Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta tiles vary hugely in colour range, density and porosity. Terracotta is often softer and more porous than many other tiles. Terracotta can be laid natural and sealed, or is also often treated with a coating sealer (topical polish or barrier coating).

This terracotta cleaning regime is designed to keep a good-condition surface maintained. It will not restore damaged terracotta or coatings, or remove heavy build-up or stains. However Slique treatments are able to professionally clean the surface, remove isolated or particularly bad stains, remove existing coatings and apply new coatings or sealers.

Cleaning terracotta – regular cleaning

If your terracotta has had a protective barrier coating applied, you should clean it according to the coating manufacturer’s instructions. The coating isolates the terracotta so you need to maintain the coating rather than the terracotta itself.

If your terracotta has been left natural, or sealed, use the following regular cleaning process:

  1. Vacuum
  2. Vacuum or wipe the surface to remove loose dust and grit from the surface.

  3. Damp clean
  4. Clean using a microfibre flat mop or cloth dampened with warm water (no chemicals are necessary when using good-quality microfibre). The mop or cloth will ‘grab’ the surface and lift off most daily grime. Use some pressure to work the microfibre – floating it lightly over the surface will not be so productive!

  5. Spot clean (if necessary)
  6. Spot clean any spills, marks or stains using a neutral pH chemical such as Slique Cleansing Fluid. After spot cleaning, rinse the surface lightly with clean water.

  7. Dry
  8. DO NOT leave to dry naturally – dry using an old towel or a clean, dry mop.


Cleaning terracotta – intensive cleaning

Intensive terracotta cleaning should only be undertaken on a coated or sealed terracotta surface – if the terracotta has not had a coating or a sealer applied, this intensive cleaning process can soak too much water into the surface and cause it to discolour.

  1. Vacuum
  2. Vacuum or sweep the terracotta to remove loose grit from the surface.

  3. Scrub
  4. Scrub a small area (about 3-4 square metres) using a light solution of tile cleaner suitable for terracotta, such as Slique’s Heavy Duty Tile cleaner. Your local tile shop will have something suitable for home use terracotta cleaning. Use a soft brush or broom to work the solution into the pores of the tile and grout. Continue to complete small areas until the entire surface has been scrubbed.

  5. Soak
  6. Leave the solution to work for several minutes, then scrub again.

  7. Extract
  8. When the solution has lifted out the dirt, remove the liquid and dirt using an old towel or clean, dry mop.

  9. Rinse
  10. Pour clean water over the surface to rinse.

  11. Dry
  12. DO NOT leave the surface to dry naturally. Use a clean cloth or mop to soak up any water.