Backsplash tiles can quickly become dirty and stained from cooking splatters, grease, dust, and everyday wear and tear. While they add style and personality to your kitchen, keeping backsplash tiles clean should be a priority not only for aesthetics but for hygiene as well. The good news is that cleaning backsplash tiles is relatively easy if you use the right techniques and products. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to properly clean backsplash tiles to keep them looking like new.
Before detailing the step-by-step process, you’ll need to gather the appropriate supplies:
- Mild detergent or dish soap
- Warm water
- Soft cleaning sponge or cloth
- Old toothbrush
- Vinegar or ammonia-based cleaner (optional)
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection (if using harsh chemicals)
- Stepladder (if needed)
Avoid abrasive cleaners, brushes or scouring pads as they can scratch and damage the grout and tile surface. Now let’s go over the cleaning steps.
Step 1: Dust and Dry Wipe
Wipe down the backsplash tiles with a soft microfiber cloth to remove any loose dust and debris. This will prevent smearing dirt around during the wet cleaning process.
Step 2: Mix Cleaning Solution
Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap. For tougher grease stains, you can use a bit of vinegar or ammonia-based cleaner instead. Avoid using too much cleaner as it can leave a film.
Step 3: Apply Cleaning Solution
Dip a soft sponge or cleaning cloth into the solution and wring out excess water. Apply the solution onto the backsplash tiles. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes so it can dissolve grease and grime.
Step 4: Scrub and Wipe Away
Gently scrub the tiles in a circular motion using the sponge or cloth. Make sure to get into crevices and grout lines. Rinse frequently with clean water to remove dirt and grease. Wipe the tiles dry with a soft cloth as you go to prevent streaks.
Step 5: Spot Clean Stubborn Stains
Inspect for any remaining sticky spills or stains. Use a stiff nylon brush or old toothbrush dipped in the cleaning solution to gently scrub and dissolve the messes away. Vinegar or ammonia work especially well for this.
Step 6: Clean Grout
Apply a small amount of cleaning solution directly onto a grout brush or old toothbrush. Lightly scrub along the grout lines to lift dirt from the crevices. Wipe away any grime with a damp cloth.
Step 7: Rinse and Dry
Once all visible dirt is removed, rinse the entire backsplash with clean water to eliminate cleaning solution residue. Wipe the tiles completely dry with a towel to prevent water spots and streaks.
Cleaning Tips and Tricks
- Always use a mild cleaning solution – harsh chemicals can damage the tile glaze or grout.
- Change the rinse water frequently to prevent redistributing grime.
- Microfiber cloths easily trap dirt and don’t leave behind lint.
- Allow tiles to fully dry to prevent mold or mildew growth in crevices.
- Clean backsplashes regularly to prevent heavy buildup of grease and dirt.
- Re-seal grout every 1-2 years to protect from stains and damage.
Caution When Using Harsh Chemicals
For extremely dirty or neglected backsplashes, you may need to use a stronger cleaner containing bleach, ammonia or acidic compounds. Take proper precautions:
- Wear gloves and eye protection.
- Work in a well-ventilated area.
- Rinse repeatedly with clean water.
- Never mix chemical products like bleach and ammonia – it creates toxic fumes!
Only use the powerful cleaners when absolutely necessary and with great care.
When to Call for Professional Help
In some circumstances, it’s best to call a professional tile and grout cleaning service for assistance:
- Severely stained or damaged grout that cannot be revived.
- Tiles damaged from improper cleaning techniques.
- Accumulation of soap scum, hard water deposits, or rust stains.
- Large tile installations like commercial kitchens or bathrooms.
Professionals have commercial-grade equipment, strong chemicals and the know-how to deep clean tiles and revitalize damaged grout. The costs are reasonable considering the time and hassle they save.
Maintaining Clean Backsplash Tiles
Once your backsplash tiles are sparkling clean, be sure to maintain them by:
- Wiping up spills and splatters quickly to prevent staining.
- Sweeping or dusting tiles regularly.
- Mixing up a weekly cleaning solution to tackle grease buildup.
- Using a grout pen to touch up dingy grout lines.
- Re-applying grout sealer every 1-2 years.
With the right care, your beautiful backsplash tiles will stay looking new for years to come! Let us know if you have any other tips for keeping backsplashes clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I clean backsplash tiles?
Backsplashes should be cleaned thoroughly once a week at minimum. Quick daily wipe downs will also help maintain cleanliness and remove splatters before they have a chance to dry and harden.
What’s the safest cleaning solution for most tiles?
A mild solution of warm water and dish soap or detergent is generally safe for cleaning ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles. Avoid anything too acidic or abrasive that could etch or damage the tile surface.
My tiles have hazy buildup – what should I use?
Hard water deposits, soap scum, mineral deposits from food, and greasy film can leave tiles looking hazy. Use a solution of warm water and ammonia or vinegar to dissolve the buildup, then rinse well.
How can I make grout white again?
Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a spreadable paste. Apply to grout lines and let sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. The combination naturally whitens and brightens discolored grout.
Is it okay to use bleach on backsplash tiles?
In moderation, bleach can disinfect tiles and remove some tough stains. However, take care to thoroughly rinse the tiles and never mix bleach with vinegar or ammonia due to the toxic fumes produced.
Cleaning backsplash tiles doesn’t need to be a daunting chore if you use the proper cleaning solutions and techniques. With a little bit of time and elbow grease, you can keep your backsplash tiles looking fresh, clean and stylish. Be sure to clean splatters quickly before they have a chance to dry and harden. Deep clean the entire backsplash at least weekly to remove grease buildup and grime from the grout lines. With the proper care, your beautiful backsplash can stay in top shape for years of cooking and entertaining!