How to clean porcelain tile floors

An image of ceramic and porcelain marble tile floorWho doesn’t love having their home floors looking spic and span? Being one of the most extensive surfaces, knowing how to clean porcelain tile floors unlocks new levels of immaculacy in your home.

While we laud porcelain tile floors for their ease of maintenance and exceptional durability, cleaning is a remarkable way of giving special care to the floors.

Therefore, cleaning your porcelain tile floors has to be done right. Here, we share valuable tips on tackling your porcelain floors and the vulnerable grout lines with you. Tag along!

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How to clean porcelain tile floors

To begin with, let’s skim through some of the basic materials and tools necessary for accomplishing a porcelain tile cleaning routine. Here’s a concise rundown;

  • Mop/mop bucket
  • Non-metallic scrub brush
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum/ broom
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Acrylic stone sealer (for use on unglazed porcelain tiles)
  • Towel

Even though porcelain tile floors have variations, having equipped yourself with the listed primary products should get you started. Cleaning aims to make your floors retain their shine. This then begs the question, how often to clean Porcelain tile floors.

There is no ideal answer to this. Vacuuming/sweeping every week is preferable for removing any loose debris and dirt. Cleaning on a monthly basis using vinegar is also ideal for attaining spotless-looking floors. For this, you can use a sponge mop dampened in a solution comprising 2 gallons of water and ¼ cup vinegar.

However, how often to clean your floors is relative. This is because factors like traffic levels in your home also influence the frequency of cleaning in that you might have to clean your floors every few days or daily.  Adopting a regular sweeping/vacuuming routine would therefore be a good call.

Now, onto the topic at hand, you should be aware that different types of porcelain tile floors exist. Cleaning routines vary depending on the type of tile floor. Below is a general stepwise guide highlighting how to clean porcelain tile floors elaborated as follows;

  • Eliminating dirt and debris

The perfect way to kick off your cleaning routine is by getting rid of loose dust, dirt, and other debris. This you do by employing a vacuum cleaner, a micro-fiber mop, or a dry dust mop. Remember to emphasize the sections between the tiles and the room’s corners.

  • Dealing with confined stains

Shift your focus to the spots bearing localized stains. Employ a soft nylon brush and warm water and scrub the stain off in a circular manner. Do not use the nylon brush on a dry patch to avoid scratching the tiles.

  • Mopping with an appropriate tile floor cleaner and hot water

The type of porcelain floor you have should guide your decision on floor cleaners. Once you acquire the appropriate floor cleaner, use it in a mild solution to mop your tiles. Seal this process by applying hot water on the surface before the cleaning solution dries totally.

  • Drying and buffing

This is the final step. First, to avoid leaving pools of water, use a clean towel or a microfiber cloth to dry the floor. After this, use some piece of fabric or cheesecloth to buff the floor to a shine.

Types of Porcelain tile floors

Porcelain tile floors have secured their spot as one of the most popular flooring materials owing to their visual appeal and outstanding durability. The manufacture of porcelain tiles is quite unique since it involves subjecting clay to extremely high temperatures.

This makes porcelain tiles outmatch ordinary ceramic in terms of strength, hardness, and water-resistance abilities. Despite these phenomenal qualities, porcelain tiles come in several varieties due to variations in characteristics. Here, we are going to delve into each of the various types as follows;

Glazed porcelain tiles

You have probably come across the term glazed when researching porcelain tiles. It means that the tile has been treated with a glazed finish after exposure to high temperatures. The glaze finish augments the tile’s strength and makes it impermeable.

Unglazed or Matte porcelain tiles

For these types of porcelain tiles, no further treatment is made to the raw of the tiles. The tiles are only manufactured in the natural form through exposure to high temperatures.

Full-body porcelain tiles

Full body tiles possess some distinct traits whereby they feature grains, texture, veins, and color that run all the way through. The production of these tiles is based on selecting a limited number of materials, blending, pressing, and firing to attain the final product.

Here’s the interesting bit: converting full-body tiles to either glazed, matte, or polished tiles is feasible. This type of tile does not easily reveal scratches due to its homogeneous nature. Also, these tiles have a high-performance rating making them suitable for heavy commercial purposes.

Polished porcelain tiles

have a polish cut into their surface. For the manufacture of this type of tile, polishing follows exposure of the porcelain tile to high temperatures. There is a tendency to confuse this type of tiles with glazed vitrified tiles. Note each type has a different manufacturing process.

Stone finish or textured tiles

The central trait of this type of porcelain tile is its ability to mimic a stone finish since it is incredibly textured. It tends to be suitable for external walls.

Double charged porcelain tiles

The production of this type of tiles is quite extraordinary. Two types of clay are fused to form distinctive designs in the resulting tile. Also, this type is quite versatile since it can have a matte, semi-polished, polished, or glazed finish.

