

AFTER SECOND DESCALING (Probably needs to be descaled once or twice more):

TILE CLOSEUP WITH LIMESCALE BUILDUP:

TILE FLOOR AFTER FIRST DESCALING, STILL SOME STAINING AROUND EDGES:

SAME TILES AS ABOVE, AFTER SECOND TREATMENT:

Voila!  Brand new-looking bathroom tiles without the expense.

You can get limescale remover here.


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