Saltillo 101: How to Clean and Maintain Saltillo Tile

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Saltillo 101: How to Clean and Maintain Saltillo Tile
Saltillo tile cleaning tips. All you need to know about cleaning and resealing Saltillo tile.

Has your Saltillo terra-cotta tile floor evolved over the years? Handmade, and with its authentic rustic appearance, Saltillo tile naturally ages over time. After all, it’s a 100% natural product. If you have installed your Saltillo tile, let’s say, 2-4 years ago it might be time for a deep clean, or even a reseal. Let us guide you through the cleaning and re-sealing process.

How do you maintain your Saltillo Tile? 

Saltillo tile is quite forgiving when it comes to regular maintenance. Soap and water is all you need to mop your floor. You may use a non-acidic flooring cleaning product you can find at conventional grocery or drug stores.

Regular Saltillo tile cleaning will make your tile shine for years to come.

Our favorite Saltillo floor cleaning product is Fabuloso. This product not only cleans well, it also reminds us of our times in Mexico. But you can use your favorite mild detergent. To clean Saltillo tile prior to mopping, we recommend vacuum cleaning or simply swiping. If you choose to swipe however, there are chances that dust and dirt might get stuck in grout joints. Vacuum cleaning is the cleaner way to keep your Saltillo floor dust free. If you find an exposed chip that shows the raw terra-cotta clay, you can simply apply a thin coat of a top-coat sealer across it. This prevents the raw clay from flaking away or deteriorating further.

  • Vacuum or swipe regularly
  • Mop with mild cleaning agent
  • Expect Saltillo age and wear over time

How do you know it’s time to Reseal Saltillo Tile? 

It depends on general traffic and how meticulous you have been cleaning your Saltillo tile. However, typically after 2-4 years, it might be time for a reseal. An indicator on when it’s time to reseal is when your floor or grout absorbs water. You may notice water absorption while mopping. You may also pour a little water onto the Saltillo tile. If it absorbs the water, even if just a little, then it’s time for a fresh coat of sealer.

How do you Reseal Saltillo tile? 

Once your Saltillo tile starts to absorb water, consider resealing. Applying a new layer of topcoat sealer protects the grout, and prevents the tile from staining. It also increases the lifespan of the pre-seal.

To reseal, clean your floor from dust and dirt first. We recommend vacuuming your floor. For this re-sealing process you’d need a yellow allocation sponge (available at hardware stores), clean and lint-free rags and the sealer of your choice.

Topcoat Sealer Options:

If you are going for a traditional Saltillo tile look, you may use a water-based sealer to coat the installed tile. Water-based sealers, like the Ole Mexican Tile Sealer, will add a protective layer and create a high gloss sheen. Please note that depending on wear, you need to strip the water-based sealer before resealing.

If you prefer a matte sheen, but keep your Saltillo terracotta tile protected, we recommend to apply 511 Porous Plus Sealer to the surface. Saltillo tiles topcoat sealed with Porous Plus will be easier to reseal than a water-based sealed tile.

Apply the sealer to the clean floor with the application sponge. Give it a few days to dry and fully cure. Then clean and maintain regularly with soap and water. 

How do you know it’s time to Strip & Reseal Saltillo Tile? 

If you see your Saltillo tile sealer wearing away, consider a strip and re-seal. Stripping and resealing Saltillo tile can be a labor intensive process. If you regularly clean your Saltillo tile and re-seal every 2-4 years or so, you could avoid stripping and resealing. So, to be kind to your beautiful handmade tile!

Saltillo flooring in need of a re-seal.

How do you Strip and Reseal Saltillo tile? 

Again, we hope it doesn’t come to this. But often, our clients find themselves restoring an older home that features original Saltillo flooring in need of a refresh. For this process, we highly recommend contracting a Saltillo tile flooring specialist or your trust. The stripping and resealing process is not only messy, it is also quite labor and time intensive. It’s best to leave it to the professionals.

We hope this article was useful! If you have any questions, please reach out at contact@clayimports.com. We’re here to help.

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