How to Clean Terrazzo Floors (Remove Stains & Make it Shine!)

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how to clean terrazzo floors

Terrazzo flooring has been around for centuries.

It has a unique beauty and usually consists of chips of marble, granite, or glass set in concrete. 

However, even though terrazzo isn’t new, it’s not a flooring that many homeowners use, making it more of a mystery when it comes to proper cleaning.

And since terrazzo seems to be coming back in style, it is important to know how to care for it.

Here’s how to clean terrazzo floors so that they last for years.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Terrazzo Floors?

The best way to clean Terrazzo floors is to dry mop them daily and damp mop them once per week. A dry mop will keep dirt and dust off the floors without causing any scratches. Then once weekly, you can mop the floors to remove any remaining dirt or build-up.

What is a Terrazzo Floor?

Terrazzo is believed to date back over 500 years, with origins in Italy. The workers would keep the chips of marble leftover from installing flooring in upscale homes and place them in clay mortar to make flooring for their own homes.

Now, the process is very similar.

Terrazzo manufacturers create this type of flooring by placing pieces of granite, marble, or glass in a cement base. Some terrazzo is set in epoxy, though.

Terrazzo floors do require sealant- usually about every six months. The sealant provides a waterproof coating to the floor and helps prevent the floor from staining.

Cleaning Terrazzo Flooring: Step by Step

cleaning terrazo flooring

While terrazzo flooring usually lasts for decades, it is delicate and requires careful cleaning.

Here’s how to clean terrazzo flooring:

What to avoid: Terrazzo floors are more delicate than other stone floorings like granite or slate. Because of this, terrazzo can scratch and stain more easily. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or mops.

In addition, never use vinegar on your terrazzo. Vinegar is acidic and eats through the sealant and etches the concrete below.

How Do I Get Stains out of a Terrazzo Floor?

The biggest con to having terrazzo flooring is that it stains easier than other types of hard floors – especially if left unsealed.

When you spot a stain, the first thing you should do is mix up a solution of warm water and dish soap. Next, use a microfiber towel and your dish soap solution to scrub away the stain. 

If the stain persists, try the baking soda method.

For this method, mix baking soda and water until a thick paste forms. Apply the paste to your stain and allow it to sit overnight. After about 24 hours, vacuum away the baking soda paste.

How Can I Make Terrazzo Floors Shine?

If your terrazzo floors have lost their shine, it’s probably time to add another coat of sealant. However, before you do that, you need to make sure that a build-up of cleaner isn’t the culprit.

Build-up usually happens when you use a soap or oil-based cleaner and don’t dilute your mopping solution enough.

Here’s what to do:

  • Thoroughly sweep your floors.
  • Damp-mop your flooring with warm water only.
  • Now, dry your floors with a microfiber cloth.
The microfiber cloth will help remove any build-up on the floors. After this, you can mop with an appropriate cleaner. If afterward your floors still look dull, it’s probably time to reseal.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to clean terazzo floors

What is the best cleaner for terrazzo floors?

You need to use a very gentle, PH-neutral cleaner on terrazzo flooring. Some good options include Zep PH Neutral Floor Cleaner and Bona Hard Surface Floor Cleaner. If you want to try a homemade cleaner, simply add a little dish soap to a bucket of warm water.

Can you bleach terrazzo floors?

You should never use bleach on terrazzo. Bleach is too harsh of a cleaner and can eat through the sealant. Also, if you’ve never sealed your terrazzo, bleach can cause even more damage to the concrete and stone.

To keep your floors clean, dust mop them daily and clean them with a gentle mopping solution once per week.

How long do terrazzo floors last?

Terrazzo is one of the longest-lasting types of flooring and can make it up to 100 years if well-maintained. However, if not well maintained, the lifespan of this flooring could be as little as ten years.

Conclusion

Terrazzo is a durable flooring material that can last an excess of 100 years. The best way to clean your Terrazzo flooring is to do it gently.

Terrazzo should be dry mopped for dust and dirt daily and damp mopped once per week. In addition, you need to reseal these floors every six months.

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AUTHOR

Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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