When is the last time you thoroughly cleaned your kitchen’s tile or stone backsplash? If you’re like many people, you disinfected your kitchen counters in the last day and vacuumed the floor in the last week. But it’s easy to neglect the tile or stone backsplash behind your sink or stove.
Like the surface of your stove, your backsplash gets greasy when you cook. But unlike your stovetop, where food spills and grease are easy to see and wipe up, the backsplash is often overlooked. That grease acts as a magnet to attract dust and dirt — not exactly the type of environment where you want to be preparing food. Plus, keeping the kitchen clean is vital to preventing overgrowth of bacteria and eliminating your risk of getting a foodborne illness.
Cleaning Tile Backsplashes
To keep your tile backsplash looking great and your kitchen as healthy as possible, make sure you’re regularly cleaning it when you disinfect your stovetop and your counters. Here’s how:
- Choose an all-purpose cleaner and degreaser that doesn’t contain any abrasives. You don’t want to scratch your tile while you clean it. Spray the cleaner on the backsplash before you start your other kitchen cleaning duties, and let it sit for 20 minutes as you wipe up other areas of the kitchen.
- Use a soft, non-abrasive rag to wipe the backsplash. Sponges can harbor bacteria and some have a scratchy surface, and paper towels aren’t re-usable.
- If it’s been awhile since you tackled cleaning the backsplash, and the grease is difficult to remove, try a specific but gentle spray degreaser. Goo Gone is one brand name that you might look for. It should be safe for most tile surfaces and grouts, but make sure you read the label of any product you purchase.
- Rinse with a clean, wet rag to remove all of the cleaning product residue.
What should you do if your tile backsplash has noticeably stained grout? Some of the tricks for cleaning grout, like applying a paste of baking soda and water, are harder to do on an upright surface. Try a trick from Bob Vila: Spray a half-and-half solution of white vinegar and warm water on the grout, let it sit, then scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
A tougher stain might be a good candidate for hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a mild bleach. Apply with a soft rag or cotton balls and apply it straight. Whichever method you try, test it first on an inconspicuous spot in case it damages or changes the color of the tile or grout.
Cleaning Stone or Slate Backsplashes
Stone backsplashes look fantastic but can be harder to keep free of grease. Talk to your installer before it’s time to clean so you know how or if your stone backsplash is sealed.
- Find a soft-bristled toothbrush or scrub brush to clean the crevices of the stone. Because stone is usually more textured than tile, it can more easily accumulate grease.
- Use gentle dish detergent that cuts grease in a bucket of hot water. It’s best to test this in a small area to make absolutely sure it won’t damage the stone before you start on your entire backsplash. Let it dry before you move on.
- Scrub gently with lots of soap and water. Dip your brush back into your soapy water mix frequently.
- Rinse with a clean, wet rag to remove the soap and prevent it from forming a film over your stone.
You may also want to talk to your stone installation expert about making sure your stone is well-sealed and you know the best methods for keeping it clean.
Whichever type of backsplash you have in your kitchen, cleaning it regularly is key to having a healthy area for cooking and eating food. If it’s been some time since you’ve done a deep cleaning, or you have any questions or concerns about how to properly clean your specific type of tile or stone, call us to schedule a professional cleaning.
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