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How to clean ceramic tile floors

Everything you need to know about cleaning ceramic tile floors and how to keep them looking amazing.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

Paw prints on white tiled floor
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For anyone with ceramic tiles, cleaning and removing stains from them can seem like one of the trickier household chores. Sure, they look lovely in the kitchen or bathroom, but they’re a little more delicate than other surface materials, so cleaning ceramic requires more time and care. To keep stains and general wear and tear under control—and your tiles looking their best – follow our ceramic tile cleaning tips and maintenance advice.

Some sites will recommend vinegar or similar substances as a ceramic tile cleaner. However, these acid-based agents can dull the sheen these tiles are known for. To avoid this, use neutral or alkaline agents, which are powerful at cleaning ceramic tiles but gentle on your tiles.

Glazed Ceramic Tile Cleaning Tips

Ceramic tiles come in two types: glazed and unglazed. The first has been fired so that a layer of glass forms on top, making it smooth, durable, and all but stain-proof. Despite this, it’s still a good idea to give them a spot of light cleaning from time to time to avoid a build-up of grime. This holds especially true for floors, where grit can wear down the shine, and in the shower, where long-left soap scum can prove near impossible to remove.

  1. First, gently brush or wipe the tiles to remove any grit that may scratch the finish.

  2. Mix up a mild solution of a three parts Cif floor cleaner and one part water.

  3. Mop the floor with the solution, working out any stubborn areas with a soft cloth if necessary. A cloth or rag mop is preferable to sponge.

  4. Scrub the grouting with a small brush. The grouting will collect most of the dirt, so it’s easy to damage it with lots of scrubbing if the brush is too hard. An old toothbrush is ideal!

  5. Change the solution for plain warm water and rinse with the mop.

  6. If desired, buff those tiles with a clean rag until they shine so bright you’ll need sunglasses to look at them.

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To clean wall tiles, follow the same steps but opt for a cloth or non-metallic scouring pad instead of a mop.

Unglazed Ceramic Tile Cleaning Tips

With no protective layer of glass, unglazed tiles are more difficult to clean. First, their porous surface traps grime much better than their glazed counterparts, and they aren’t nearly as resistant to stains. Second, the vulnerability of the naked clay limits the strength and type of ceramic tile cleaner that can be used, which can make ceramic tile stain removal tricky. The answer is to use Cif – just follow the instructions on the label.

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If you find yourself wasting an awful lot of time cleaning your ceramic tiles, it might be worth getting them sealed. Though they’ll still need a spot of light regular cleaning to maintain upkeep, this process greatly increases their durability and stain resistance. Tiles should also be resealed periodically, around once or twice a year.

How to Clean Grout on Tiles

Grout is the stuff that holds your ceramic tiles together. Unfortunately, it can be a little too good at its job and tends to also hold on to moisture, stains, and dirt. Even if you clean your tiles well, your initially pristine, white grouting can quickly become grey and dingy.

If it isn’t already, the first thing to do is get your grout sealed. (Tile-layers will often seal tile and grout at once.) Make sure to avoid a silicone seal that extends over the tile surface itself – this can ruin the glossy finish and will often wear off in patches.

If your grout is already dirty, all is not lost – grout staining products are available from most home maintenance stores, and these can help to restore some of the original colour.

Cleaning ceramic tiles doesn't have to be a long-winded task. For tips on how to clean Victorian floor tiles, read more here!

Originally published