Keeping Tadelakt Clean
Tadelakt has seen something of a popularity boom in recent years, is increasingly found in rooms across the globe, outside of its native Morocco. It shouldn’t be surprising that this distinctive lime-based plaster, with its host natural attributes that make it preferable to cement-based plaster in many ways, is becoming popular, but it does raise the question of maintenance.
Morocco has had the benefit of Tadelakt plaster for thousands of years, so knowing how to maintain and clean Tadelakt is no mystery in that part of the world. But what about the rest of the world who are now embracing this wall finishing in a big way?
Cleaning Tadelakt plaster is simple, but it does require a special substance to get the job done. Simply wash the surface down with lukewarm water and a little olive soap, being sure to wipe off any water splashes or droplets afterward to avoid leaving lime deposits.
Of course, there is more to maintaining Tadelakt that merely cleaning it. If you want to know how to keep your traditional Moroccan wall finishing in tip-top shape, keep reading!
A Litte About Tadelakt
It helps to understand a little about the surface you are dealing with. Tadelakt is a lime-based plaster, much like Venetian Plaster. Being lime-based gives it many desirable properties, such as being naturally mold and algae-resistant, and breathable. And, of course, it looks great.
These natural properties also mean that you can’t just paint or varnish over Tadelakt. Or, rather, you could, but then what would be the point of having Tadelakt in the first place. If you were to seal Tadelakt with something like paint, it would no longer be a breathable surface. And, while the Tadelakt would still be mold and algae-resistant, the coats of paint that now covered it would not be.
For the most part, you will not need to use any special cleaning substances to clean your Tadelakt—a simple mix of warm water and a sponge will do the job just fine. However, if you are facing stubborn dirt and stains that won’t budge, adding a bit of olive soap to your water/sponge combo will usually be enough to do the job.
One of the reasons that it is so easy to clean Tadelakt is because the surface is finished with olive soap in the first place, and that forms the glossy sheen you see. This olive soap coating has the added bonus of making it very difficult for dirt to take hold on your Tadelakt surfaces, so cleaning Tadelakt is often just a matter of running a wet sponge across the surface.
The only drawback to Tadelakt is that it needs regular maintenance to keep its desirable properties and finish. That being said, the maintenance is so minimal that it hardly seems fair to call it a drawback.
That olive soap finish we mentioned above will need topping up from time to time. Fortunately, this is not a difficult process. All you need to do is apply the soap with a decorator sponge, being sure to cover any areas that are losing their glossy sheen. The Tadelakt will absorb the soap, revitalizing the finish, and protecting it from dirt. Once the surface has stopped absorbing the soap, you know the job is finished.
It is important to avoid more conventional cleaning products when cleaning Tadelakt, in particular harsh chemicals such as bleach and anything solvent-based. This can erode the olive soap layer and damage the Tadelakt itself!
Tadelakt makes for an excellent finishing surface for bathrooms and living rooms alike. Its distinctive appearance will make any area feel unique, while its naturally breathable and anti-mold properties will make your property that bit more healthy, both in terms of the property itself and the people inside it.
Tadelakt may need a little more maintenance than your average cement-based plaster finish, but it makes up for that in a far easier cleaning process that involves little more than some water, a sponge, and a little olive soap for tougher stains.
Just be sure to keep those harsher chemicals and synthetic finishes away. There is no sense in having a beautiful Tadelakt finish installed, only to cover it up with paint or ruin it with bleach!