Tile Cleaning

 Tile Cleaning

Tile cleaning can be a chore and the techniques you would use can vary depending on the type of tile you have.  I will list several types of tiles here and discuss some basic tips for tile cleaning of the various types of tiles.

With many colors, textures, tiles sizes, and materials of excellent durability qualities available, in most cases tiles are easy to maintain and clean.  The bigger challenge in most cases is the cleaning of the grout. https://www.howtocleananything.com/general-cleaning-tips/grout-cleaning/

Tile Cleaning
Tile Cleaning

Marble, Travertine

Smooth, hard, cool to the touch and beautifully patterned, marble flooring, travertine and limestone offer the classic look of elegance and create a very luxurious effect.

Available in a wide variety of colors, especially earth tones, and often imitated by other types of tile like ceramic and porcelain.

Marble, limestone and travertine are calcite-based stones and have similar properties when it comes to care and cleaning. Marble is relatively simple to maintain once you know how.

Most problems are simple to solve, however, sealing may be necessary to protect against staining. Using the proper cleaning products requires a little more care and work, but it is a must… the results is a terrific looking floors

Extremely durable and versatile, marble, travertine or limestone floor tile can be used anywhere in your home, even your patio, but are particularly suitable for bathrooms, showers, hallways and formal living areas…

Etching in marble may be a concern, and when it comes to cleaning, using the proper product for marble is a MUST! Taking care of marble requires a bit more work than other types of tile flooring, but the beauty it adds to your home will be worth it… Bear in mind that counter tops are more susceptible to etching than flooring. These types of tiles are cleaned using neutral pH cleaners, no acidic cleaners should be used. Also quickly remove spills like orange or tomato juice for example since they are acidic.  Using soft cleaning cloths and or mops are best when cleaning marble and abrasive cleaning equipment is not recommended when cleaning marble.

Granite tile is basically indestructible if you choose the right variety… It can be used in any room with no concern, including an entry way or outdoor patio.

Unlike marble, limestone and travertine, this type of tile does not etch the same way and rarely is staining a problem. There is basically an endless array of patterns and magnificent colors for you to choose from and tile cleaning is pretty easy but it is best to avoid acidic chemicals.

Like most floor tile, granite has maintenance requirements… Depending on the degree of use and wear, polished granite may require periodic re-polishing just like any polished stone floor will.

To help reduce the chance of staining, some types may need to be sealed to may tile cleaning easier.

Slate Tile

Rugged and rustic looking, this tile is definitely unique and loved by many. The distinctive characteristics are easy to spot and adds to its allure, but the up-keep can be over-whelming and is therefore not for everyone.  Slate is more porous and usually uneven so regular cleaning is a must, or using a stone sealer to may tile cleaning is also recommended.  Since slate is more porous it will stain easier and stains can be stubborn.  Grease stains for example are difficult on a floor like this which is unsealed, and you will likely have to resort to using a poultice to remove this type of staining.  For general maintenance neutral cleaner is best and using less detergent is better leaving soap residue behind will only attract the dirt fast and make tile cleaning ore difficult.

Not all slate is alike and the quality can vary widely from soft and crumbly to hard and dense. The more expensive the slate the easier it will be to maintain,

Slate is usually thought of as gray, but it comes in colors, too. You will find green, blue, black, gray, rust and multi-color.

Most slate must be sealed to prevent staining. The cleft (ridges) finish slate is noted for collects dirt easily. Also, any element that is acidic will cause etching (corrosion) if it comes into contact with slate tiles.

Slate may not be the best choice for large flooring areas because of the the up-keep it requires. Having it honed (smoothed) will reduce the time and care needed to keep your flooring looking its best…

Cleaning Natural Stone Flooring

The main factor in cleaning natural stone is the initial treatment of the floor, for easy tile cleaning using a stone sealer is best and if you desire a unfinished look that is not sealed then frequent tile cleaning is necessary.  Consider a wet vacuum so you can use a combination of water detergent and by vacuuming with a wet vac will help keep the tiles cleaner. Use as little detergent as possible; remember excess soap will attract dirt faster.  Always use a Ph balanced soap or detergent.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is steadily gaining in status as an alternative to stone or ceramic tile. Its characteristics are equal to natural stone tile without the price. Also, it is more durable, longer wearing and more damage resistant than ceramic, which make it suitable for any area in your home.

