Are you still falling for the clean your floors with vinegar and warm water b.s? You gotta be kidding me! Im blown away how often I hear or read about cleaning with vinegar.


Saltillo tile care and maintenance is not done with a mild acid and mop, sorry terracotta lovers, these are a high maintenance tile. Vinegar comes in all flavors, ask your terracotta floors what their flavor is before you choose your cleaner ( Vinegar raspberry).


Ok I’m done. Truth is every floor is unique to it’s owner. Basically some people are dirty as f#ck and some people’s floors are older and over time they have gotten dirty evenly throughout time. Traffic patterns and how well a tile was sealed in it’s beginning is real important in determining where a floor is at with it’s dirtiness level.


 So What SHOULD I Use To Clean My Saltillo Tile Floor?


Ultimately just use a common degreaser that you can at a local store, mix with hot water, get on your hands and knees and scrub with green scrubbiest and nylon brushes. Yes I said get on your hands and knees, vinegar or degreaser and mops are not good enough all the time. You’ve got to get down and scrub the top of the saltillo tile and grout at least every 3 months if you have heavy traffic and every 6 months if you have low traffic.


To wrap this up, I’ve tried every cleaner you can imagine when I first started my tile restoration journey I tried vinegar, commercial grade vinegar and for terracotta clay and saltilllo tiles are among the few I know for a fact that it does not clean the coating sealers that these terracotta saltillos are sealed with.


Saltillo and Talavera tile & Mexican Tile Design

3/4 of every project we restore has mexican floor tile combined with talavera inserts. They get covered with layers of shiny sealer and it needs to be removed just like the Saltillo and surrounding grout. They have some porosity to them, that’s why the sealer can bond to them just like it does to the super porous saltillo.


restored saltillo floor

I’ve seen the Talaveras tiles around pools, hot tubs, floors, back splashes, bathrooms, showers etc. If the talavera tiles are on walls, counters, & showers these areas will need a penetrating sealer to fill in the pores making them water proof, which will add to the longevity especially high water, high moisture areas.


My experience tells me they chip easily outside on the floor tiles because of the constant moisture and UV rays and not sealed with shiny sealer which put a protective coating over the surface. So when table legs or vacuums hit an edge it slides off because of the sealer.


Outside tile will have a penetrating sealer which doesn’t offer the coating protection because it seals from inside out, not on the surface. Indoors or outdoors your saltillo mexican tiles need to be sealed for  protection and longevity.


Can Talavera tile be used on floors? It can and now you know how to seal and protect your talavera tile. Use you imagination when designing your new terracotta floor , sky’s the limit there’s tons of pattern, colors , shapes, sizes, just remember seal your tiles ASAP to keep them from staining. Pinterest has the best place to find ideas, I suggest you start there and then show your ideas to you installer.

Stop wasting your time, energy, and money, on solutions that JUST DON”T WORK!


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Contact California Tile Restoration

Email or Call Fritz Wittman

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We refinish terracotta tiles in all cities and counties throughout northern and Southern California such as Berkeley, Oakland, San Jose, Marin, San Francisco, Sacramento, Daly City, Tiburon, Belvedere, Carmichael, Natomas, Davis, Fanta Rosa, Napa, Petaluma, Rancho Santa Fe, Palos Verdes Estates, Venice Beach, San DiegoLas Vegas, Reno, Walnut Creek, Santa Monica, and much more!