If you have ceramic tiles in your home, you want to keep them looking their best. In this post, we’ll share our Pro tips for how to clean ceramic tiles, whether that’s ceramic tile flooring, bathroom tiles, backsplash tiles, or ceramic tiles anywhere else in your home!
How to clean ceramic tile flooring
Many people have ceramic tile flooring in their kitchens, bathrooms, and entrances. Ceramic tiles look beautiful and are durable enough to last for years. But without proper cleaning, they can look discolored. Here’s how to keep them looking spotless.
- Sweep your tile floor 2-3 times a week
- Use a mop, hot water, and mild detergent to clean the floor once a week
- Avoid using any abrasive cleaning tools or harsh chemicals
The biggest concern with ceramic floor tiles is scratches. Regular sweeping will remove any dirt, sand, or grit which can scratch your floor. Before cleaning, always brush the floor to remove any small, sharp particles.
All your ceramic floor tiles really need to stay clean is regular washing with a gentle soap. Avoid bleach or ammonia based cleaners, or anything that’s oil-based. All these ingredients can damage the color or finish of the tiles.
How to deep clean tile floors
If your ceramic floor tiles need a little extra TLC, consider investing in a steam mop. The heat from the steam is just the thing to blast away tough dirt and stains, without causing any damage to your tiles. It’ll also clean your grout too!
Steam mops are about the best tile floor cleaning machines for home use. They’re inexpensive, around $50-$100 for a standard model, and have so many applications. That makes them more versatile, and cheaper in the long term, than hiring a specialized tile floor cleaner from a home improvement store. Our Pros go as far as to say they’re the best floor cleaner for tile!
How to clean ceramic tile grout
Ceramic tile grout sits lower than the tile surface, so regular cleaning methods can often skim over the grout without ever cleaning it. You might be surprised to realize your tile grout is probably bright white! Most grout gets discolored over time as dirt builds up, but you can get it looking as good as new again in no time with the following solution:
The best homemade tile grout cleaner
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
- 1 tsp dish soap
Combine the ingredients into a loose paste, and then apply it to the grout. Leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes, and then use a brush (an old toothbrush or nail brush is ideal!) to scrub the grout. Use a clean microfiber cloth and fresh water to remove the cleaning solution when you’re done.
If you don’t want to go the DIY route, you can also use commercial tile grout cleaners. Some of the best tile grout cleaners use everyday ingredients such as baking soda and citric acid.
Pro Tip: Sometimes mold can build up in grout lines. Find out how to tackle mold with cleaning now!
How to clean ceramic tile after grouting?
One time you really want to get your ceramic tiles clean is after installing fresh grout. Even if the excess grout is removed, your ceramic tiles could be left with a cloudy “grout haze” that appears once the grout has dried. While it can be tricky to remove this haze, it isn’t impossible.
You should remove grout haze between 2-10 days after grouting tiles. Too soon and the grout won’t be fully set, so it could damage the tiles themselves. Too late and the grout haze will have set too hard to remove without industrial-strength cleaners.
How to clean ceramic tile after installation
Step 1 — Try using a damp towel and clean water to remove the haze. This may be all that’s required depending how set the grout is.
Step 2 — Use a rubber grout float. These are cheaply available if you didn’t install the grout yourself. Use the float like a squeegee to scrape up any leftover grout and remove the haze.
Step 3 — Make a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the tiles generously, then clean with a microfiber cloth.
If these steps don’t work, look for a commercial tile grout cleaner designed to remove epoxy-based grout haze. Always follow the instructions when using any professional cleaning solution.
How to clean a ceramic tile shower
Ceramic tiles in the shower can be tricky to clean because you can’t just run a mop or steamer over them. However there are many cleaning solutions that will work on shower tiles and keep them looking fresh and clean.
The first thing to check is the type of tiles you have in your shower. Glazed ceramic tiles are common for shower walls, but ceramic is rarely used for shower floors, because it can be too slippery. Always use the correct cleaning products, especially for natural tile such as granite or marble. Otherwise you risk damaging the finish.
Pro Tip: Learn how to clean granite now!
How to clean ceramic wall tiles in the shower
- Use a squeegee to remove water and soap residue after showering
- Before cleaning, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust or dirt
- Use a spray bottle to apply a ceramic tile cleaning solution to the shower
- Clean the tiles with a cloth or brush
- Use the showerhead to spray down the shower, then squeegee to remove any residue
The best tile cleaner for shower tiles is good old white vinegar. It’s safe to use on glazed ceramic tiles (although not natural stone, so always check the finish first!). Make a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply to the tiles.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to clean your plastic shower curtain as well!
