How to Clean Porcelain Tile Flooring

porcelaintile

Karen asked: What is the best way to clean porcelain tile floors? The floors are unsealed, and the grout gets wet and darkens. Water stains are on an area where the dog’s water bowl is, and I can get marks to go away with mopping. The floors are a few months old and I just want to know the best way to care for them so they look good for a long time.

Porcelain tile flooring is one of the easiest floors to care for. It doesn’t require sealants or special cleaners. However, it does need some extra cleaning from time to time. When those times arise, here are the steps to take.

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge mop
  • Porcelain tile cleaner or
  • ¼ cup vinegar with 2 gallons hot water or
  • All purpose household cleaner (ex: Mr. Clean, Fantastik)

Steps to Clean the Floor:

  1. Start by vacuuming the floor to remove any loose dirt and debris.
  2. When cleaning porcelain tiles, it is best to work in small sections to ensure the cleaning product is applied and removed in a timely manner.
  3. Apply the cleaning product or vinegar solution with hot water to the floor’s surface.
  4. Allow it to set for a few minutes.
  5. After the solution has set on the floor, scrub it with a sponge mop to clean away any dirt and/or stains from the surface.
  6. Rinse with clear water. Using a wet vacuum works well to remove all of the cleaning solution.
  7. Allow the floor to dry.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • For regular cleanings, sweeping and vacuuming is sufficient. Mopping with plain water will help to remove minor dirt and dust.
  • Do not allow the cleaning solution to dry on the surface of the porcelain tiles. This can result in staining and streaking.
  • If the floor is polished, use half the amount of detergent as described above.
  • Avoid staining on the floor by wiping up spills as soon as possible.
  • All purpose household cleaners can be used on porcelain tile floors. Soapless detergents such as Spic and Span or 409 can also be used.
  • It is recommended that a small test area be conducted with any cleaning product before applying it to the entire floor. This helps to ensure that there are no adverse effects from the cleaning product.

Comments

  1. Alima says:

    My housekeeper used Mop and Glow on my porcelain tiles, and the end result was horrible. The tiles are dull, and there are streaks all over them. What shall I do to restore the shine?

  2. Jan says:

    I am in the same fix with my porcelain tile. I need help!

  3. Gaz says:

    I have black porcelain tiles on the floor. It is a very large area and the only thing that I have found that gives them the mirror finish is Showroom Shine. It is meant for cleaning cars, but it does a great job on the tiles. I would just like to add that the way to do this is a tile at a time, so it does take a while, but the results last for at least a month.

  4. Elaine says:

    My porcelain tile is eight years old and looks dull in spots. I have used the Mr. Clean sponge with water, which only made it worst. Do I need a professional to get it looking new again? I do not want to have to replace it. Would an electric buffer help?

  5. Daiva says:

    Me too – my floor lost the shine. The only time it looks better is if my cleaner mops the floor and then dries it, which takes a lot of time. Does anyone know how to do it quickly and have the lovely, shiny floor? Please help.

  6. Debra says:

    I am having the same problem. I was wondering if a steamer would help solve the problem? I am at my wits end. It is killing me; mopping and then drying/buffing them with a material dust mop that was meant for laminate flooring.

  7. Melanie says:

    Steam cleaning is an excellent idea! Steaming uses less water than traditional mopping, which will reduce the damage to the grout. Having a good sealant on the tile and grout will decrease the amount of cleaning required in the future. The type of porcelain that you have – polished, glazed, natural or structured – is a major determinate of the best sealant and cleaning practices. Also, there are porcelain tile sealants that will give the tile a shiny appearance.

    Source: eHow
    Source: Australian Tile Council

  8. Joanne says:

    I have porcelain tile floors in my kitchen, den and large extended patio. The porcelain tile does not have a gloss to it, but it is not completely dull either. I do not think it has been sealed. However, it does not absorb water (dries topically). I use my Shark steam cleaner on it. What can we do to get more of a shine on it? Does the tile have to be sealed for that? The indoor tile is about four years old, and the taiko tile is about six years old. Thank you for any information regarding my inquiry.

  9. Evelyn says:

    My question is the same as all the questions from other people. How do you clean porcelain tile? I have tile in the foyer, kitchen and dining room. I can mop with a Swiffer Wet mop…the floor looks clean, but when you look at it when it gets dry, you can see spots, smudges and marks. I even bought a sponge mop and it is the same results after mopping.

    I wish I could send the porcelain tile back where it came from…Not happy with it. The tile is barely a year old.
    I will be grateful for any recommendations to clean this tile.

  10. Tdogg says:

    I made the mistake of leaving bleach on the tile overnight, left light staining now; anything I can do?
    The quickest way to clean these tiles is to use a dry microfiber flat headed mop spraying white vinegar spray as you go. Perfect streak free finish, everything else seems to leave smears. I have a large kitchen and I can do this in about 5-10 minutes. Every six weeks, give it a polish with laminate floor polish, which is also a spray. Job’s a good one.

  11. Jen says:

    I have tried everything to clean my porcelain floor tiles and nothing seems to work. They look dull, dirty and very streaky. I even bought a steam mop hoping this would help…it was a complete waste of money; the floor is still as streaky as when I used a mop and bucket.
    Please, someone must know how to get that nice clean streak free look. HELP!