Variations among porcelain tiles can be due to differences in tile patterns. Elucidated below are some of the common patterns to differentiate between;

  • Diamond tile pattern – Stacking on the NAT line running along a 450 angle is required.
  • Grid tile pattern – You attain this pattern by positioning square tiles along the horizontal and vertical NAT lines.
  • Herringbone tile pattern – You position rectangular tiles at 450 or 900
  • Brick tile pattern – Rectangular or square tiles will work will this pattern. The placement of the tiles is in rows. Also, one positions each tile from the next line in an offset manner.

Porcelain tiles are also miscellaneously categorized as floor tiles, wall tiles, and mosaic wall tiles.

How to deep clean Porcelain Floor Tiles

At times, simply using a mop and warm water might not do the trick for your porcelain floors. Deep cleaning will be the pertinent remedy when you need to beautify the floor by removing grime and sanitizing it to eliminate allergens in one go. Here’s how to carry it out.

1 Prepare a vinegar solution.

White vinegar is one of the most typical cleaning agents that are home-based. Add a gallon of warm water into a large bucket—mix ¼ cup white vinegar with the said proportion of warm water. If you wish to infuse some scent into the cleaning solution, you can add essential oils.

2. Proceed to mop

You should use the newly prepared vinegar and water mixture to thoroughly wet mop the floor. Sometimes, letting the cleaning solution sit on the tiles for about ten minutes is suitable for it to break down the stubborn grime.

3. Use plain water to rinse

To get rid of the cleaning solution from the floor’s surface, get some plain water and rinse the floor through mopping.

4. Powder with baking soda

For sparkling results, sprinkle the floor with baking soda.

5. Use a cleaning solution and flush.

As you had done earlier, clean the floor using the vinegar and water mixture. Rinse again with plain water to get rid of any residue.

6. Work in sections

This tip ensures that you tackle the entire floor thoroughly. Repeatedly mop, rinse and allow each section to dry as you work your way through the whole floor.

How to clean glazed Porcelain Floor Tiles

Different types of porcelain tile floors have varying cleaning requirements due to dissimilar traits. Glazed porcelain floor tiles are no different. Delineated below is a special routine particular for glazed porcelain tiles and is as follows;

i) Sweep/vacuum the floor

Before delving into deep cleaning, sweeping using a dust mop or vacuuming to get rid of most surface dust should always precede the routine. A friendlier option for sweeping is the microfiber mop. You don’t want to use materials such as brooms bearing plastic bristles since they can cause scratches.

ii) Remove dirt by flashing.

Using a soft nylon brush or a toothbrush, scrub a tile dampened with hot water in a circular motion. This should help you remove dark spots and any dirt. Avoid scrubbing dry tiles to prevent scratching.

iii) If stains are present, use a cleaning solution.

Homebased ingredients like white vinegar are suitable for dealing with stains on the tiles. Vinegar not only cleans the tiles but also deodorizes and disinfects them. Prepare a mixture comprising ¼ cup white vinegar and two gallons of warm water.

Apply the solution on the floor by mopping and allow it to sit for about five to ten minutes. Rinse the floor with plain water by mopping to remove the solution. Alternately, you may opt for a commercial cleaning solution that is ideal for use on glazed porcelain tiles. Use baking soda to remove coffee stains.

iv) Mop the surface

You finalize the cleaning routine by mopping with a mild floor cleaner. After this, use hot water to mop the floor while the floor is still wet with the floor cleaner. This tip helps prevent staining or damage to the tiles by the floor cleaner.

v) Drying and buffing

This final step aims to ensure that no water pools or water spots remain on the floor. Therefore, employ a clean towel or a piece of microfiber cloth to dry the floor totally.

Aeration of the room using a fan or channels allowing wind entrance will speed up the drying process. After drying, you should buff the floor. You achieve this by rubbing a piece of cheesecloth over the surface in a circular manner to buff it to a shine.

Best Cleaner for Porcelain Tiles

The principal reason for cleaning porcelain tile floors or other flooring types, for that matter, narrows down to achieving a hygienic and clean space. You obviously want your efforts to refresh your porcelain tile floors fruitful, right?

A crucial determinant in making a cleaning routine successful is the choice of porcelain floor cleaner. A wrong cleaner choice could have detrimental effects on your floor, like staining and discolorations. That is not desirable. Provided below are some of the safest porcelain tile floor cleaners available.

Here’s a listing of some favorable commercial floor cleaners;

  • Bona Hard-Surface floor cleaner spray is characterized by a balanced pH and the capability to cut through grime.
  • Marble and tile floor cleaner
  • Ultimate grout cleaner
  • Goo Gone Grout & tile cleaner
  • Miracle sealants PCTCQT6 porcelain & ceramic tile cleaners

Alternatively, here are some home-based cleaners that are applicable

  • A mixture of vinegar and warm water.
  • Baking soda for stains, especially coffee stains.
  • Water and neutral soap.

