How to Clean Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is created by mixing sand and clay and heating it to high temperatures to create a hard, durable surface. There are different types of glaze that are applied to the surface which is the most vulnerable area when cleaning.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors

You Will Need:

  • Mop
  • Water
  • 2 Buckets
  • Old cloths, towels or rags
  • Vacuum with attachments
  • Dish soap (optional)

Steps to Clean the Tile:

  1. Begin by removing loose dust and dirt with a canister vacuum or vacuum with attachments. Do not use a regular vacuum as the bristles and beater bar can scratch and damage the surface of the tiles. Only use a soft bristled attachment or brush free unit to remove the dust and dirt.
  2. Fill two buckets with warm water. The first bucket will be used to wash the floor, and the second bucket will be used to rinse. If the floors are especially dirty, add a drop or two of dish soap to the washing water.
  3. Use the mop to scrub the surface of the tile floor.
  4. Use clean water from the second bucket to rinse the floor.
  5. Repeat as necessary until the floor is clean. Replace the buckets of water as needed to keep clean water available.
  6. As a final cleaning step, use the old cloths or towels to wipe over the damp floor.
  7. Along with removing any excess water, the towels will remove any remaining dirt.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Countertops/Backsplashes

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Bucket or spray bottle (depending on the size of the area)
  • Old cloths or rags
  • Dish soap (optional)
  • Old toothbrush or small scrub brush

Steps to Clean the Tile:

  1. Start by removing any loose dirt or dust with a clean soft cloth. Dust removers, such as Swiffer Dusters, work well for this.
  2. Fill two buckets or spray bottles with clean, warm water. If the counters are especially dirty, add a small amount (a drop or two) of dish soap or cleaner to the washing water.
  3. Spray the surface with the washing water.
  4. Use a soft cloth to scrub the surface of the tiles. Use an old toothbrush or small scrub brush to remove any dirt from the grout.
  5. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Although some recommend vinegar for cleaning dirty tile, it is not preferable. The acidic properties of vinegar can damage the surface leaving it looking dull rather than clean and shiny.
  • Avoid any acid based cleaners as they can fade and dull the tiles.
  • Avoid cleaning tiles with soap. Soap will leave a residue that will make the tiles appear dirty.
  • Want your tiles to shine? After cleaning, buff them with a clean, soft cloth.
  • To keep your tiles looking their best, keep them dry. Standing water leads to fading and staining. Wipe up spills and splashes promptly.

Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Tile is easy to clean, but if the grout is dirty the tile will look bad anyway. You can use non-scratching powder cleaner like Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend to clean grotty grout. You’ll need an old toothbrush, a bowl of warm water, and the powdered cleaner. Wet the toothbrush, dip the bristles in the cleaner, then scrub the grout clean. When you’ve scrubbed all the grout, rinse the tile thoroughly with clean water.

  2. Lynn says:

    Don’t pour bleach on it! For badly stained or yellowed grout, make a paste out of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and spread it on the grout – keep the paste off the tiles as much as you can. Let the paste set until it’s dry, then wash it off. Your grout should be noticeably whiter.

  3. Lynn says:

    Our whole family swears by this stuff, even if it does seem to produce stronger fumes than any other cleaner in existence and those fumes smell like maraschino cherries dipped in battery acid.

    For that reason, make sure you’re using the Tilex in an area that has a fan, an open door, and possibly some nearby windows you can open. Spray the Tilex all over the tile to be cleaned, a light coating will do, then leave the room for fifteen minutes to half an hour. When you come back in, immediately rinse the Tilex off the tiles as thoroughly as you can, then wet a sponge and wipe the tiles down with warm water. Rinse the tiles again and you’re done. If you use the Tilex regularly, say once a week, you shouldn’t have any problem with soap scum buildup or hard water deposits.

  4. Lynn says:

    If your ceramic patio tiles are dirtier than a high-pressure blast from the garden hose will take care of, get a bucket of hot soapy water and use a sponge mop to scrub the tiles clean. Rinse with the hose. Don’t use a string-type mop to clean outdoor tiles, because the strings will collect leaves, twigs and debris and the mop will be ruined.

  5. Lynn says:

    I put down rugs on my tile entryway for people to wipe their feet on in wet weather, but because the tile is slick the rugs slid around and spread a wet, slippery mess all over the place. The quickest solution I found was to lay down cheap suction cup backed rubber bathtub mats on the tile and then lay the rugs on top of them. The mats keep the rugs in place, and they also keep the water, snow and mud on the rugs from soaking through and possibly staining the grout between the tiles.

  6. Stacy says:

    Spray with Greased Lightening and let it sit but not dry. Then, use a hand held steamer on the area and then use clean rags to dry the water and dirt that will run out of the grout.

  7. Cara says:

    Use Soft Scrub. Brush with an old toothbrush and then wipe away with clean warm water.

  8. Chelsea says:

    Use bleach, scrub with a brush and rinse with water.

  9. Ginny says:

    How do I clean the ceramic tile in my shower. It has a soap scum on it that I can’t get off?

  10. Gerard says:

    How can we avoid streaks after cleaning smooth ceramic tiles above our cooker hob? We’ve used sprays, etc., and have taken care not to use abrasives, and each time they look streak-free close up, but taking a step back into daylight, they look more streaky than ever. Please help!

  11. Allen says:

    I have a problem in our bathroom (the tiles). The dirt is hard to remove, and maybe it is caused by soap residue… please help me (tips) to remove this dirt.

  12. Melanie says:

    Allen,
    Maybe this article will help: How to Clean Soap Scum.

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