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The kitchen is the busiest part of the house. This is often the area with the heaviest traffic and where various activities are held – be it cooking, eating, playing, doing schoolwork, or just hanging out. For such a multifunctional space, tile is always a wise choice of material for floors, countertops, and even walls. Tile is durable. It is built for heavy-duty use and not easily damaged by moisture, heat, and sharp or heavy objects.

Yet, however sturdy kitchen tile may be, a regular maintenance routine is still required to preserve the material and keep its finish looking presentable. Daily cleaning is advised, since kitchen surroundings are exposed everyday to food, oil and liquid spills. Dirt and grime are easily visible, especially when many kitchens sport white or light-colored tiles.

Kitchens are often the most humid part of the house and moisture is the chief cause of mold growth on grout. Mold and mildew are favorite breeding grounds for bacteria and no homeowner would want that in an area where food preparation and eating takes place. Moreover, dirty tile is not only unhygienic; it may also be a safety risk. Grease splattered during cooking and left on tile for a long time gives off bad odors, and can also lead to fire.

The good news is cleaning tile floors can be simple as long as homeowners make it a regular habit. Daily sweeping and a thorough weekly mopping with warm water will wash off dirt and residue and keep tile surfaces shiny.

For tile countertops and walls, experts often recommend using cleaning agents such as simple household cleaners or a neutral PH tile cleaner. To avoid too much detergent residue, a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, plus a little ammonia will also work best for most types of tile (except for those made of natural stone). Just pour or spray cleaner directly on the affected area and leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse with water. In case of stains, scrub first using a brush or scrubbing pad then rinse.

Pay special attention to cleaning grout since its porous material attracts and traps more dirt and grime. A toothbrush is the ultimate tool for this task, as it can target hard-to-reach and narrow areas. Flood grout with cleaner (an oxidized bleach mixture is effective against stains and mildew), leave for as long as possible, and then brush away.

During and after cleaning sessions it’s best to open kitchen doors and windows to allow air to circulate and dry off newly-rinsed tile and grout. With regular care and cleaning the kitchen will be spotless, sparkling, and suitable for yet another day of busy activity.