How To Clean Tile Floors

Tile floors are easy to keep clean with sweeping or vacuuming. When it's time for a more thorough job, here's how to clean tile floors.

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Tile is a wonderful flooring option because it’s a beautiful, low-maintenance material. Because it’s easy to keep clean, tile is a popular picks for bathroom floors and kitchens. For the most part, to keep your tile floors clean, all you need to do is regularly sweep or vacuum them, plus wipe up any spills immediately.

When it’s time for a more thorough job, here’s how to really get in there and get your tile floors sparkling.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Tile Floors

  1. Sweep or vacuum the surface to remove dirt and debris. Make sure to get in all of the corners, where dirt and crumbs collect.
  2. Wipe the floor clean. You can effectively clean a tile floor simply using warm water. You can also mix in a commercial floor cleaner, following all manufacturer instructions, or make a natural solution by mixing one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of warm water.
  3. Clean your tile floors using a sponge, soft cloth or mop. Whatever device you use, make sure to rinse or wring it out well between dips into the bucket.
  4. If you’re using water with a commercial cleaner or vinegar, rinse the floor with clean water afterward.
  5. Make sure to let your floor dry completely before walking on it.

How to Clean Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Floors

Compared to porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles are more vulnerable to water and stains. You can clean ceramic tiles with a simple soap and water solution. Porcelain tile will benefit from a porcelain tile cleaning product.

How to Clean Marble or Natural Stone Tile Floors

Natural stone and marble floors are porous, often requiring specialized floor cleaners. Marble, in particular, requires extra care. Avoid acidic cleaners like vinegar when cleaning marble. You may want to use an etch remover or sealer on stone floors.

How to Clean Vinyl or Linoleum Tile Floors

Vinyl and linoleum floors are known for being easy to clean. When they do need a deep cleaning — like after a few muddy or snowy days — you don’t need any special tools or cleaners. You can simply mop with a vinegar and water solution, or use a store-bought vinyl floor cleaner.

How To Remove Stains from Grout

Grout is what holds your tiles together. You need to keep your grout clean, too, or else your flooring won’t look as nice and if the grout deteriorates, you’ll end up with unsightly loose tiles. The best way to keep your grout clean is to seal it after the tile is installed. Sealants provide a barrier that helps keep out stains, dirt and water. Grout needs to be re-sealed every six months, or per the tile manufacturer’s instructions.

Whether or not you’ve sealed or re-sealed your grout, it can become dirty. To clean it, create a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Then scrub the grout with this mixture, using a toothbrush. You can also clean grout with this magical grout pen.

Now that you know how to clean tile floors, it’s time to wipe up your own!

Melanie Radzicki McManus
Melanie Radzicki McManus is an outdoors enthusiast specializing in travel. She has won many awards for her writing, most notably four prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards, considered the Pultizers of travel writing. McManus is the author of "Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail." Her work has appeared in Backpacker, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, How Stuff Works and dozens of other publications.