How to clean grout in showers
You can use baking soda to clean the grout in your showers, as well as on floors. Mix ½ cup baking soda and about ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, or as much as it takes to produce a thick paste that will stick to the shower walls. Apply the paste to the grout and leave for 5-10 minutes, before scrubbing the grout with a brush. Use the shower head to spray down the walls with clean water and squeegee the tiles to remove any residue.
Pro Tip: Clean your shower curtain liner too!
How to clean ceramic tiles in bathrooms
As well as the shower cubicle and floor, many bathrooms have ceramic tiles on the walls or vanity. You can clean these just as easily using the methods above. Apply a commercial ceramic tile cleaner, or use white vinegar, to keep your tiles clean. And for cleaning tile grout, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are all you need!
How to clean ceramic tile backsplash?
You may also find ceramic tiles in your kitchen. If you have a tile backsplash, you’ll want to keep it extra clean to prevent any potential food contamination. Kitchen tiles can also suffer from a buildup of grease, which attracts dirt and is harder to remove. Regular wiping down with soapy water or white vinegar is a great way to keep this in check. Both dish soap and vinegar can cut through grease, making it easier to remove.
If your ceramic tile backsplash is very dirty, make the following mixture:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup baking soda
This will make a loose paste. Spread it across the tiles and allow it to dry. The paste will absorb any grease and dirt. Then use a wet microfiber cloth to remove the paste, and finally wipe the tiles with a clean, damp cloth.
How to clean ceramic tile before sealing?
Sealing your ceramic tiles will protect them from stains and dirt that can absorb into the clay. However you’ll want to be sure the tiles are completely clean before sealing, or you risk locking stains in forever. The first thing is to remove any grout haze by following the steps above. Leave your tiles unsealed for a day or two to see if any haze appears, as it doesn’t always show up right away.
Next, check your tile and grout material to make sure they need to be sealed, and that you have the right sealant for the job. Different materials need different sealants, so always make sure!
Then give your tiles a thorough cleaning. You can use soapy water, baking soda paste, or a dilute vinegar solution. Alternatively, use a commercial cleaner. Just check that the cleaner you choose is right for your tile type. Clean the tiles well, then always wash them down with plain water and dry thoroughly. This ensures you’ve removed any residue from the cleaner.
A steam cleaner is also a great investment if you want to get your tiles spotless without using any cleaning solutions that could react with the ceramic or grout.
What is the best tile cleaner?
The right tile cleaner for the job will depend on your tiles, the room they’re in, and the dirt or stain you’re trying to remove. Some factors to consider include:
- What material the tiles are made from (ceramic, porcelain, natural stone)
- If the tiles are sealed or unsealed
- If the grout is unsanded, fine sanded, quarry, or epoxy
- What color the tiles and grout are
You can use a commercial tile cleaner chemical to clean your ceramic tiles, or follow the instructions above for how to clean ceramic tile floors with vinegar. Often the best floor tile cleaners are the simplest solutions, such as baking soda or white vinegar. These homemade methods might seem unlikely, but they really are the best tile cleaner solutions and as good as commercial cleaners in many instances.
Pro Tip: Learn how to clean and maintain marble floors!
Best floor tile cleaner machine
As with cleaning solutions, sometimes the best tile cleaner machines are the simplest! An inexpensive steam mop gets the job done, without causing any damage or requiring the use of harsh chemicals that might damage the finish on your tiles.
The best tile cleaner mop doesn’t have to be electric, however. There are many types of mop on the market, including:
- String mops
- Strip mops
- Flat mops
- Spray mops
- Sponge mops
Any of these mops can make great tile cleaners. Sometimes flat mops fail to reach between tiles, especially if your grout is deep, so consider using a sponge or strip mop instead if your floor tiles are uneven.
What should you not use on ceramic tile?
The biggest risk to any type of tile is harsh chemicals that can damage the finish. Strongly acidic products, like citric acid or neat vinegar, can affect the finish. Always dilute your cleaning solutions to make sure they’re safe for your tiles, and avoid these cleaners entirely on natural stone or unglazed ceramic.
Don’t use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your ceramic tiles either. These ingredients are just too strong and they will cause damage.
It isn’t just the cleaning solutions you use that can be harmful. Avoid using any hard or abrasive cleaning tools. Steel wool, magic erasers, and scouring sponges can all scratch your tiles. As can common dirt! Before cleaning tiles, especially floor tiles, always sweep them to remove any small particles that could cause damage.
Finally, avoid any cleaning solutions that contain dyes. Some commercial cleaners might come in bright blue or green or other colors that look attractive, but over time the dyes can absorb and collect in your tiles, leaving them discolored.