Stone and tile kitchen backsplashes improve the value of your home and help protect your walls, but they are subject to cooking or liquid spatters from coffee, spaghetti sauce, grease, and other substances. Recommended methods for cleaning and care of kitchen backsplashes vary, depending on what type of backsplash you have.
Glazed Porcelain, Ceramic, and Glass Tiles
Glazed porcelain, ceramic, and glass tiles are practically impervious to stains, and keeping them clean is a cinch. Mix a mild detergent or vinegar with water and wipe clean with a cloth or sponge. For stubborn, stuck-on spots, spray with an all-purpose cleaner, and allow the cleaner to dwell until the substance softens. For extra greasy messes, spray using a degreasing cleaner.
Unglazed Porcelain, Clay, and Natural Stone Tiles
Unglazed porcelain, clay, and natural stone tiles are more susceptible to stains than other types of tile, and keeping them clean can be a challenge. Do not use soap, windex, or vinegar! These substances can damage the finish of your tile.
Spray with a stone-safe, pH-neutral cleaner and allow ample dwell time. Wipe clean with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. (For grease and other stains, you may need to apply a poultice.) Rinse with warm water. Water spots will not hurt your stone, but if you want to prevent them, dry the tiles with a white cloth or paper towels.
Stacked stone backsplashes have a rough, porous texture and plenty of crevices that trap food or liquid spatters. They are difficult, but not impossible to clean. Use a stone-safe, pH neutral cleaner and a brush with bristles stiff enough to reach the nooks and crannies but soft enough to be non-abrasive. Follow with a warm water rinse.
Professional Cleaning, Restoration, and Care
An experienced stone and tile restoration contractor can deep clean your backsplash, achieving dramatic results, as well as repair chips and cracks. Honed or polished natural stone can be refinished to like new, virtually erasing signs of wear, such as scratches and etch marks.
Because backsplashes are continuously exposed to substances that can potentially stain, it is best to have natural stone and absorbent tile backsplashes sealed to inhibit staining. Sealers make porous surfaces less absorbent, which means you will have more time to wipe up spots and spatters before they can turn into stains.
Glass and stone mosaic tiles make beautiful backsplashes, but have a lot of grout lines. Since grout is porous, it is susceptible to staining. Your contractor can apply a high quality clear grout sealer or grout color sealer to fill in all the tiny holes in the grout, making cleaning easier. Grout color sealer is impervious to staining and highly recommended. In addition, grout color sealer has a constant-acting mildewcide so your backsplashes will stay more sanitary than backsplashes with clear sealed or unsealed grout lines.
Maintain the beauty of your backsplash to ensure your kitchen is always a clean and inviting place for family and friends to congregate and refuel.