Keep Your Mosaic Tile Looking New

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated September 16, 2009)

If you have a piece of mosaic artwork in your home, you are participating in tradition that dates back 3,500 years and is found all over the world. Mosaic work is beautiful and original. Mosaics are made by fitting small pieces of glass or stone together to reveal a pattern, and every piece of artwork is unique. Weather your mosaic piece is a lamp, vase, bird bath, table or floor, you'll want to clean it regularly to maintain its sparkle.

  • Dust off surface dirt. This simple step can go a long way to restoring the brilliance of your mosaic. This is especially important if you are working with a floor piece that sees a lot of traffic, or an outdoor piece such as a table or a birdbath. You can do this with a dust cloth for small pieces or a broom for larger ones.
  • Sponge. Dip an absorbent sponge in clean water and wring out excess water. If you are using a sponge with a "scrubbing side", use only the soft sponge side so that you don't scratch the tile pieces. Pass the sponge lightly over the surface of the mosaic to pick up dirt that your dusting left behind.
  • Clean the grout. Often, the first two steps are all you need to brighten your mosaic, but occasionally, you will want to scrub the grout lines. Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda and apply it to the grout with a soft bristled toothbrush. Avoid scrubbing the decorative elements, and don't use abrasive cleaners like Comet, as they can lead to scratches as well. Also, avoid digging into the grout; doing so may loosen the grout which can cause stones and tiles to come loose.
  • Consider resealing. Occasionally you will want to reseal the grout on your mosaic piece, especially if it is an outdoor one such as a bird bath or table. There a several different finishes that the sealant comes in, so unless you want to change the appearance of your piece (high gloss will give it a wet look) make sure that you buy a finish that is consistent with the existing one.
  • Brighten white grout. If the mosaic piece you are trying to clean is part of a floor design, it may be difficult to keep the grout lines bright, especially if they are white. If you have white grout lines you can touch them up every few weeks with a bleach pen (Tide makes a good one; you can find them in the laundry isle at the supermarket), but test it on an inconspicuous spot before you proceed.

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

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