It’s safe to assume the act of cleaning tiles has been around as long as tiles themselves. However, the best methods for accomplishing this task have changed dramatically over the 7,000-year history of tiles.
Following is a closer look at the history of tiles, the evolution of different cleaning methods, and what you should be doing today to ensure your tiles stay in the best possible condition.
Experts believe that tiles have been around for at least 7,000 years. Some of the earliest tiles were made from mud and clay and were used in ancient Egyptian decorations. As with most significant developments of the time, it slowly spread to other nations around the world. It is believed the Babylonians adopted and improved the standard method for constructing tiles. It wasn’t long before civilizations around the world were using decorative tiles in buildings, walkways, and large structures.
Specific regions eventually developed their own techniques for designing and fabricating tiles. As the Middle Ages drew closer it was possible to determine where a tile originated based on its style, glaze, and the materials used. European countries became very fond of the tiles they found in China and began to bring them back to Europe and eventually to the colonies in America.
Throughout history, tiles were often reserved for the most wealthy individuals. This remained true in early America as well. Tiles were used in bathrooms and kitchens of large mansions owned by the wealthy. These tiles were almost always imported from Europe or nearby countries, which caused their price to increase dramatically.
Major changes occurred over the following centuries. One of the biggest changes was the development of tile factories in the early 20th century. These factories made it possible to mass produce tiles in America, which reduced the cost dramatically. The same technology was quickly adopted in European countries as well. By the end of the 20th-century tiles were no longer reserved for the rich and powerful.
Tiles surfaces were most likely cleaned with extreme care in the earliest of days considering their very high value. They were located in the estates of the wealthy who often had servants to handle the work for them. Little more than water and a cloth would have been used during these times. It’s possible a very gentle soap agent could have been used depending on the time period and the materials used for the tiles. Some materials were far more delicate and expensive than others.
A number of commercial cleaning products began to surface during the middle of the 20th century as more and more homeowners were investing in tiles. Machines designed specifically for cleaning floors were invented prior to this, but they were not yet advanced enough to be trusted with a sensitive floor tile. The swing-machine was one of these machines and was a very popular tool for cleaning floors between the 1920’s and 1950’s.
The technology used in tile cleaning machines had improved dramatically by the 1970’s. Gentle cleaning agents, high-quality pads, and powerful motors made it possible to clean floors and leave them with an impressive shine. That being said, some tile surfaces were still too delicate even for these more advanced machines.
The greatest advancements with tile cleaning came alongside the development of steam cleaning. The top tile cleaning specialists in the field today will use a combination of pressure, heat, and a vacuum to remove all dirt and debris from tiles. Afterwards, they follow up with floor polishers to return that new-floor shine to the tile.
Steam cleaning tiles is far superior to cleaning by hand and it eliminates all of the risk associated with using a rotating floor cleaning machine. It provides the best of both worlds so to speak. It also works fast and is very affordable
No matter what technique used, tile cleaning is always a job best left to the professionals. Cleaning by hand can’t deliver the desired results and the machines needed to accomplish the job require a significant investment. You also risk damaging your tiles if you attempt to use the machinery yourself. Instead, let the professionals at Restore Floor use their state-of-the-art steam cleaning technology to return your tiles to their original glory.