  12. Lynne says:

    My porcelain tiles drive me mad. I have a huge area of them and it was a big mistake. I have tried mopping and drying with an e-cloth on my hands and knees, which actually looked great and shiny, but as soon as anyone walks on them with bare feet or even socks, they leave greasy-looking smears all over them; it looks worse where the natural light falls on them. I have used steamers, but need to get down on my hands and knees after again to dry them or they are extremely streaky, but yet again, as soon as they are walked on I get the greasy smears back. It’s hard work that never pays off!!! I guess we’re all in the same boat and there is no answer! Oh and if anything is spilled on them, even water, you can’t just wipe it up… You have to buff it with an e-cloth again! With four kids, it’s never ending!

  13. Cathy says:

    When I had my porcelain floor installed, my contractor told me to only clean it with water and vinegar. I have used noting else on it. It looks as good as when it was first installed. I use a fillable bottle mop with a flat cloth on the bottom. Spray as you go, no streaks. Done in about 5-10 minutes. The other option would be a steam cleaner as mentioned earlier.

  14. Annie says:

    Have tried all of the above over the eight years we have lived in this house with a huge expanse of polished porcelain tiles. NONE of them seem to work. Have tried vinegar, steam mop, even methylated spirits. I am now at the point that if anyone tells me they are going to lay these tiles, I offer to show them mine. Puts them right off.
    Does anyone have any other suggestions??? Many thanks.

  15. Melanie says:

    Annie,
    If you have also tried various porcelain cleaners without luck, maybe a general stone cleaner would work. The MB-1 cleaner (Marble, Granite and More Floor Cleaner) is safe to use on porcelain, and the GT-1 cleaner (Natural Stone and All Surfaces Daily Cleaner) is also safe to use on porcelain. If you’re having a problem with film from hard water or soap film, the same company also makes (MB-3) a “Soap Film and Mineral Deposit Remover.”
    Source: MB Stone Care – MB-1
    Source: MB Stone Care – GT-1
    Source: MB Stone Care – MB-3

  16. Pamela says:

    When we moved to our new home, we put porcelain tile throughout the whole house. After it was done, the tile people called and told us to tell the tile man not to seal it because sealant does not stick to porcelain. Then I found out how hard it is to keep clean. I was so mad, but the deed was done. If I had to do it all over again, I’d go back to saltillo tiles because they are so easy to take care of.

    To clean my tiles I use half Windex cleaner and half rubbing alcohol. I have two Libman microfiber floor mops and lots of refills (they are machine washable). I spray the tiles, a small section at a time, with the Windex/alcohol mixture, then mop over it with one mop and use the other one for drying. When drying I just go over it lightly, which along with the air, helps dry it quickly. Because my bathrooms are so small, I have to get on my hands and knees and do the same thing, but with paper towels. It’s a pain, but it works. I usually do this once a month. The rest of the time I just make sure that when something wet spills on the floor, even water, I clean it up immediately, usually using the mixture and the paper towels. I mostly vacuum the floor each day and then go over it with a dry Swifter sweeper cloth.

  17. HA says:

    I have the same problem; my porcelain flooring looks so dull and leaves a lot of marks on it. Now, I realized that it’s because my porcelain tiles are made from China. The porcelain tiles made from Italy have a shined look to it and does not leave a mark on it.

    My friend has the Italian porcelain flooring and her flooring looks fabulous.

    I should know better. IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE, AVOID STUFF MADE FROM CHINA.

  18. Kevin says:

    I have cleaned porcelain tile for nine years. Best is steam. The more cleaners you use, the more residue will build up. Avoid cleaners with color. Natural stone cleaners are not made for porcelain. Never use oil-based sealer on porcelain. Use water-based sealer only.

  19. Linda says:

    I have tried everything. Floor looks great when it’s damp, but when it’s dry, it’s a nightmare. Good job; it’s not very big. I sweep and mop it practically every time I go in there, which is about 6.7 times a day. Perhaps it’s the black that looks the worst. My friend says I have OCD with this floor. Would not recommend black floor tiles. x

  20. Jan says:

    I too have a porcelain floor, Italian, about 8 years old. To boot, I have radiant heat in all of the floors. I have used nothing but natural cleaners on my floor and only recently noticed that it was smudging and streaking and not smooth because of the residue. So after reading all of your comments, went to Home Depot and bought CLR bath and kitchen cleaner. Doing only 1-3 16 inch tiles at a time, I scrub with a Dobie scour (doesn’t scratch) and then using only water and clean rags, I go over the same tiles with just water once with a rag, then I spray it again with a clean rag. I am changing the rags every so often so I am sure not to be putting back what I am removing. and…ITS WORKING!!! From now only, only my Shark with steam and nothing else! Hope to not be doing this again any time too soon. Good luck everyone. I hope that this helps.

  21. Lisa says:

    Hi, we too have laid white polished porcelain floor tiles on the entire lower level of our home and they have been horrible since day one. Smudges and marks everywhere. Tried tile cleaners, metho detergent and water and everything else. We finally bought a microfibre flat mop head with water refill and it works giving it a beautiful shine, but the second someone walks on it, it goes back to being smudgy all over again! Help; we hate them!!! We were thinking of looking into getting a professional floor cleaner in to see if maybe there is some kind of wax on them that needs to be cleaned off and that’s why they are so hard to maintain. Went to a home today who had them and they said all they use is a mop and cold water and they looked amazing. Hmmft!

  22. Gloria says:

    My question is the same as the above, but I do not see any solutions to the problem. My kitchen floor tile has lost its shine or glaze. Can a wax solve this problem? And if so, what type of wax so that the floor is not slippery?
    Thanks for any help!

  23. Anna says:

    Awful flooring. Would not recommend it to anyone! Utter nightmare to clean full stop. Had it down for under a year and it now looks dirty. Used all of the above mentioned and nothing works. Mine is matte; no shine. Worst money I’ve ever spent.

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