How to Clean Tile Floors
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Tile serves as an attractive and versatile type of flooring for kitchens, bathrooms and other parts of the house. For tile floors to look their best, they should be kept free of dirt and regularly given deep cleans. Learning how to clean tile floors is an easy process that’s not very time-consuming. The key is to match the type of tile with the correct cleaning method.
No matter what tile material you have, one of the most important steps to have clean tile floors is weekly maintenance. Perform the following once or twice a week:
- Sweep the tile and grout with a soft bristle broom to remove dirt
- Vacuum with brush attachment to remove dust and remaining particles.
- You should also thoroughly sweep and vacuum immediately before mopping the tile floor.
Tip: Wipe up spills and wet spots with a cleaning cloth as soon as possible, as wet, grimy dirt becomes more difficult to remove the longer it sits on the tile.
- For best results, wash bathroom tiles once a week and kitchen tiles biweekly. Sponge mops may push dirty water into grout lines, so instead use a cleaning cloth or a flat mop to apply the mixture.
- Clean ceramic tile floors with warm water or a mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Add fresh water frequently to avoid cleaning with dirty water.
- Wash and dry one section of the floor at a time.
Tip: Use this method on wood tile floors, which are made of ceramic or porcelain tile designed to resemble wood.
- For unpolished or unglazed porcelain tile floors, use a soft bristle brush and scrub a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Allow the floor to stay wet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse with hot water and wipe dry with a clean towel or microfiber cloth.
- For polished or glazed porcelain tile, wipe with hot water and scrub stains with a bristle brush. Wash with vinegar solution or a commercial tile cleaner diluted to half strength. Wash one more time with hot water to rinse off the cleaner, then dry with a clean towel.
Tip: Avoid using bleach or ammonia on porcelain tile floors.
Natural stone tile floors can require special care while following the same essential steps as above.
- Before cleaning, sweep stone tile floors with a soft broom, as rougher brooms can leave scratches.
- Slate tile floors can be cleaned with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent such as dish soap. Avoid cleaning products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acidic substances.
- Do not use vinegar or chemicals on granite or marble tile floors. Instead, use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner that won’t streak or discolor the tile.
- Travertine tile floors, like floors of limestone or marble tile, should be cleaned with hot water and a spray cleaner designed for marble or granite tile floors. Apply using a soft cloth or sponge and buff dry with a clean cloth. Cleaning on a regular basis should prevent the need from using soap.
Tile floors will not appear completely clean unless the dirty grout is cleaned as well.
- Create a paste of baking soda and water.
- Scrub it gently into the grout with a toothbrush or grout brush.
- Rinse with warm water and allow to air dry.
- Try removing small grout stains with a white or pink pencil eraser, like you would erase a mistake on a piece of paper.
- For stubborn stains, use a toothbrush or sponge to apply grout cleaner or a solution of three-quarters bleach and one quarter water to the grout lines and rinse with warm water. Avoid getting the bleach on the tile.
The best way to clean tile floors depends on the type of tile you have and usually only requires the application of warm water and elbow grease. Keeping your tile floors free of dirt and debris can mean that deeper tile floor cleaning will be needed less often.