How to Clean Different Types of Tiled Floors

Although floor tiles are relatively low maintenance, they still require specific products and methods to ensure safe and proper cleaning for best results. Take a look at your floor right now; has ‘regular’ cleaning left your tiles looking hazy or cloudy? Are there stains that don’t seem to come out? What about the grout lines? Are they starting to fill up with grime? You’ve probably answered all those questions with a unanimous ‘yes’ since you found your way to this article on how to clean tiled floors for best results!

Now, it should also be mentioned that there are different cleaning methods and solutions for different types of tiled floors; so, the only way to get those gleaming results is by cleaning your floor tiles the right way. To do that, we’ve got all the information you need in the cleaning guides below!

Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Wet white porcelain tile floor

Although there are a couple of differences between porcelain and ceramic, they are both clay-based materials which require very similar cleaning methods. The major difference to be noted when cleaning these types of floor tiles is that porcelain has an extremely low water absorption rate while ceramic is a more porous material. Therefore, the latter type must be cleaned using minimal water as compared to the former. With that in mind, let’s get right to our guide on how to clean porcelain and ceramic floor tiles.

  • Remove Surface Dirt: Like any other type of flooring, the first thing to do is remove dust and dirt from the surface. This can be done by sweeping the floor with a broom or vacuuming with a suitable brush attachment. 
  • Use the Right Mop and Cleaner: For tiled floors, a mop with synthetic strips is advised over sponge and cotton mops. Some of the reasons for this are owed to the fact that sponge-heads push more dirt between tiles instead of cleaning them, while both cotton and sponge are harder to wring (to remove excess water). The latter factor is particularly important where ceramic floor tiles are concerned (due to their absorption rate). For the cleaning solution, any mild detergent diluted in warm or room temperature water is suitable for cleaning porcelain and ceramic floor tiles.
  • Dampen the Mop: For best results, ceramic and porcelain should be cleaned with a damp mop as opposed to one that is soaking wet. Hence, the mop should be dipped in the cleaning solution and wrung thoroughly before it is used on the floor. One important tip to keep in mind when mopping tiled flooring is to keep a check on how clean the water and mop areas you go. Rinse off the mop and replace the water with a fresh solution to prevent cloudiness on tiles when they dry up.
  • Check for Stains: Mild stains are likely to come off with regular mopping while stubborn dirt and grime may require a little more elbow grease. For kitchen and bathroom floor stains, spot cleaning with a soft brush of chamois cloth is always preferred. A warm and slightly stronger cleaning solution made with the same detergent can be used by simply dipping the cleaning tool in the solution, removing excess water, and scrubbing at the stain in circular motions. 
  • Dry Tiles Manually: One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when cleaning porcelain and ceramic floor tiles is allowing them air dry. This is precisely how the floor gets covered in water spots and hazy marks because when moisture on the surface comes in contact with air, cloudiness is formed. To avoid this and yield best results, dry the tiles with a lint-free towel as soon as you finish mopping the floor.

TIP: Leave the windows closed and the ceiling fans off when you mop in order to slow down the air-drying process.

Stone Tiles

Dirty natural stone tiled floor being cleaned

Natural stone tiles are sensitive to chemicals and hence, require extremely mild or natural cleaning solutions. Alternatively, you can purchase specially formulated cleaning products for stone tiles which are typically more reliable in removing dirt and stains efficiently.  

Let’s take a look at three common types of natural stone tiles and how to clean them safely for best results.

Marble Tile

White marble bathroom vanity benchtop

As gorgeous as marble flooring is, it is rather delicate when it comes to cleaning methods. You can’t use anything abrasive on the tile including gritty cleaning powders and hard-bristle brushes. The safest way to remove debris from the surface is to sweep thoroughly, followed by mopping with a synthetic or cotton strip mop. 

Never use a floor cleaner that contains acidic properties when cleaning marble stone tiles; this means vinegar and lemon/lime extract are out of the question. Instead, choose a mild detergent or a special marble floor cleaner and clean with a damp mop. Pay attention to stains on your marble floor; if needed, pour a small amount of the cleaning solution over the stain and allow it to soak for a few minutes before gently scrubbing with the mop or a soft cloth.

Granite Tile

Granite kitchen benchtop with cleaning materials

In general, natural granite is a durable material which is highly resistant to scratches. It does, however, require a pH-neutral cleaning product to safely and efficiently remove stains and grime from the surface. 

To clean up dust and debris from your granite floor tiles, use a broom or vacuum cleaning + brush attachment; even though granite has a high resistance to scratches, it is advisable to use a vacuum attachment that will pick up dust more effectively. After mopping with a suitable granite floor cleaner, dry and buff the tiles with a soft cloth for a shiny finish!

Slate Tile

slate bathroom bench top with two sinks

Because slate floor tiles are uneven, dirt tends to accumulate in and around the ‘nooks and crannies’ on the surface. While it may not be that noticeable on dark slate stone, lighter colours look rather shabby if not cleaned properly. Start by vacuuming the floor (sweeping isn’t favourable on an uneven surface); use a brush attachment as slate is not entirely scratch-proof. Moreover, it is rock hard and hence, may damage or scratch the metal of your vacuum cleaner. 

Like other stone tiles, slate requires a mild or pH-neutral cleaning product while a synthetic mop is best suited for the material. Although sealed slate is said to be stain-resistant, if you do find any unsightly marks on the tile, simply scrub them away with a toothbrush and a mild cleaning solution or diluted (isopropyl) rubbing alcohol. Finish off by drying the tiles with a lint-free towel to prevent water spots.

Steps to Clean Tile Grout

grout cleaning on a white porcelain tiled floor

Sealed grout does not encounter stains unless it is damaged. So, if you find any discolouration between your clean and gleaming floor tiles, here’s what you need to do:

  1. In a bowl, mix water and baking soda to form a paste.
  2. Apply the mixture to grout lines where there are stains/discolouration present, and gently scrub with a toothbrush.
  3. Re-apply the paste over the area and leave for a few hours.
  4. Wipe the grout with a damp towel to remove the paste.

Learning the best way to clean grout and tiled floors truly pays off in the long run because the right cleaning methods are guaranteed to keep your floor tiles stain-free and shiny for years to come!

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Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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