How To Clean And Maintain Mexican Saltillo Tile

By Clay Imports

Saltillo tile is a stunning, timeless design choice that we love. Before jumping into the installation process, it’s important to understand the maintenance requirements ahead of you. Here's a complete guide to cleaning, maintaining, and resealing Saltillo tile.

Handmade, and with its authentic rustic appearance, Saltillo tile naturally ages over time. After all, it’s a 100% natural product. Saltillo tiles will change in color over time. 

If you have installed your Saltillo tile, let’s say, 3-4 years ago it might be time for a deep clean, or even a reseal. 

How do I maintain Saltillo tile?

Saltillo tile is quite forgiving when it comes to regular maintenance - as long as you are ready to embrace patina.. Mild detergents and water is all you need to mop your Saltillo floor. You may use a non-acidic flooring cleaning product you can find at conventional grocery or drug stores or create your own water/vinegar solution. Avoid heavy mopping, steam cleaning or anything that would create large amounts of moisture. Please keep in mind that our matte and satin sealed Saltillo tiles need extra attention and are more susceptible to staining than our gloss sealed Saltillo tiles. 

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

To clean Saltillo tile prior to mopping, vacuuming is the best way to keep your Saltillo floor dust free. If you find an exposed chip that shows the raw terracotta clay, you can simply apply a thin coat of a top-coat sealer across it. 

When should I reseal my Saltillo tile?

This will depend on foot traffic and how regularly the Saltillo tile has been cleaned. Typically, after 2-4 years, it’s time for a reseal. 

Here’s a simple test to try: 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. 

Kitchen with natural terracotta saltillo tiles by Clay Imports

How do I reseal my Saltillo tile?

Once your Saltillo tile starts to absorb water in the test above, 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, first clean your floor of dust and dirt. We recommend vacuuming your floor. For this resealing process you’ll need a yellow application sponge (available at hardware stores), clean and lint-free rags, and a sealer of your choice.

If you are going for a traditional Saltillo tile look, you may use our Ultra-Low VOC Sealer or another, 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. 

If you prefer a matte sheen, we recommend applying 511 Porous Plus Sealer to the surface. Saltillo tile 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. 

Do I need to strip and reseal my Saltillo tile?

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

Before sealing Saltillo terracotta tilesSaltillo flooring in need of a reseal

How do I strip and reseal Saltillo tile?

If we’re being honest, we don’t recommend trying this. Take regular care of your tile, and you’ll avoid having this issue.

If you’re restoring an older home that features original Saltillo flooring in need of a refresh, we highly recommend contracting a Saltillo tile flooring specialist. The stripping and resealing process is not only messy, it is also quite labor and time intensive. 

Hallway entry with Saltillo Terracotta tiles by Clay Imports

And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at or chat with us here. 

Disclaimer: since the installation of tile greatly determines the integrity of the project and the tile itself, Clay imports does not warranty this product and is not responsible for dissatisfaction of material following installation. Please inspect all tile upon receipt and notify us immediately if you have any quality concerns. This guide is meant to serve as a general resource. Because each project is unique, consult your tile installer before installing your tile.