How to Clean and Maintain Mexican Saltillo Tile (2021 Update)

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Saltillo tile is a stunning, old-world 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. 

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?
  • - When should I reseal my Saltillo tile?
  • - How do I reseal my Saltillo tile?
  • - Do I need to strip and reseal my Saltillo tile?
  • - How do I strip Saltillo tile?

How do I maintain 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.

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

Our favorite Saltillo floor cleaning product is Fabuloso. It cleans well, it smells like Mexico (or abuela’s house). But your favorite mild detergent works just as well. Avoid harsh or acidic cleaners.

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 terra-cotta 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. 

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

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. 

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. 

Do I need to strip my Saltillo tile before resealing it?

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, be kind to your floors!

Saltillo flooring in need of a re-seal.

How do you 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. 

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