How to Remove Stains from Terrazzo

Terrazzo tiles are renowned for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and versatility. Comprising a blend of fine aggregates such as marble, quartz, granite, or glass, these tiles are bound together with cement or epoxy resin. This unique composition results in a visually captivating, mosaic-like effect, characterized by intricate patterns and a polished finish.

Terrazzo floors are typically installed in large areas, such as lobbies, hallways, and other high-traffic areas. In 2023, they are becoming more popular in bathrooms, as both wall and floor tiles. The material is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and other types of damage. Aged terrazzo can be polished to restore its lustre.

If you have invested in terrazzo for your home or business, you’ll likely come across the odd stain or wear and tear as time goes on, particularly with honed finishes. In this article, we will share some tips on how to remove stains from terrazzo and restore its condition.

Understanding Terrazzo and How it Stains

Terrazzo surfaces, while durable and visually appealing, are not entirely impervious to staining. Over time, various factors can contribute to the discolouration and staining. Here are some specific causes:

Organic Material

Organic substances like food spills, plant matter, or even pet waste can cause stains if not promptly removed. These materials can seep into the pores of the terrazzo, leading to discolouration.

Chemical Exposure

Household cleaning products, especially those that are acidic or alkaline, can etch the surface of terrazzo tiles, making them more susceptible to staining. Similarly, exposure to chemicals like paint, oil, or ink can result in stubborn stains.

Metal Oxidation

Metal objects like furniture legs or decorative items can leave rust stains on terrazzo surfaces. The oxidation process of the metal interacts with the terrazzo, leading to brownish or reddish stains.

Hard Water

In areas with hard water, mineral deposits can accumulate on terrazzo surfaces, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Over time, these deposits can lead to dull spots or rings that are challenging to remove. You may find it difficult to clean a stained terrazzo shower base. At Clean Seal, we often deep-clean natural stone showers before re-sealing to protect against water stains.

Foot Traffic

High-traffic areas are prone to gradual staining from dirt, grime, and even the oils from the soles of shoes. Over time, this can result in a general darkening of the terrazzo surface.

UV Exposure

While not a stain in the traditional sense, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the colours in terrazzo to fade, affecting its overall appearance.

How to Remove Stains from Terrazzo

Different types of stains require different cleaning methods. Here are a few common terrazzo stains and how to remove them:

Rust Stains

Rust stains can be particularly challenging to remove from terrazzo floors. One effective method is to mix a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for several hours. Then, scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water.

Pet Urine Stains

Pet urine stains can leave a lingering odour and discolouration on terrazzo floors. To remove them, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the affected area and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, blot the area with a clean cloth and rinse with water.

If the smell persists, you may need an enzymatic cleaner to neutralise the urine.

Wine Stains

Wine may be removed with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Mix the two ingredients to form a paste, apply it to the stain, and let it sit for several hours. Then, scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water. You can also try dabbing the stain with denatured alcohol.

Blood Stains

Blood stains should be removed as soon as possible to prevent them from setting into the terrazzo. Start with clean cold water and blot the stain. Mix cold water and salt to form a paste, apply it to the stain, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water.

Hydrogen peroxide can help bleach the stain, however, be cautious about using this on darker-coloured terrazzo.

Paint and Ink Stains

Paint stains can be removed with a mixture of warm water and quality grease removing dish soap. Soak a clean cloth in the solution and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water.

Soft Drink Stains

Soft drink stains can be removed with a mixture of warm water and white vinegar. Mix equal parts of both ingredients, apply the solution to the stain, and let it sit for several minutes. Then, scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water.

Organic vs Inorganic Stains – What is the Difference?

When it comes to removing stains from terrazzo, it’s important to understand the difference between organic and inorganic stains. Organic stains are caused by natural substances like food, blood, and grass, while inorganic stains are caused by substances like rust, oil, and ink.

Organic stains are usually easier to remove than inorganic stains, as they can be broken down by enzymes and other natural cleaning agents. Inorganic stains, on the other hand, are more difficult to remove and may require harsher chemicals.

One way to determine whether a stain is organic or inorganic is to perform a scrub test. Simply scrub the stained area with a stiff-bristled brush. If the stain appears to be fading or coming off, it is likely organic. If the stain remains unchanged, it is likely inorganic.

It’s important to note that some stains may be a combination of organic and inorganic substances. In these cases, it may be necessary to use a combination of cleaning methods to remove the stain completely.

Aftercare Tips

Sealing the Surface

After removing stains from your terrazzo floors, it’s important to consider sealing the surface to prevent future staining. A high-quality sealer will help to protect your terrazzo from spills and stains and make it easier to clean.

At Clean Seal Australia, we recommend using a penetrating sealer for terrazzo over a topical sealant.

Regular Maintenance

To keep your terrazzo floors looking their best, it’s important to establish a regular maintenance routine. This should include sweeping or vacuuming the floors daily to remove dirt and debris, as well as mopping with a damp mop and pH-neutral cleaner on a weekly basis.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your terrazzo floors, as these can damage the surface. Instead, use a cleaner that is specifically designed for use on terrazzo, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Never use any oil-based cleaning products on terrazzo.

If you notice any stains or discolouration on your terrazzo floors, address them promptly using the methods outlined in this article. With proper care and maintenance, your terrazzo floors can provide years of beauty and durability.

When to Call in the Professionals

Clean Seal Australia staff professionally clean terrazzo flooring

If you’re dealing with stubborn stains on your terrazzo floors and you’ve tried all the DIY methods but nothing seems to work, it might be time to call in the professionals at Clean Seal Australia. Our professional terrazzo cleaning service offers trained staff and specialised equipment and techniques to effectively remove the toughest terrazzo stains and restore your floors.

Our low-volatile organic compound (VOC) formulas are non-toxic and safe to use around your family and pets. We can provide you with a no-obligation quote for professional terrazzo cleaning, sealing and polishing. Contact us with any questions you may have or to book a free quote.

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