How to Clean Tile Floors Easily [Step-by-Step Guide]
Tile floors are durable, easy to clean, and are moisture resistant compared to other types of flooring. But like all floors, they need proper care.
It’s crucial to understand that there are different types of tile floors. Granite, marble, stone, vinyl, and others require different cleaning methods. For example, vinyl is low maintenance, while marble requires more careful attention.
With the right techniques, the right tools, and a regular cleaning schedule, you can keep your tile floor looking nice.
This guide will go over how to clean tile floors and extend their life.
- Vacuum or sweep your floor once a week, and mop or scrub once every two weeks.
- Ceramic, porcelain, and resilient tile flooring are low maintenance, while granite, marble, and natural stone need more specialized care.
- When mopping or scrubbing, change the water frequently to prevent buildup of dirty residue.
- Grout absorbs stains faster than tile because it’s porous.
- Use a baking soda solution (1 to 3 baking soda to water ratio) to clean stained grout.
- To prevent future staining, grout should be sealed.
How Often Should I Clean My Tile Floor?
To reduce wear and tear on your floor, it’s important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule. We recommend a combination of dry and wet cleaning.
Here are scheduling goals to aim for:
- Once a week – vacuum or sweep your floor. Before you scrub your floor or employ any wet cleaning techniques, you should get rid of loose debris. Vacuuming or sweeping will remove dirt that you would otherwise be pushing around with a mop. A hand broom and dustpan should do the trick. You can also use a vacuum with a soft bristle attachment to cover large areas.
- Once every two weeks – mop or scrub your floor. You need to do more than sweep and vacuum when a film of dirt and grime build up on your tiles. For bathroom floors, we recommend doing this every week, because bacteria builds up faster in bathrooms. You should also clean your grout once every few months.
What You Need
This is a list of basic cleaning supplies for all varieties of tile flooring.
- Vacuum cleaner – Check out our advice on the best vacuum cleaners for the money. Our top pick is Shark NV356E S2 Navigator.
- Mop – We recommend the MANGOTIME Dust Wet Mop.
- Cleaning rags – Any rag you have around the house, or even paper towels, will do. Alternatively, you can try Scotch-Brite Reusable Wipes, which can be washed and reused unlike normal paper towels
- Scrub brushes – This is good for deep cleaning purposes. We recommend the Unger 2-in-1 Grout and Corner Scrubber
- Gentle all-purpose cleaner – Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner is a good option.
- Broom and dustpan – The TreeLen broom and dustpan combo is a good example.
- Dish soap or mild detergent – A great standby is Arm & Hammer.
- Baking soda
Here’s How to Clean Your Floors
As we mentioned, there are many different types of floor tile. One size doesn’t fit all, and this concept applies to which cleaners you use on a tile floor.
Each variant needs different cleaners and cleaning techniques. Ceramic and porcelain are low maintenance, while premium flooring options like marble or granite require more specialized techniques.
Cleaning Ceramic or Porcelain
These tiles are durable, and with a few easy steps, can be kept looking fresh for years to come.
- Clear away loose dirt with a vacuum or broom. This step is crucial to reduce the surface wear from sand and grit.
- Mop the floor with soap and water, and a rag or chamois mop. We don’t recommend using sponge mops because these tend to push dirty water into grout lines, making them dirty faster. Change the water frequently so that the dirty water doesn’t cloud your floor. If you’re tired of mopping (and vacuuming), you can also buy a vacuum mop combo.
- Scrub out tile stains with a concentrated solution, like baking soda or bleach.
- Clean soap residue with a gentle all-purpose cleaner, or a mildly acidic solution such as lemon juice. You can reduce soap residue by using less soap.
- Dry your floor with a lint-free cloth. Don’t leave your floor to air-dry as this will cause it to form water spots.
Cleaning Marble or Natural Stone
This tile requires more close attention. The same basic dry cleaning concepts (sweeping and vacuuming) as with ceramic or porcelain apply.
But for natural stone, you should look for special cleaners that are made specifically for slate, marble, or granite. Harsh chemicals found in regular cleaners can damage the surface of marble or natural stone floors.
For slate tile, avoid detergents with acidic properties like lemon juice or vinegar. After you clean it, dry with a soft cloth immediately to avoid water spots.
With marble, it’s even more important to avoid acidic cleaners. These products can permanently etch the marble tile’s surface. Marble is also vulnerable to abrasive solutions like brushes and scouring powders, so avoid these too.
Cleaning Vinyl or Linoleum
Vinyl, linoleum, and other types of resilient tile flooring are more comfortable flooring options and are easy to maintain.
Here are our top tips for cleaning resilient tile floors.
- For vinyl flooring, avoid abrasive cleaners and scrubbers. Using these products risks leaving scratches on the surface of the vinyl. Mild detergent, or water and vinegar, will do the trick with keeping vinyl clean.
- Linoleum is a completely different material from vinyl and requires a different solution. We recommend using Borax detergent and water after dry cleaning with broom or vacuum. Rinse the floor and leave it to dry. Polish with liquid wax every few months to keep the linoleum floor protected.
- Cork tile is easy enough to clean with detergent or vinegar if it’s polished with a solution such as polyurethane. If the cork floor isn’t polished, you should apply a wax solution (solid or liquid) when the floor is dry.
Removing Stains from Grout
Cleaning the tiles is one thing, but the next big secret to making your floor look clean is the grout. Grout absorbs dirt and grime because it is porous.
Therefore, it requires special attention. Here’s what we recommend.
- Create a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water.
- Scrub the baking soda paste into the stained grout.
- Let the solution sit overnight.
- Use a brush to scrub the solution away from the grout. Don’t use metal brushes because these damage grout. Use a nylon brush instead.
- You may need to repeat the above four steps to completely remove grout stains.
- Seal the grout with a grout sealing solution to help reduce further stains. Ideally, the grout should be sealed after it’s first applied because of its vulnerability to staining in contrast to the flooring.
Having the right equipment will make this task much easier. So feel free to check out my buying guide on the best tile floor cleaner machines that can help you get the job done quicker.
Now you can have excellent tiles anywhere. If you ever grow tired of them, read our guide on removing tiles yourself.