Best Way to Clean Your Tile Floors - For Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, and More

Best Way to Clean Your Tile Floors - For Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, and More

Cleaning
By Dikran Seferian November 03, 2021

Tile floors come in a variety of types such as ceramic, vinyl, and natural stone. Each of them has its own characteristics in terms of form and function. Providing your tiles with the necessary upkeep will ensure that they will serve you for decades. Even basic maintenance such as sweeping and washing will go a long way in keeping them in tip-top shape. With the many types of tile flooring available, the cleaning process of each may vary in terms of materials you would need and the steps you should take. Familiarizing yourself with the maintenance needs of each flooring material will allow you to go about the process accordingly. 

Ceramic

Ceramic is known for its beauty, durability, as well as versatility. These traits make it ideal for kitchen, bathroom, and entryway floors. Ceramic is also a popular choice for backsplashes and countertops. Although it is generally low-maintenance, basic care is still necessary to keep your ceramic tiles nice and shiny. You don’t really need to use any strong products unless you’re trying to remove a stubborn stain — in which case consider testing the cleaner on a hidden spot. In most cases, a mild dish detergent mixed with warm water will do just fine for your ceramic floor.

Keeping Your Ceramic Tiles in Great Shape

Keeping Your Ceramic Tiles in Great Shape

You Will Need

  • Broom or vacuum (with soft head attachment)
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Warm water
  • Rag or chamois mop
  • Dry lint-free cloth

How to Clean Your Ceramic Tile Floor

Start out by sweeping or vacuuming your ceramic floor to get rid of excess dust. Using a rag or a chamois mop, clean the tiles with a mild dish detergent and warm water. Avoid sponge mops as they tend to drive the dirt into the grout lines. As you’re mopping, make sure to change the water often in order to avoid clouding the floor. Dry the tiles with a fresh cloth immediately after cleaning to prevent water spots from forming.

Porcelain 

Porcelain is considered to be a favorite flooring option among many homeowners, mainly because of its sheer beauty. It is available in a wide array of colors and patterns. Moreover, it is resistant to stains and moisture. If not maintained properly, however, porcelain tiles can become dull over time. Cleaning your porcelain flooring on a regular basis will ensure that it never loses its shine. Besides a weekly sweeping or vacuuming, you’ll need to clean the tiles with a vinegar solution once a month. Alternatively, you could use a commercial cleanser that’s suitable for porcelain.

You Will Need

  • Dry-dust or microfiber mop, vacuum with soft head attachment
  • ¼ cup white vinegar mixed with two gallons of water
  • Sponge mop
  • Soft-nylon brush
  • Cheesecloth or dry kitchen towel

How to Clean Your Porcelain Tile Floor

Begin by getting rid of the dust with a microfiber mop or a vacuum cleaner. Make sure to use the soft head attachment to avoid scratching the porcelain. Using a sponge mop, apply the vinegar solution to the flooring. Remove any localized stains with a soft-nylon brush and warm water — avoid brushing any dry areas. Finally, rinse the surface with warm water and wipe it dry with a cheesecloth or a kitchen towel.

Glass

Durable, tough, and beautiful, glass tiles are an exceptionally popular choice for flooring — especially for bathrooms and kitchens. Unlike ceramic and stone, glass is not porous. This makes it resistant to mold and moisture. Nevertheless, giving your glass floor the care it needs will preserve its beauty. For regular cleaning, all you may need is a traditional glass cleaner. Buildups of hard water and soap scum in the bathroom may warrant an occasional cleansing with a vinegar solution.

You Will Need

  • Traditional glass cleaner (such as Windex)
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Clean cloth for drying

For build-ups:

  • Empty spray bottle
  • 50/50 vinegar and water
  • Lint-free cloth

How to Clean Your Glass Tile Floor

To clean your glass flooring on a daily basis, start by spraying it with a traditional glass cleaner (Windex is a common option). Afterward, simply wipe the cleaner off with a lint-free cloth and follow it up with a dry cloth for a streak-free finish. As for removing buildups, fill up a spray bottle with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Spray abundantly and let sit for a few minutes, finishing off by wiping the surface with a piece of cloth.

Natural Stone

No other type of flooring offers a touch of nature to a room more than natural stone. Besides being champions in durability, natural stone tiles are available in slate, granite, and marble, just to name a few. To maintain its fresh look, do your stone flooring solid by cleaning on a regular basis. You could generally just use water for the cleaning —  although you can’t go wrong with a bit of dish soap or natural stone cleaner. Make sure to avoid acidic substances as well as abrasive materials like steel wool as they might mar the surface.

