The Corona Virus is forcing everyone in the UK to look again at how we live and how best to protect our family and loved ones from this insidious threat. Now at Porcelain Superstore we don’t want to profit from the understandable anxiety that is sweeping the UK, but ceramic tile is a material that has always enjoyed hygienic advantages, and so we would like to share the best advice from the NHS with our own tips on how to keep your ceramic surfaces clean and germ free. Keep Things Clean Germs can be spread from person to person, or by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. To stop the spread of germs, focus your efforts on cleaning areas in the house where germs are more likely to spread, such as the kitchen and toilet. Use either soap and hot water to rinse the germs away, or a purpose-formulated antibacterial cleaner or disinfectant to kill them. Make sure that you dry all surfaces – particularly worktops and chopping boards - thoroughly after cleaning. Dampness helps any remaining germs to survive and, if there is enough water, multiply. You should clean germ hotspots on a regular basis after use, rather than the customary once-a-week deep clean. Cleaning aids, such as cloths or mops, must be germ-free or they'll spread germs to other surfaces. So, where possible, use disposable cloths or paper towels. If you are using reusable cloths, these should be disinfected or washed at 60oC after each use. Washing-up brushes should be washed regularly in a dishwasher, or cleaned with detergent and warm water after each use. Floors For your floors, use two buckets for mopping: one for detergent, and the other for rinsing. After each use, mops and buckets should be cleaned and dried. Bathroom In the WC, keep the U-bend and toilet bowl clean by flushing after each use. Clean the pan using a specialist toilet cleaner and brush every few days. Any limescale should be removed using a descaling product. And it is particularly important to keep the toilet seat, handle, and rim clean by using a disinfectant. In the bathroom, clean baths and sinks frequently. If the bath, sink or shower has been used by someone who is ill, always disinfect thoroughly after use. If a shower hasn't been used for a while, let it run with hot water before using it and wash shower curtains frequently. Kitchen In the kitchen, make sure that all food-preparation surfaces are clean before use. Always use separate chopping boards for uncooked food – such as raw meat – and food that doesn't need cooking, like salad leaves. Always wash and dry your hands after handling foods such as raw meat, and clean kitchen surfaces immediately after use Clean tiled floors regularly with warm water and detergent to remove visible dirt. If a floor becomes soiled with vomit, urine, or faeces, it should be cleaned using a disposable cloth and warm water. It should then be carefully and thoroughly disinfected. Always make sure that the floor is dry before allowing it to be used by children. Rubbish When it comes to waste disposal, foot-operated bins are more hygienic because they reduce the risk of getting germs onto your hands from touching the lid. Always wash your hands after handling waste materia, and dispose of rubbish carefully to avoid attracting vermin and insects. Besides their phenomenal beauty and versatility, glazed ceramic wall tiles and porcelain tile floors have the advantage of being intrinsically hygienic and very low-maintenance. Ceramic tiles are made of natural particles that are shaped and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures. This process creates a durability and resiliency that is unmatched by most other flooring surfaces. When glazed, they also have a protective barrier from dirt, water, stains, and chemicals, making them even more impervious to the elements. Although easy to maintain, there are some steps to take to ensure that your ceramic surfaces remain hygienic and in optimal condition. One of the most important aspects of cleaning your tiled floor is making sure dirt and spills do not have a chance to get comfortable. So always clean up spills as soon as possible. This came be easily done with a mop or cloth, hot water, and a mild household detergent. Regular Maintenance Regular maintenance is important. The easiest, quickest, and most effective step you can take is to regularly sweep, vacuum, and damp mop the floor tiles in your hall, bathroom, or kitchen. A quick sweeping or vacuuming removes dirt and debris before it can become embedded in the tile or grout. Mopping with warm water, and using a manufacturer-recommended cleaning product, also enhances your tile’s gloss, shine, and colour. Vinegar is one of the best floor and wall tile cleaning products. Mix a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water to create an effective, odour-eliminating, cleanser. If you have children or pets, you may not want to use harsh chemicals, and this is a good alternative. For a belt and braces approach, you can always use a proprietary disinfectant, and then rinse/wash the floor with this diluted vinegar mixture. Grout Ceramic tiles are held in place by grout, which is typically white. To prevent this from becoming discoloured and dirty, the best first step is to seal it after installing the tile. To clean discoloured grout, you can use a specialist grout cleaner from brands like HG or Fila. Or you can follow a DIY approach and mix together bicarbonate of soda and water to make a paste, then rub on to dirty grout using an old toothbrush. Then fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray it over the bicarb mix. It should bubble up into a thick mixture that is perfect for cleaning grout. You will find that grout that is properly maintained is actually easier to clean than many other surfaces. Among ceramic tile’s best qualities are its resistance to stains, its hygienic qualities, and its ease of cleaning. Follow our simple tips and you will keep your home beautiful and healthy. Keep safe!