How to Keep Your Tile Floors Sparkling Clean

Updated on June 13, 2020
lindacee profile image

Linda is hands-on involved in home improvement projects, organization, storage and house cleaning tips and ideas.


Now that you’ve taken up all that old, worn carpet and replaced it with beautiful tile you’re probably curious about its care and maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your tile floors and keep them looking like new you need to know the basics of tile cleaning.

While cleaning tile isn’t necessarily rocket science there are a few tricks to ensure your floors stay sparkling clean for years to come. These simple tips apply to most types of tile including ceramic, porcelain, vinyl, linoleum, natural stone or cork.


Believe it or not, some people don’t bother to sweep their tile floors. The results in granules of dirt sticking to the tiles like a magnet—especially textured tile like tumbled marble or slate. That layer of grit eventually etches into the tile, dulling the surface and making it difficult to keep clean.

Routine sweeping loosens and removes most of the dirt. An upright vacuum cleaner with a bare floor setting will also work but over time it can scratch the tiles. If you must, use a canister vacuum with a brush floor attachment to avoid surface damage.

Don't forget to sweep the floors before mopping.
Don't forget to sweep the floors before mopping. | Source

Damp Mopping

Tile floors should be regularly damp mopped using a mild cleaner, preferably one recommended by the manufacturer. If you’re not certain which cleaner to use stick with water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid or a cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. Both are safe for use in homes with children or pets.

Use a damp mop with a mild floor cleaner.
Use a damp mop with a mild floor cleaner. | Source

Preventing Soap Residue

Sometimes your tiles end up looking cloudy if you clean with dish detergent soap. Remove the haze with a liquid non-abrasive cleanser. If the film remains try using a mild DIY cleaner made from diluted lemon juice. It will work on porcelain or ceramic tiles. Avoid using it on natural tiles that can damage the stone.

If your tiles have a film of soap residue go over it with a slightly damp microfiber mop to remove the haze.
If your tiles have a film of soap residue go over it with a slightly damp microfiber mop to remove the haze. | Source

Deep Cleaning

If your tile floors are heavily soiled mopping probably won’t help much. For extremely dirty tile use an oxygen bleach solution and apply with a scrub brush to remove embedded dirt and grease. After applying a cleaning solution rinse thoroughly with clean water to prevent breaking down the tile's protective surface.

Tackle years of ground-in dirt and gunk by purchasing or renting a steam cleaner. If your floor is beyond DIY help leave it to the professionals to get out stubborn stains and grime.

Scrub stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles with a stiff brush and heavy-duty cleaner. Consider purchasing a steam cleaner or hire a professional.
Scrub stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles with a stiff brush and heavy-duty cleaner. Consider purchasing a steam cleaner or hire a professional. | Source

Dry the Tiles

Once you’ve mopped the tiles it’s best not to let them air dry. It will likely create water spots especially if your local water contains heavy mineral deposits. Immediately dry the tile floor with a clean, lint-free cloth or a cotton or microfiber mop.

Quickly wipe up the tiles to prevent calcium water spotting.
Quickly wipe up the tiles to prevent calcium water spotting. | Source

Grout Cleaning

Don’t forget about the grout. Clean tiles are just no good unless the grout is also sparkling clean. When tile is originally installed a protective grout sealer is applied. The sealer should be reapplied each year to prevent stains, dirt and moisture from penetrating the grout’s porous surface.

To clean dirty grout lines, mix up a batch of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda or oxygen bleach and water in equal parts. Scrub stains and discoloration with a toothbrush and rinse. Allow the grout to dry completely and then apply a sealer.

Grout Cleaning

Guide for Cleaning Different Types of Tiles

Granite tiles: Just like granite, marble and other natural stone tiles it should be mopped with a pH-neutral cleanser. Harsh cleaners can discolor, cause streaking and seep into the stone. Make sure granite tiles are sealed to prevent stains.

Marble tiles: Polished marble requires routine maintenance to enhance its sheen. Avoid cleaners with a high pH level. Stay away from stiff bristles and scouring powder that will scratch the surface. Routinely buff polished marble to keep it shiny. Tumbled marble has a natural appearance that doesn't require polishing.

Slate tiles: Use a mild detergent or stone cleaner. Acidic or alkaline ingredients will definitely etch into the slate. Rinse with clean water and wipe with a soft cloth to prevent spotting. If you find scratches in high-traffic areas use a clean cloth and rub mineral oil into the abrasions to conceal abrasions.

Linoleum tiles: Linoleum is still available and gives kitchens and bathrooms a retro look. Linoleum is quite different than vinyl tiles. Begin sweeping or using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt. Mop with a special linoleum cleaner or homemade mixtures of water and borax or vinegar, baking soda and water to remove stubborn grime. Every few months apply wax and buff to a shine.

Cork tiles: Sweep and dust the floors and damp mop at least once a week. Wipe up spills immediately. Add a few drops of dish detergent or oil soap. Acid and base ingredients can damage its protective sealer. Excess water will saturate the cork causing the tiles to swell and warp. Use a damp sponge mop to clean the tiles.

Vinyl tiles: Vinyl is easy to clean and lasts over time. Sweep up the dirt, use a damp microfiber mop with warm water or a vinyl cleanser. Avoid vinegar, abrasives or scrub brushes that can mar the vinyl surface.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      14 months ago from Egypt

      A very excellent and useful article. Thank you for the tips.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      14 months ago from Arizona

      Dianna, it does take a bit of extreme scrubbing with baking soda but it does work.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      14 months ago

      I use the baking powder grout method you suggest here. it works, takes time but it works. Great tips!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      14 months ago from Arizona

      Liz, it is just the right timing for spring cleaning. My next project is to swap out winter clothes for the warm weather wardrobe.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      14 months ago from UK

      This is well timed for spring cleaning. Useful tips and great illustrations.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)