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Caring for Saltillo Tiles

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Saltillo tiles are a type of terra-cotta tile that is made from natural clay. Because of the tile’s softness and high porous nature, it soaks up liquids very easily. Once your tiles have been installed, they can scuff or stain very easily, so a Saltillo tiled floor requires special care and should be sealed with a sealant such as Aldon’s Mexiglaze for protection.

Cleaning an Unsealed Floor

You’ll need to use an alkaline cleaner for Saltillo tiles. Mix the cleaning solution with hot water as directed by the manufacturer and pour it over your floor. The solution should sit for about 15 minutes to allow it to loosen up the dirt. Never allow the cleaning solution to dry on the tiles. You’ll need to continually reapply the solution while you’re cleaning the tiles.

After 15 minutes, you can begin to scrub both the tiles and grout with a heavy-duty scrub brush or scrub pad without worrying about scratching the tile. When all the dirt has been scrubbed away, use a bucket of hot water and a mop to rinse away the remaining cleaning solution.

Cleaning a Sealed Floor

If your Saltillo tiles have been sealed, you do need to be a little more careful when you clean them. You’ll need to make sure that you have thoroughly diluted the alkaline cleaner and you need to avoid leaving the cleaner too long on the tile surface because it will begin to break down the topical sealer.

When scrubbing the sealed Saltillo tile, only use a soft scrub pad to avoid scratching the surface of the sealer. After thoroughly rinsing the tiles with hot water, the topical sealer will re-harden and should look like new again. For extremely dirty sealed tiles, it may be necessary to strip the tile.