How To Care For Terrazzo Floors

Terrazzo DefinedTypical Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a floor and countertop material that mimics stone. It is the combination of either cement or epoxy with an aggregate material such as marble, granite, plastic, seashells, or glass. The surface can range from a matte finish to an extremely high gloss. Prior to the 1980's, terrazzo was exclusively made with cement. Different maintenance methods apply to each type of terrazzo, so it is extremely important make a correct identification. Cement-based terrazzo is the most susceptible to staining because cement is more porous than most aggregate materials. However, even granite can stain too. In general, all terrazzo surfaces are very durable as long as no harsh chemicals are applied.Typical Terrazzo

Main Points to Consider

  • NEVER use an acid-based cleaner on terrazzo! Examples of acid cleaners: vinegar, tile and grout cleaners, aluminum cleaners.
  • Only NEUTRAL pH cleaners such as Marko SC100 or Marko CDD should be used for maintenance mopping.
  • In general, never put an acrylic floor finish on terrazzo as the stripper required to remove the finish can damage terrazzo.
  • Old terrazzo floors are different from new ones.
    1. Old – concrete mixture with marble chips embedded
    2. New – concrete mixture with glass, marble, or ceramic embedded.
    3. Newest – epoxy poured on concrete slab with glass, marble, seashells, or ceramic embedded.
  • There are differing opinions on applying finishes to terrazzo.
    1. In general, don’t apply any sealer or wax if terrazzo is new.
    2. Newer cement-based terrazzo may be sealed with the latest polymer specialty sealers.
    3. Old cement-based terrazzo was probably sealed and waxed. Once that process was begun, it must be continued.
      1. Apply an acrylic sealer and finish.
      2. Apply a combo acrylic all-in-one sealer/finish.

How to Clean Terrazzo Stains (excerpts included from

  • Alcoholic Beverages
    • Get rid of stains caused by alcoholic beverages by cleaning with hot water and Marko SC100 properly diluted. If the stain persistents, consider dabbing it with denatured alcohol. If the stain still does not go away, place an absorbent cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide directly over the stain topped by an ammonia-saturated cloth.
  • Blood
    • Remove blood stains by cleaning with cold, clean water. If the stain does not go away add a few drops of ammonia to the water. For stubborn blood stains, drizzle some lukewarm water on the affected area and sprinkle powdered malt on it. Let stand an hour and rinse.
  • Coffee
    • Soak a piece of absorbent cloth in a solution made of one part glycerin and three parts regular water. Put it on the area affected with coffee stains and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and calcium carbonate or abrasive powder and hot water and apply it on the stain.
  • Oil and Grease
    1. Remove oil and grease stains by gently cleaning the surface with warm water mixed with < Marko SC100.
  • Ink
    1. Get rid of ink stains by cleaning with warm water mixed with liquid detergent. For older stains, mix two tablespoons sodium perborate and a pint of water and whip it to form a paste before applying it on the stain. For stubborn blue ink stains, try applying strong ammonia water solution, not directly on the terrazzo but on a layer of cotton.
  • Soft Drinks
    • Place an absorbent cloth saturated in hydrogen peroxide directly over soft drink stains, followed by a cloth soaked in ammonia
  • Urine
    • Apply a paste of abrasive powder such as Ajax or Comet and hot water on terrazzo surface to remove urine stains. For unyielding urine stains, try laying a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide directly over the stain, followed by an ammonia-saturated cloth.