Cleaning Victorian tiled floors.

Chez Chef boasts a tiled hallway, made up of lots of little tiles in a mosaic pattern, such as is to be seen in quite a few bars these days.

As it has been in constant use for the last hundred years or so it is ingrained with grime.

How do I remove the dirt without damaging the tiles or exposing them to worse future damage? (When they cleaned the terra-coota tiles on the Albert Hall they found that the encrusted dirt had been protecting the tiles, and stripping that and some of the glaze off left them worse off then before)

I don't want to use abrasives, or chemicals, as one will deffo cause damage, and the other I don't know enough about, but hopefully someone here does.

Currently it is swept, and mopped with fairy liquid.

If there are any 'Dos' or 'Don'ts' or other advice, I would be grateful. Ta muchly.
Have you tried hiring a crew of Victorian Child Labourers?


Book Reviewer
oooh I used to know this, if memory is correct then they need scrubbing right down with a proper scrubby thing like a beasted recruit as they arent glazed then resealing with a linseed and beeswax mix or a suitable commercial tile sealant.

Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Mainenance Information do a range of kit.

a tile cleaner product for regular ceramic tiles will probably react with whats left of the old polish and turn it milky so it needs stripping right down, neutralising then resealing.

if its a really nice floor then get a pro into do it otherwise a wallpaper stripper and varieties of detergent with scotchbrite pads or wire wool may be the only option.


Book Reviewer
I'm told that kerosene (paraffin to you non-oily types) gives such surfaces a really good shine.

HOWEVER. I am not speaking from experience. So, either practise on a non-visible bit, do some research on t'inter-web, or as has been said above get a professional in.
Muriatic acid in an 6/1 ratio water to acid. Then a grinder with a wire wheel after the acid has soaked in for about an hour. Good luck


Interestingly, we've just bought a Victorian property with a similarly-tiled hall. I'd appreciate any advice I can get on long, labour-intensive methods of renovation, as well as a repetitive manual cleaning routine that my good lady can employ, since it was her idea to buy the place.
Cheers for that; I'll have a go and get back to you. Chocolate Frog, I am mostly merciful. as you like your so-called sense of humour, I give you this;

Mary Poppins "Step in Time" - YouTube

Flagrant Violator will join you.


Urchins are ten-a-penny in Kernowland. I need something to remind the wife that the concept of the 'good old days' is revisionist bollocks.

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