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How do I clean and polish terracotta tiles?

10 replies

hattiejacques · 05/09/2007 11:53

Does anyone know a good way to clean terracotta tiles and keep them from looking dull. We've recently moved and our tiles have a few unidentifiable whitish marks and I'm unsure how best to clean them properly. Do they need sealing as well?

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hattiejacques · 05/09/2007 18:30


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yaddayah · 05/09/2007 18:37

Ours are unsealed, I just wash them with a cloth dunked in soapy washing up water .. and buff with a dry cloth after, could the white stains be water marks ?

newlifenewname · 05/09/2007 18:38

I'll ask my dad but I think you need linseed.

hattiejacques · 05/09/2007 18:49

Thanks. I think some of them could be water marks. Some look like small bits of emulsion. A man in the tile shop tried to sell me a £17 bottle of restorer but I was unsure and he still said it would need sealing.

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dandycandyjellybean · 06/09/2007 09:52

I've got really old (100+ years) teracotta tiles in my sitting room, and aswell as being pocked and pitted, they too have these white water mark type things. After loads and loads of searching I bought something that was very good (if a ball ache to apply if I recall) - but am currently up to my eyes finishing of decorating ds room and preparing to go on holiday on Saturday (6am - 10pm straight through yesterday yawn yawn!) so if you bump this again when i get back next weekend i'll have time to have a dig around in the utility room and find it. hth

dandycandyjellybean · 06/09/2007 09:53

oh, and they will need sealing if you don't want them to look dull.

chipkid · 06/09/2007 09:54

to give them a sheen you should invest in one of those polishing machines! either than or go around in a thick pair of socks rubbing each tile with your feet!

haychee · 06/09/2007 10:09

linseed oil

Caroline1852 · 06/09/2007 10:10

We have hand made terracotta in our boot room. I go round with a strong bristle scrubbing brush (dry scrubbing) to lift any stains that are sitting on top. I put boiled linseed oil on them (make sure the tiles are completely dry) rubbing it in with a strong cloth (be careful with linseed oil as it really can spontaneously combust). I do 3 coats (more if I can) of linseed oil and then buff the top coat with one of those big looped loofahs (I think it is designed for car washing) until they gleam (or you could hire a polishing machine). I do this about once a year and between times you can just hoover and give it a mop (so long as the tiles have been properly sealed with the linseed oil which prevents the water getting into the tiles). There is another product - I think it is German - that is a milky looking product and you put it on with either a paintbrush or a sponge. You just leave it to dry. It seals and leaves a sort of shine. I think linseed oil is superior but obviously more work, much more.

hattiejacques · 06/09/2007 13:34

Thanks for all your tips. Will try the linseed oil when I can get a child free house for a morning!

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