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Unread 09-27-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 51
How to clean dingy 90 yr old ceramic tile?

Greetings tile gurus!

I am volunteering at a faded Beaux Arts building that was built in 1918 as a school, and then devoted to local community theater back in the 1960s. Since its conversion to community use, maintenance has been all-volunteer, with expected results.

The bathrooms are original, with floors of 1" octagonal ceramic tile that started out white. Now the tile color is more beige/grey, and no one has figured out how to clean/brighten them. The latest plan is that someone has a floor steamer they plan to use.

As I understand it, if/when we get it looking peppier, we would need to reseal the tile and grout. Trouble is, how to get it clean and brighter looking. Old Dutch cleaner, lemon juice & baking soda, diluted bleach, other? I'd guess that the bath is approximately 20x20, and retiling is not an option for a long long time (the building needs a new roof which is top priority!)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We have a big event coming up Oct 12, and want to get ole Bessie in the best shape we can by then!

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Unread 09-27-2012, 06:06 PM   #2
Florida Tile & Stone Man
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Naples Fl.
Posts: 22,690
Our resident mod. Joe Gleason would very interested in your theatre.

My experience with people doing their own steaming is they break the grime loose and resdisperse it since they aren't using a soap to collect it and a wetvac to remove it.

I would use your steamer if you have a stuck grime problem.Followed by a tile cleaner or an industrial cleaner from HD or lowes.I like the Red jug from Lowes.
First i would mop on the cleaner and let it sit awhile.Then if i had one i would use a buffer to agitate it and the steamer if needed to get into the joints.Then i would use a wetvac,(or a pressure extractor would be better)and remove the crud.Then redo if needed or just rinse.

As far as sealing,typically the tile itself doesn't get sealed,just the grout.Unless it's worn or handmade.Dupont,or Miracle are both good,and easily found.

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