How Do I Clean a Terrazzo Floor

Updated June 15, 2018
Closeup image of terrazzo flooring

How do I clean a terrazzo floor? Because this type of flooring is inexpensive, durable, and widely available, this question is a common one. By knowing how to answer it, you will be able to keep your terrazzo flooring bright and beautiful for many years, no matter what type of wear it is subjected to.

What Is Terrazzo?

Terrazzo is a composite material of marble chips and concrete or resin that is combined to create smooth, luxurious flooring or countertop material that captures the beauty of marble in a more affordable way. Terrazzo is generally composed of two parts marble chips to one part binder (concrete or resin), and extra chips may be scattered on the top of the mixture for an even more marbled appearance. Special mixtures of terrazzo may also use mother of pearl or abalone shell for different appearances.

While the marble chips in terrazzo are durable, the binder is more porous and subject to stains, particularly for flooring. Cement is the most porous material, but a terrazzo floor can have a finishing sealer applied that will help the floor resist stains and liquid penetration. This is recommended as a preventative measure to keep your floor looking superb, but the sealer will need to be stripped and reapplied periodically to keep the floor looking new. Wax should not be used to coat a terrazzo floor as it can cause the floor to be dangerously slippery, and waxy buildup will dull the floor's polished sheen.

It is important to note that when a terrazzo floor is first laid, it will take time for the cement to cure. During that period, which can last several days or weeks, the floor may change color or have a mottled appearance. This is not staining and as the floor cures, the color will even out.

Steps to Answer How Do I Clean a Terrazzo Floor

wet floor sign to clean a terrazzo floor
Water is the best cleanser.

Over time, even the best kept floors must be properly cleaned. Terrazzo floors are easy to clean with a few simple steps:

  1. Sweep the floor to remove loose dirt, crumbs, and other debris. A dry mop can also be useful if the floor is dusty.
  2. Using plain water or a neutral (neither acidic or alkaline) cleaner, wet mop the floor and let the cleaner sit on the floor for several minutes to dissolve dirt. It is important that the entire floor surface remain wet during this time, otherwise the loose dirt will simply dry back onto the floor.
  3. Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water, or use a wet vacuum or squeegee to remove the dirty water. More than one rinse may be necessary to remove all dirt.
  4. When dry, buff the floor to restore shine.

Hiring a Professional

If your terrazzo floor has lost its luster or has stains you cannot remove with simple cleaning, it may be wise to hire a floor restoration specialist. A professional will be able not only to strip the sealer off the floor and reapply it properly, but they can also polish the floor's surface effectively with commercial equipment to restore its original shine. If you aren't experienced with cleaning different flooring types, hiring professional floor cleaners is a safe way to ensure your floor looks its best. Many cleaners offer free estimates or will have an online pricing list, allowing you to see if their services fit within your budget.

Keeping It Clean

When you are cleaning your terrazzo floor, it is important to use a cleaner that is designed for the floor itself. This is because all-purpose cleaners and acids can damage your floor.

Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Cleaner

Bona is terrazzo floor cleaner that was recommended by Flooring creations. Backed by 100 years of cleaning heritage, this is a water-based cleaner that carries the GREENGUARD GOLD certification.

  • Using this formula is as simple as spraying and mopping.
  • It receives 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and is an Amazon Choice product. It was also listed among top cleaners by Home Flooring Pros.
  • Cost is about $8 for a 32-ounce bottle.

Rejuvenate Floor Cleaner

Rejuvenate offers a floor cleaning line that is specifically designed for terrazzo floors. It is a neutral cleaner that comes with several options. You can use it to clean, protect, and even restore your terrazzo floor.

  • It's designed for frequent use.
  • There are no special instructions, you simply spray and mop.
  • Customers rated this with a solid 4.3 stars on Amazon and 4 stars on Home Depot. Many customers noted the superior cleaning power and ease of use. Additionally, if you are going to reseal your floor, many recommend doing this first to lift stains and debris.
  • The cost is about $6 for a 32-ounce bottle.

More Terrazzo Cleaning Tips

To keep your floor looking fantastic?

  • Never use an oil-based cleaner or stain remover. Oil products can permanently discolor terrazzo flooring.
  • If using a commercial cleaning product, even one specially formulated for terrazzo floors, test it in an inconspicuous area first to check for discoloration.
  • Keep your floor from getting stained by placing mats or rugs in high-traffic areas and near the refrigerator or stove, and wipe up any spills immediately.
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule to avoid long-term buildup of dust, dirt, and debris on your floor. Regular cleaning will help you avoid overuse stains.

Beautiful Flooring

Terrazzo flooring is a beautiful and affordable choice because it can be used to create patterns and pictures, or just used as attractive solid flooring or tiles. If you can confidently answer the question "how do I clean a terrazzo floor," you will always be able to keep your floor bright and polished.

How Do I Clean a Terrazzo Floor