The Ultimate Tile Cleaning Guide: Best Way to Clean Every Type of Tile

As long as your floors have a coat of sealant, cleaning tile includes two basic steps: sweep at least once per week and mop as needed.

But, depending on your tile type, care can vary. For example, vinyl, ceramic, and porcelain tiles can handle more cleaners than delicate natural stone. 

 Tile Cleaning Guide

Use this tile cleaning guide for specific information on the best cleaners and cleaning methods for your flooring.

Top Supplies for Tile Cleaning

These are the supplies you need to clean tile floors:

  • Broom and Dustpan or Vacuum – To sweep your tiles, use a broom and dustpan or a hard floor-safe vacuum. Carpet vacuums with low roller bars can leave behind scratches.
  • Mop – Microfiber mops are the best for tile. You can use a wring mop, a simple microfiber mop with reusable pads, or a spray mop.
  • Cleaning Solution – Ceramic, porcelain, and vinyl tiles can handle most cleaning solutions. Natural stones like marble or slate require a more gentle cleaner.
  • Steam Mop (Optional) – You can use a steam mop on ceramic or porcelain tile. You should not use it on natural stone, including granite, marble, and slate. Also, don’t steam mop vinyl or linoleum.

How to Clean Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Porcelain and ceramic are the most durable tiles. They are resistant to bacteria and moisture, can handle most cleaning solutions, and are easy to care for.

  • Weekly: To keep your ceramic and porcelain tile in great shape, sweep at least once per week. If dirt is left to sit on the floor, it can rub against the surface when walked over, causing tiny scratches.
  • Mopping: Mop your floors every two weeks or as needed. Use a mopping solution made for tile or a gentle all-purpose cleaner. Avoid harsh or acidic cleaners, which can wear away your tile’s sealant and damage your grout. Also, steer clear of oil or wax-based cleaners since they’ll make your floor slippery and dangerous.

If you prefer, you can steam-mop ceramic and porcelain tiles. Steam mops are effective at loosening up dirt and disinfecting.

How to Clean Marble, Granite, and Slate Tile

Marble, slate, and granite are natural stones. While beautiful, these tiles require delicate care. 

  • Weekly: Once per week, sweep your tiles using a tile-safe vacuum or broom. Spot clean dirty patches with water and a clean cloth.
  • Mopping: Purchase a cleaner that’s compatible with your type of tile. Harsh cleansers can etch natural stone, causing discoloration. You can use a product like Weiman Stone Tile Cleaner or Bona Hard Surface Floor Cleaner. Use these with a soft microfiber mop for the best results.

Never use vinegar, bleach, or a steam mop on your stone floors.

How to Clean Cement Tiles

Cement or concrete tiles add texture and style to space. But since they’re less common than other types, you may wonder how to clean them.

  • Weekly: Sweep your tiles at least once per week. Use a tile-safe vacuum or a broom and dustpan.
  • Mopping: Mop your tiles once per month or more if needed. Use a gentle pH-neutral cleaner like a mix of dish soap with water or a mild multipurpose cleaner. You can also use a tile-specific cleaner like those from Bona and Weiman.

Check with the tile manufacturer if you want to use a steam mop. While many types of concrete tiles are steam-mop safe, it depends on the sealant.

How to Clean Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta is a clay ceramic tile. While durable, it requires more gentle care than standard ceramic varieties.

  • Weekly: Since terracotta can scratch, cleaning your tile floors at least once per week is essential. If your terracotta is in a high-traffic area (like the kitchen), sweep it more often. You can use a broom or tile-safe vacuum.
  • Mopping: Mop your indoor terracotta floors with a mixture of dish soap and water, a pH-neutral cleaner, or a tile cleaner like Weiman Stone and Tile or Bona Hard Surface Floor Cleaner. 

Never use vinegar or bleach, and avoid steam-mopping terracotta. Since these tiles are porous when unsealed, steam can cause serious damage.

How to Clean Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tile has come a long way and is now a fixture in many modern kitchens and bathrooms. 

  • Weekly: Sweep your vinyl tile at least once per week. Use your favorite hard floor-safe vacuum or a broom.
  • Mopping: While you should avoid using vinegar on other types of tile, it’s okay for vinyl. Mix one cup of white vinegar into one gallon of warm water and use the solution to mop. You can use a gentle multipurpose cleaner as well. 

Never use a steam mop on vinyl tile floors. The steam can penetrate the cracks causing the vinyl’s adhesive to weaken.

How to Remove Stains from Grout Lines

Clean dirty or stained grout lines using a grout cleaner that’s safe for your tile. We tested many brands and found that Black Diamond Ultimate Grout Cleaner works the best.

Spray the solution on the grout lines, allow it to sit for three minutes, and then scrub with a grout brush. Rinse with water afterward. It will remove dirt and stains, making your grout look new again.

Since this product is acid-free, it’s safe for most tiles, including natural stone, but if you have painted tiles, avoid using this product.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How to whiten tile floors?

If you have discolored white ceramic or porcelain floors, it’s due to a build-up of dirt or cleaner. You can steam clean the floors to help loosen the build-up. Also, consider a product like Black Diamond grout cleaner to clean your grout and the edges of the tiles.

How do you disinfect bathroom tile floors?

Most bathroom tiles have a sealant that makes them non-porous and bacteria resistant. So, instead of disinfecting, mop with a gentle cleaner. 

How to mop tile with a spray cleaner?

Spray the tile cleaner on a small section of the floor. Then, go over it with a damp microfiber mop. Repeat until you’ve mopped the entire room.

How to mop tile with a squirt cleaner?

Squirt your tile cleaner on a small section of the floor. Go over it with a damp microfiber mop. Repeat until the floor is clean.

Final Thoughts

Tile cleaning is simple. As long as you sweep once per week and mop with a gentle solution, your tiles will stay in great shape. The biggest mistake is using a cleaner that’s too harsh for your floors. 

To keep your floors looking better for longer, keep them sealed. A coat of sealant protects your tile and grout from absorbing moisture and dirt.