How to Clean & Seal Old Tile Floors

Written by rachel terry
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How to Clean & Seal Old Tile Floors
Restore an old tile floor by cleaning and sealing it. (Carrelage image by lamax from

Over time, old tile floors lose their original finish and seal, making them susceptible to stains, cracks and other damage. Unsealed tile floors are also more difficult to keep clean because they are porous. To restore your old tile floor, you'll need to clean it well and then seal the tile. This process will add many more years to the life of your tile floor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Broom or vacuum
  • Toothbrush
  • Scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mop
  • Sealant stripper
  • Towel
  • Sealant
  • Sponge
  • General spray cleaner

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  1. 1

    Move all furniture and rugs off the floor and store them in another room.

  2. 2

    Apply the sealant stripper to the tile with a wet mop. Wear rubber gloves to avoid contact with your skin. Use a scrub brush to work the sealant stripper into the floor. In order to keep the stripper from drying on the floor, focus on about 25 square feet at a time. Remove the residue with a wet mop or sponge. Rinse the floor with clean water and allow the floor to dry.

  3. 3

    Thoroughly sweep or vacuum the tile floor. Use the crevice tool on your vacuum to clean all the corners of the room.

  4. 4

    Mop the floor using warm water and a mild detergent. If you encounter any stains while mopping, spray the stains with a general household spray cleaner. Allow the spray to sit for five minutes before scrubbing the spot or mopping a little more vigorously over the stains.

  5. 5

    Use a toothbrush and spray cleaner to scrub the grout lines. Spray a grout line, scrub it with the toothbrush and then wipe away any grime with a wet rag. Repeat this process on the entire floor. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas.

  6. 6

    Apply the new sealant with a mop. Work quickly, and don't allow the sealant to stand in puddles or run up against the walls. Allow the floor time to dry thoroughly between coats. Apply at least two to three coats of sealant for a long-lasting seal.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves and a mask with an air filter while you work with the sealant stripper. The stripper contains toxic chemicals that could hurt your skin and lungs.

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