Cleaning & Maintenance



  1. General:

    Surface contamination apart from normal usage (or obvious misuse) contamination can arise from: (1) Efflorescence; (2) Residual cement film; (3) The use of unsuitable surface sealing materials; (4) The use of unsuitable cleaning agents
    1. Efflorescence:

      Efflorescence is a white deposit which may develop on the floor surface as drying out proceeds. It is due to the crystallization on the tile or slab surface of soluble salts caused by moisture from the bedding or sub-floor. It is aggravated by excessively damp conditions following installation or prolonged delaying drying out. The deposit disappears with washing with clean water but may reappear after drying. Efflorescence diminishes with progressive washing and the most effective treatment is to increases the frequency of washing until the deposit ceases. Persistent efflorescence may arise from rising moisture where inadequate damp-resisting construction has been carried out.
    2. Residual Cement Film:

      During the first few months after laying, some tiles may exhibit a scum which is insoluble in water. This generally arises from Portland cement and can be removed only by treatment with appropriate acids or an abrasive according to the type of tile or slab. Such treatment may, if wrongly applied, because further damage and should only be carried out after adequate consultation with the contractor and if necessary the manufacturer of the floor finish.
    3. Surface Sealing Materials:

      Except for special situation (see 5.2.3.) surface sealing is not necessary and in not recommended. Excessive application or use of an unsuitable material can cause a patchy appearance of the floor surface particularly outside the main traffic areas which may not be removable by normal washing or scouring. In this event, the advice of the manufacturer of sealing materials and possibly that of the floor finish manufacturer should be obtained to decide the most suitable method of recovery.
    4. Cleaning Agents:

      With the exception of terrazzo tiles all floor finishes covered by this code are effectively cleaned by normal washing or scrubbing with warm water and a neutral sulphate-free detergent. Whichever cleaning aid is employed it is essential to ensure that it is completely removed by final rinsing with clean water. When selecting a cleaning aid care must be taken to avoid the possibility of the risk of damage to adjacent fixtures and wall finishes.
    5. All Floor Surfaces:

      The use of unsuitable cleaning agents on floors may lead to the salt contamination of adjacent walls and cause consequential damage to stone, paint and plaster.
  2. Particular floor finishes:

    1. Clay Tiles and Bricks:

      All these forms of flooring require little maintenance and are easily kept clean by sweeping and then washing with warm water to which soap less detergent has been added, they are not however damaged by the occasional use of scouring powder block or bleach to remove particularly stubborn blemishes. Household soaps are not recommended as they tend to leave a slippery scum, particularly in areas of hard water. The application of linseed oil or polishes is not recommended since they are not absorbed into the surface and tend to make the tiles slippery and more difficult to clean.
    2. Concrete Tiles and Cast Stone:

      Brushing and washing is all that is normally required to keep these floors clean.
    3. Terrazzo tiles:

      Good condition, scrubbing with soap and water is recommended, care being taken to remove soap residue. Although terrazzo tiling has a high resistance to oil staining, it is not completely impervious to oil penetration; however, there are certain proprietary treatments available for the removal of oil stains. Resistance to staining can be increased by the use of certain sealants. The manufacturer's advice should be sought on proprietary treatments and sealers. It should be recognized that disinfectants with phenol or cresol-base will stain the tilling. Fine abrasive powders may occasionally be used to remove stubborn marks, but are not recommended for regular maintenance.
    4. Natural Stone (sandstone, limestone):

      Natural stone floors require little maintenance. They should be cleaned with water, aided as and where necessary by an appropriate grade of neutral, sulphate-free pumice powder or a neutral, sulphate-free pumice powder or a neutral, sulphate-free detergent. Soda, soda-ash, and alkaline or sulphate-containing cleaning agents or scouring powders should not be used.
    5. Natural Stone (granite, marble, slate and quartzite):

      Generally, through cleaning with water is all that is necessary to remove face dirt. Neutral sulphate-free detergent may be used if required and then thoroughly rinsed- off with clean water to prevent the flooring becoming slippery. Soda, soda-ash and alkaline or sulphate-containing cleaning agents or scouring powders should not be used.
  3. Maintenance Instruction:

    Damage can occur to a floor finish by misuse or incorrect maintenance, because of inadequate instruction initially. Personnel responsible for maintenance must be given full information concerning any particular risks of misuse likely to occur including recommendations for cleaning.



Recommendations for maintaining terrazzo tiling.

  • After the floor has been laid and machine finished if specified, it should be covered with white non-staining sawdust to protect it while other work is being done. When the sawdust is eventually removed, the floor should be thoroughly scrubbed. Wall tiling should be scrubbed at the same time the water should be changed for every 10 sq. area of tiling scrubbed.
  • E.2. Wax polishes should not be applied to wall tiles until the tiling is clean and has thoroughly dried out. Their use on floors tends to make the terrazzo slippery and should generally be discouraged.
  • Although terrazzo tiling has a high resistance to all staining, it is not completely impervious to oil penetration. It should be noted however, that certain proprietary treatment are available for the removal of oil stains.
  • Disinfectants with a phenol or cresol base will stain the tiling. The resistance of terrazzo tiling to staining may be increased by the use of certain sealers. E.5. The manufacturers advice should be sought on proprietary treatments and sealers.
  • Scrubbing with soap and water is recommended for maintaining terrazzo tiling. Soap should be removed carefully afterwards.
  • Detergents should not be used owing to the difficulty of distinguishing between neutral products and those containing constituents harmful to terrazzo. E.8. Fine abrasive powders, although not recommended for regular maintenance, may be used occasionally to remove stubborn marks .



  • 319. General:

    Under normal conditions, at terrazzo floor finish may be cleaned by washing periodically with water and occasionally using fine abrasive powder. After cleaning with powder, the floor should be thoroughly washed down and dried. soap should not be used. The application of wax in any form is not recommended as the resulting surface will be slippery. Disinfectants, particularly those containing phenols and cresols may react chemically with traces of iron compounds in the cement to produce a pink discoloration in the floor finish. Sometimes, it is not possible to remove this color even by regrinding the surface.