How to Maintain Your Natural Stone Flooring

How to Maintain Your Natural Stone Flooring

You Will Need

  • Broom or vacuum
  • A bucket of warm water 
  • Dish soap or natural stone cleaner (optional)
  • Microfiber towel

How to Clean Your Natural Stone Flooring

Remove any loose dust and debris by sweeping or vacuuming the floor. Soak a microfiber towel into a bucket of warm water, thoroughly wring it out and clean the room. Then, simply let the floor air dry by itself.

Vinyl

Another glamorous and long-lasting tile floor material is vinyl. However, as durable as it is, it’s certainly not invincible. Luckily, maintaining your vinyl tile floor is rather easy and inexpensive. You may want to avoid steel wool, detergents, and abrasive products as they can dull the surface. The best way to clean vinyl tiles is with apple cider vinegar; the acidity gets rid of dirt and grime buildups in a smooth fashion.

You Will Need

  • Dry mop or vacuum
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • A gallon of warm water
  • Sponge mop
  • Baby oil (optional)
  • Soft nylon brush (for stains)

How to Clean Your Vinyl Tile Flooring

First, get rid of dust, dirt, and hairs with a dry mop or a vacuum cleaner; when vacuuming, make sure not to use the beater attachment as it tends to damage the vinyl surface. Mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with a gallon of warm water and apply it to the flooring with a sponge mop. You can add a touch of shine to your vinyl tile floor by adding a tiny bit of baby oil to the mixture. To remove stains, use a soft nylon brush with common household solvents such as rubbing alcohol.

Linoleum

Linoleum is an eco-friendly, non-allergenic, and durable material that has been around for over a century. Although the introduction of vinyl flooring pushed linoleum out of the spotlight, it has recently made a comeback. Cleaning linoleum is a lot like cleaning a hardwood floor. And just like wood flooring, it is durable yet prone to damage from moisture and alkalinity. It may be best to avoid using excess water when cleaning your linoleum tile flooring. You may also want to avoid ammonia-based products as they will damage the polish and the linoleum itself.   

Linoleum Tile Floors and How to Clean Them

Linoleum Tile Floors and How to Clean Them

You Will Need

  • Dust mop or vacuum
  • Bucket of lukewarm water
  • Neutral-pH linoleum or vinyl cleaner
  • Mop
  • Dry towel

How to Clean Your Linoleum Tile Floor

Add a small amount of linoleum cleaner in a bucket of lukewarm water. After sweeping or vacuuming loose dust, work over sections of the floor with a damp mop (dipped in the bucket and wrung out). Next, replace the bucket with pure water and re-mop the floor. Finally, dry the surface thoroughly with an old towel.

Cork

A truly unique option for rustic yet homey flooring is cork. The aesthetic qualities in addition to the tremendous reliability make this material ideal for many living spaces. To maintain the great qualities of cork, however, you may want to clean it on a regular basis. Keep in mind the importance of using the right materials for your cork floor. Rough brushes and harsh products may cause permanent damage to the surface. 

You Will Need

  • Soft-bristle broom
  • Dish soap or neutral pH cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Soft sponge mop
  • Microfiber cloth

How to Clean Your Cork Flooring

Using a soft-bristle brush, sweep the dust, dirt, and debris off the surface. Mix warm water with a very small amount of dish soap or a cleanser with a neutral pH level. Wipe the surface with a soft sponge mop,  making sure to wring out excess water after dipping it in the bucket. With the microfiber mop, carefully wipe down the cork floor and leave it to air dry.

Getting to the Grout

Clean grout is important for a fresh-looking tile floor. Due to its porous nature, grout tends to absorb stains rather easily. Cleaning it, however, is rather inexpensive. With some household products, you can make a homemade grout cleaner to get your tiles looking good as new.

Homemade Cleaning Materials for Grout Stains

Homemade Cleaning Materials for Grout Stains

You Will Need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Stiff nylon brush
  • Silicon-based sealer

How to Clean the Grout Among Your Tiles

Make a paste out of baking soda and water, rub it on the stained grout, and let it sit for a few hours. Then, scrub it off with a stiff nylon brush and repeat the process if needed. You can prevent future stains by applying a silicone-based sealer to the grout.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian