How To Clean Tile Floors; Ceramic, Stone, Linoleum & More
Floors take on a lot, including daily traffic and inevitable spills, scuffs, or mishaps.
Tile floors are durable and perfect for areas where water is frequently used like bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, or mudrooms. Whether the tile is vinyl, ceramic, or stone, cleaning it correctly will help the floor look better and last longer.
Fortunately, since most ceramic and porcelain tile is finished with a durable and impenetrable surface glaze, the flooring is incredibly forgiving and cleaning tile floors is pretty easy. Water, dirt, liquids, and germs all come up easily since they cannot be absorbed into the dense tile.
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.
How To Maintain Your Tile Floor
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.
How to Clean Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Floors
The most common tile flooring, ceramic, and porcelain are a cinch to maintain, though it’s often hard to see the buildup of grime under your feet. To clean ceramic or porcelain tiles, use nearly any type of cleaner, whether it’s all-purpose, dish soap, or simple white vinegar—they don’t scratch or lose their shine easily.
What You'll Need
- Broom and dustpan or vacuum
- Rag or chamois mop
- Dry cloth
- Dish Soap
1: Sweep or vacuum your tile floors to keep them from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull the glazed surfaces.
2: Mix dish soap with warm water and dip a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. These mops are best for cleaning tile because sponge mops tend to push dirty water into the grout lines, making them harder to clean.
3: Run the mop over the floor in even gentle strokes, cleaning the tiles. Add fresh water frequently to avoid cleaning with dirty water.
4: Clean the grouts. 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.
5: Dry the wet floor immediately. If your tile is prone to forming water spots, dry it with a clean microfiber cloth immediately after mopping.
How to Clean Marble or Natural Stone Tile Floors
To clean marble or natural stone tile floors follow the same procedure as porcelain tiles while keeping the below tips in mind.
You should be careful when you’re working with natural stone tile like slate, granite or marble. Chemicals in traditional cleaners can damage the surface of these materials. Instead, clean your stone tiles with cleaners made specifically for natural stone.
Slate and marble tiles can’t handle anything acidic, such as vinegar. Avoid cleaning marble tile with anything that has an acidic PH level, not even lemon.
Like marble and stone tiles, Granite tile needs a pH-neutral mild detergent. A harsh cleaner risks leaving streaks or discoloration on the tile. You also may want to buff a polished granite floor to keep it looking shiny and clean.
How to Clean Vinyl or Linoleum Tile Floors
Vinyl and linoleum floors are inexpensive alternatives to pricier stone or ceramic tiles, but the upkeep is just as important.
Keep these tips in mind when cleaning your vinyl or linoleum tile floor:
Vinyl Tile: The vinyl flooring type is very easy to maintain. Simply sweep or vacuum up debris and mop with a vinyl cleaning solution or water and vinegar. Never use an abrasive cleaner or scrubbing tool on vinyl as it may scratch the surface.
Linoleum Tile: After sweeping, clean with a solution that’s meant for linoleum flooring or a mixture of borax and water. Every three to six months, apply a coat of wax and buff to maintain the floor’s shine.
How to Clean Tile Grout
The real secret to a great-looking tile floor is clean grout. Because grout is porous and absorbs grease and other stains, it can be tricky to keep clean.
Here are a few ways you can keep your grout to look like new. They’re ranked from least to most aggressive, so gradually work your way down the list.
Use dish soap: Combine hot water and dish soap to create a mild cleaning solution. Scrubbing with the soap mixture should wash away dirt and grime without a problem.
Create a baking soda paste: Mix water and baking soda into a paste, and apply it to the grout lines. Let the paste sit overnight and scrub it away in the morning using a soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush.
Use a dedicated store-bought grout cleaner: If you’re just not sure where to start, try a commercial grout cleaner. It takes the guesswork out of the cleaning process and is certain to take care of soap scum, oils, and mildew stains.
Steam clean: If you have a steamer handy, carefully try applying steam to the grout lines. The heat and moisture might be able to loosen up ground-in dirt, and it will eliminate any mold or germs in the porous surface. However, you should do this very rarely, as continued steam could lead to damage.
Do’s & Don'ts To Maintain Your Tile Floors
Be thoughtful about the mop you use. Some options are better than others.
Avoid using sponge mops, since they push dirt into grout lines instead of absorbing and picking it up. An absorbent chamois mop is a much better tool.
When considering using a steam mop, keep in mind that frequent use can potentially damage grout. For this reason, steam mopping is recommended only as an occasional cleaning method for hard-to-beat stains.
Vacuum or sweep at least once a week or whenever you can visibly see (or feel) debris. A soft-bristle vacuum attachment can be used on tile floors of any type, but it may be difficult to fit it into corners or tight spaces. Use a hand broom and dustpan to finish the job.
Hoover Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner
Rejuvenate Grout Cleaner
Shurhold Chamois Mop
VibraWipe Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Dr. PurifierSteam Cleaner
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