Full-bodied porcelain carry the color and patterns throughout its thickness making it virtually impervious to wear and suitable for residential, commercial and industrial highest traffic application.

If you like the stone tile look, but fear the price porcelain tile comes closer to duplicating the look of natural stone tiles.

Nearly maintenance free and cleaning is a breeze with just soap and water and is highly resistant to stains.  There are some porcelain tiles with matte finishes which are designed to reduce the slipperiness or just because the desire is to not have a shine floor.  Thee matte finished floors can be a challenge and can trap the dirt easier, in which case more frequent or specialized tile cleaning is necessary.

Ceramic Tile

Popularity has greatly increased for ceramic flooring as an alternative to natural stone tile. It wears well in light to moderate traffic areas, but is more prone to chipping and wear than is porcelain tile.

Of all the hard tiles, ceramic offers the most choices in colors, shapes and patterns. It’s suitability for any room makes ceramic a versatile tile floor covering.

The finishing glaze may give it a plastic or wet look (depending on your choice of color & pattern). None-the-less, it has great eye-appeal and style.

It provides better traction than most stone tiles and is resistant to water and stains. No special cleaning agents are needed; diluted household detergent will work just fine.

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo tile captures the rich yellow-orange colors of the South-western desert clay it is made of. In a class by itself, each tile is made by hand and no two tiles are the same…

Its uniqueness and color cannot be compared to any other floor tile and is what people are drawn to and love…

The downside, clay is very porous and stains easily. In colder climates it may crack and scratch more easily. NOT the best choice for kitchen or bathroom.

Lack of uniform tiles makes them difficult and consequently expensive to install. Saltillo tile should be sealed before, immediately after and every six months thereafter once installed.

Cork Tile

Growing by leaps and bounds cork tile is quickly becoming the flooring of choice over other types of tile, and especially so for kitchens and bathrooms.

Long-wearing, affordable, rich and warm looking, easy to take care of and easy to install are just a few features why it has gained such popularity!

It’s natural insulating and sound proofing properties, resistance to friction, impact, moisture, dust, bacteria, mold and rot make it suitable for any room!

With so many incredible colors, patterns and designs available, there is something to fit any life style and the creative mind… just imagine.

Cork floor tile require very little maintenance… once installed apply a coat of acrylic varnish sealant, and re-apply the sealant when the tiles begin looking dull.  Otherwise a good neutral pH cleaner is best for cleaning this tile.

Rubber Tile

Made from synthetic materials rubber tiles are square and available in many sizes, thickness, colors, simulated stones, patterns, textures and finish. They are hard-wearing and resistant to most flooring issues, but can mark easily. These tiles are better suited for wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom, utility room or garage, but work well in a child’s bedroom or play room too. They are affordable, practical and very contemporary, with minor drawbacks compared to other types of tile.

Dirt can accumulate in raised or dimpled textures and light colors show the dirt more easily. Special products are needed for polishing the surface and sealing.

Rubber tiles are not difficult to install, but are heavier and harder to handle than cork, vinyl or linoleum tiles.


To summarize there are some consistent things you should be looking for and doing when performing your tile cleaning. Look at the best way to seal both the tiles and the grout after the tiles have been installed.  Maintain that sealer based on the recommendations of the manufacture, but the basic rule of thumb is when the finish is looking dull you need to re-seal.  This alone is the largest factor in keeping your tiles clean.

Always use a neutral pH cleaner, avoid acidic or alkaline cleaners both will remove floor finishes.  Acidic cleaners will damage some natural stone like marble etc. Some examples of acidic cleaners are CLR, vinegar while bleach is highly  alkaline etc.  The pH of orange juice is 3.0, while baking soda has a pH of 9.0

The speed of cleaning up spills and stains are also important when cleaning tiles.  Don’t let that grape juice take hold and soak into the tile and or likely the grout, clean up as soon as the spill occurs.  Take the time to cleaning your tile really well before attempting to seal, you may have to go as far as using a poultice for removing stains when cleaning natural stone tile.  Going the extra mile before sealing will go a long way to make tile cleaning an easy maintenance task for the life of your tiles.


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