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Guide To Cleaning Tile Floors

Updated Dec 8, 2022

Updated Dec 8, 2022

Home > Flooring > Guide To Cleaning Tile Floors

Tile flooring generally covers some of the more high-traffic areas of your home. Therefore, keeping your tile floors clean can be challenging, whether it’s the flooring in your kitchen, the bathroom, or anywhere in between. 

While it may seem like a task that’s hard to keep up with, we’ve gathered the top tips and tricks to help keep your tile floors clean. 

The Importance of Maintaining Your Tile Floors

close-up shot of ceramic tile floor
Image Source: Canva

It’s important to maintain your floors. Not only does it help to keep your home looking clean, but it can help with the following:

Extending the Life of Your Floor

Your home is an investment. Whether your tile floor is brand new or 10 years old, cleaning it regularly, and with the proper tools and cleaning products will help extend its life span.

Limiting the Spread of Germs

A tile floor is one of a house’s biggest collectors of germs and bacteria. If you want to limit the spread of bacteria, keeping your floor clean is an easy way to do that.

Making a Good Impression

It’s hard to ignore the fact that most people judge the space they enter. Keeping your tile floors clean is a simple way to make a good first impression.

Preventing Accidents

Maintaining clean and dry floors is critical to the prevention of accidents. The buildup of dirt and grime or wet floors can lead to slips and falls. The best preventative is to keep your tile floors clean.

Best Practices for Cleaning Tile Floors

What You’ll Need

Starting a cleaning task and realizing you don’t have the right supplies halfway through can be disheartening and derail your project. Keeping these things on hand will ensure you’ve got what you need to tackle any tile cleaning job. 

  • Broom
  • Hardwood floor vacuum
  • Mop
  • White vinegar
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Stain cleaner
  • Oxygen-based bleach cleanser
  • Toothbrush
  • Clean cloth
  • Gloves

When selecting a mop, make sure to choose a spin mop or chamois style mop — sponge mops and steam mops can push dirty water into grout lines, which is difficult to remove. If you’re trying to decide on a vacuum, a vacuum designed for hardwood floors will work well on tile. 

Though cleaning tile floors is fairly straightforward, you’ll want to follow several steps to ensure you’re cleaning properly. According to our research on the best tile cleaning tips, here’s what to do:

  1. Sweep or vacuum loose debris. Regularly cleaning up loose debris helps to prevent the dulling of tile surfaces — it also prevents debris from dirtying your mop.
  2. Fill a mop bucket with hot water and a cleaning solution. The type of tile you have will determine the cleaning solution you should use. Regardless, don’t use too much cleaning solution. If you do, it may leave a residue.
  3. Prepare your mop. Rinse the mop head under hot running water. Rinsing the mop head will help remove any leftover debris from the previous usage.
  4. Mop the floors. Mop the floors with the prepared water and cleaning solution in the mop bucket, making sure to refresh the bucket with clean water and floor cleaner if it gets cloudy.
  5. Dry the floors. An absorbent microfiber cloth to dry the floor is a great way to ensure you get any remaining grime. It will also prevent any water spots.

Not All Tile Floors Are Alike

close-up shot of ceramic tile floor
Image Source: Canva

Though tile flooring is relatively easy to maintain, different types of tile require various types of care. Cleaning your tile properly will help to maintain its appearance. 

Ceramic

Ceramic tile floors are one of the most low-maintenance tile flooring options. It’s best to clean ceramic tile with a simple solution of hot water and a bit of mild dish detergent.

Porcelain

Similarly to ceramic, porcelain tile floors are fairly low-maintenance. When mopping or deep cleaning porcelain tile, use a pH neutral or mildly alkaline cleaner.

Slate

Slate is a fairly sensitive natural stone material — after sweeping, mop with a detergent that doesn’t contain acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice, as it may cause deterioration. Dry the tiles as soon as possible.

Marble

Marble tile, like other natural stone tiles, is sensitive. Mop with a neutral or mild detergent, and avoid scrubbing or scouring, which may cause etching on the surface.

Granite

Sensitive to acid, you’ll want to use a mild detergent on granite stone tile floors. Using a cleaner that’s too harsh may result in discoloration or streaking.

Linoleum

After sweeping or vacuuming, linoleum flooring should be cleaned with a linoleum-specific cleaning solution. You can also use a homemade solution of hot water, vinegar, and dish soap.

Vinyl 

Mild detergents should be used for vinyl flooring. Abrasive tools and cleaners may mark the surface of the vinyl, leaving visible scratches.

Cork

Whether or not your cork floor is sealed with a protective coating, you should use a mild detergent. After cleaning, you can apply a layer of wax once the tile is dry.

The Best Cleaning Solution for Each Type of Tile

Using the right type of cleaner for your tile is crucial for the longevity of your flooring. Here’s what and what not to use on each type of flooring:

Type of TileClean WithDon’t Use
CeramicWarm water, dish detergentBleach, ammonia, or oil-based cleaners
CorkMild detergent, liquid or solid waxHarsh or abrasive cleansers
GraniteMild detergent, soft mopVinegar, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide
LinoleumLinoleum cleanerBleach or ammonia
MarbleMild detergent, soft mopVinegar, lemon juice, acidic or harsh cleansers
PorcelainVinegar, warm water, mild detergentAmmonia, bleach, oil-based, or wax cleaners
SlatepH neutral cleanserAcidic cleaners
VinylVinegar, warm water, mild detergentAmmonia, bleach, or abrasive cleaners and tools

How To Clean Grout

Because it’s porous, tile grout is susceptible to absorbing dirt and other materials that make it appear dirty. To keep your grout looking fresh, it needs to be cleaned every once in a while. You’ll need a stiff bristle brush, like a toothbrush, and a commercial grout cleaner. You can also use a homemade DIY grout cleaning paste of baking soda and water. Once you have your supplies, here’s how to clean dirty grout lines:

  1. Apply the cleaner to the grout lines and leave it overnight.
  2. Scrub away the cleaning solution with a scrub brush.
  3. Sweep or vacuum the debris.
  4. Clean your floors as usual.

Maintaining the grout lines on your floor will help give a clean appearance to the entire floor. If you want to clean the grout less often, apply a grout sealer. Sealants protect the porous material from absorbing unwanted dirt and grime.

How Often Should You Clean Your Tile Floors?

clean tile floor with mop and floor cleaning product
Image Source: Canva

Scheduling a professional tile cleaning once a year when you do other deep cleaning is a good idea. However, you can create a regular cleaning schedule to maintain your flooring throughout the year. Here’s what we recommend:

Once A Week

You should sweep or vacuum at least once a week or whenever you see or feel debris. Keeping a hand broom and dustpan available will help ensure you can get into any areas that may be hard to reach with the broom or vacuum.

Every Other Week

It’s a good idea to mop tiles at least every other week. If you have tile in an area more susceptible to germs and bacteria, like a bathroom, you can wet clean weekly.

Biannually

You should clean grout lines every six months or whenever they look dingy. When any staining occurs, it’s best to spot clean messes with stain remover.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Tile Floors

Cleaning the tile floors throughout your home is the best way to maintain their longevity and appearance. Remember to use the proper tools and cleaning solutions to avoid unwanted damage.

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