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How to clean tile floors

How to clean tile floors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether they're in a bathroom, kitchen or living space, it's vital to learn how to clean tile floors so that your home is kept sanitary. There are many different types of tiles, from natural stone options to more durable ceramic types. The kind of tile you have will impact which method you choose to clean with. 

Compared to figuring out how to clean a carpet (opens in new tab) so it's free of dirt and stains, cleaning floor tiles is a relatively simple task. Being mindful of chemical ingredients is the biggest factor to consider, but after this, the steps to getting your floors shining will be straightforward to follow. 

Whether you want to use one of the best steam mops (opens in new tab) or a more traditional mop and bucket, keeping your tile floors clean will help preserve their beauty for years to come. 

How often you should clean tile floors

What the expert says...

Matthew Jenkins, Cleaning Expert at Price Your Job (opens in new tab), says, "Brush or dry mop tiled floors every two to three days and then give them a thorough mop once a week if possible. High-traffic areas such as hallways and kitchens may need more frequent cleaning, especially if you have pets or small children. But go easy on your cleaning product to water ratio otherwise you’ll get a build-up of residue."

As with any surface, it's important to incorporate cleaning tile floors into your weekly routine. This prevents the build of up germs and grime that could damage your floors in the long term, helping you to protect your home investments. 

Floor tiles are incredibly easy to clean, so if you're waiting for dinner to cook or doing a pre-bedtime speed clean, you can quickly dry clean or wet mop the surface. Dry cleaning involves vacuuming or sweeping, which will make the biggest impact on how much debris is sitting on the surface of the tiles. After this is complete, you should clean with a washing solution to remove any marks and deeper dirt. 

While using one of the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab) or sweeping should be done every few days (especially around cooking areas where crumbs occur), mopping can be left to the once-a-week chore routine. 

How to clean ceramic and porcelain tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are some of the most common flooring options, and luckily they're easy to clean too. We spoke to Matthew Jenkins from Price Your Job (opens in new tab), who offered the following step-by-step advice, so you can clean this type of floor tile properly.  

Step 1: 
"Clear away any loose debris to prevent dulling of your tile floors by sweeping or vacuuming frequently. Despite being dirt-resistant, sand and grit can dull the glazed surfaces of ceramic tiles."

Step 2: 
"Use a rag or chamois-style mop rather than a sponge mop to clean tiles with a mild detergent and clean water. While mopping, be mindful to frequently change the water."

Step 3: 
"Look out for leftover soap. If your tiles still appear cloudy after cleaning, you may have soapy residue on your hands. Use a soft microfiber all-purpose cleaner to remove the film. You might also try a homemade cleaner with a mild acid on porcelain or ceramic tiles."

Step 4: 
"Dry the tiles - allowing them to air dry will cause water spots to form on your glazed tile flooring. After washing, quickly dry the surface with a clean, lint-free cloth."

How to clean stone tiles

Stone tiles need more care when cleaning as the natural material is prone to damage from harsh chemicals found in off-the-shelf products. You should always use cleaning methods specifically designed for stone tiles and follow specialist advice, like Matthew's guidance here. 

Slate tiles
"If it doesn't contain acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon, you can use a mild detergent on slate tiles. If your slate tile is coated, dry it as soon as possible with a soft towel to prevent water stains."

Marble tiles
"Marble tiles require a lot of upkeep. Never use anything to clean marble tile that has an acidic PH level. Lemon and vinegar-based cleaners should be avoided because they may etch the tile's surface. Additionally, avoid using anything that could scratch the marble, such as scouring powders or brushes with firm bristles."

Granite tiles
"Granite tiles should be cleaned with a mild, pH-neutral detergent, just like slate and marble tile. Using a harsh cleaner risks staining or leaving streaks on the tile. To keep a polished granite floor looking neat and polished, you might also buff it."

How to clean grout in floor tiles

Discovering how to clean grout in floor tiles (opens in new tab) is an easy way to update the entire look of floor tiles. They can quickly become discolored by dirt or the sun, making tiles look mucky. Luckily there are many at-home methods to get them looking brand new again, updating the appearance of flooring instantly. 

Step 1: 
"Make your own grout cleaner home by mixing baking soda and water to create a paste."

Step 2: 
"Apply grout cleaner to any stains, let it sit overnight, and then scrub it with a firm nylon brush the next morning (a metal brush will damage the grout). Repetition is required."

Step 3: 
"Apply a silicone-based sealer to the grout to make it stain-resistant by sealing it. This usually works best 10–14 days after a grout installation or replacement."

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Holly is the Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focuses on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from