Porcelain Tiles Maintenance

Most individuals associate porcelain tiles with low maintenance efforts. While this is true, porcelain tiles should not be left unattended. Maintenance is pertinent if you want to enjoy optimal service from your porcelain tiles.

The tricks to porcelain tile maintenance lie in the cleaning routines and daily handling of the tiles. Highlighted below are some hacks that, if adopted, will immensely contribute to porcelain tile maintenance. They include;

  • Imperfections – if you notice imperfections like scratches, get them replaced or repaired as soon as possible. This step will help avoid further damage.
  • Water spots – mostly, deep cleaning your porcelain tiles probably leaves some sections with water puddles/water spots unnoticed. The tile quality and luster are affected when the water sits for a prolonged time on the surface. Ensure that the entire section is fully dry after deep cleaning.
  • Spills – in the event of accidental spills, ensure that you clean them immediately. Remember, long-standing liquids have a damaging effect on tiles.
  • Use of rugs and mats – at times, shoes are a significant cause of tile damage. Therefore, using rugs and mats to cover the floor, from the entrance to high foot traffic areas, helps prevent damage due to foot traffic.
  • Acid-based formulas – despite vinegar being a favorite for many households, it bears acidic properties and therefore poses a risk of damaging your porcelain tile floors. It would be best if you did not use vinegar to clean regularly.
  • Grouts and joints – it is recommendable to seal the more vulnerable grouts and joints to improve the tile quality.
  • Regular basic cleaning – frequent cleaning routines with basic ingredients like mild soap and warm water are appropriate tile maintenance practices.
  • Ammonia-based cleaners and harsh chemicals – cleaning products containing ammonia or other savage substances should be avoided at all costs. Such cleaners not only pose the risk of damaging the glazed surfaces but also the grout itself.
  • Concentrated cleaners – these are best used on unglazed tiles since they have a neutral pH. They can remove spills, grease, and oils from such unglazed tiles.

How do you make porcelain tiles shine?

The gratification that comes with having your porcelain tile floor looking shiny and ravishing is unmatched. At times, it may be hard to change the drab and uninspiring look on your tile floors even after intensely scrubbing and buffing.

A dull porcelain tile floor is undesirable. Mostly, the dull appearance results from residue effects from water leftover and cleaning products contrary to the common perception of dirt accumulation. When this is the situation, how do you make porcelain tiles shine once again?

The secret lies in the choice of cleaning products. With the variations in porcelain tile floors, ensure that you grab a floor cleaner that is particularly suitable for your tile floor. Avoid settling for products containing sealant or wax cleaners, oil-based detergents, bleach, or ammonia-based solutions to avoid discolorations.

If you are dealing with matte porcelain tiles, start by polishing over the floor with a mop, foam rubber brush, or wax applicator. Smear a thin layer of gloss while ensuring it comes out clear rather than white when applying. Smoothen out any puddles that appear to pool on the tile’s surface.

Here’s an overview of the general guide to making porcelain tiles shine. Start by sweeping/vacuuming before proceeding to mop. Employ a cleaning solution that is suitable for your type of porcelain tile flooring.

Usually, a mild cleaning solution will work quite well. Particularly dirty sections should be spot treated with a soft-bristled brush or a sponge. Rinsing off the cleaning solution should follow. Dry the floor and finalize with buffing the water spots using a flat-head microfiber mop or a buffer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are my porcelain tiles cloudy?

During the processing of the tiles, application of the factory sealer causes residue formation that in turn results in optical hazing. The sealer residue appears as swirling or cloudy marks on the tile’s surface. The marks or patterns are easily visible in low-angle light.

Also, leftover residue from grout during fresh installation could present a cloudy and filmy appearance. If the cloudy appearance comes about after mopping, it is primarily due to detergent build-up to form a sticky residue.

How do you remove mop and Glo from porcelain tile?

You ought to search for a product that is specifically meant to get rid of mop and Glo. For instance, products like Remove Mop or OxiClean. Oxiclean works wonders as it absorbs all the Glo. If you intend to use a mop to apply OxiClean, prepare a mixture containing OxiClean and warm water.

Diluted bleach solutions tend to be also effective. Prepare a solution by adding some capfuls of bleach to a gallon of water. Allow the solution to sit on the floor for a few minutes and then mop it away using a sponge.

Can you use Pine-Sol on porcelain tile?

Pine-sol is one of the usual floor cleaning solutions and tends to work just fine on porcelain tiles since they count as one of the hard nonporous surfaces. Products like Pine-Sol Original Squirt and Mop are considered safe for your tiles. Remember to avoid using products that tend to be abrasive as they will cause scratching.

Is Bona good for Porcelain tile?

Bona tile floor cleaner is safe for use on porcelain tiles. It is an ideal choice for cleaning hard surface floors such as porcelain tile flooring. It prides itself on remarkable traits such as biodegradability, eco-friendliness, and streak-free. Additionally, it leaves no residues and dries very fast.

What removes mop and Glo build-up?

A preparation comprising a gallon of warm water, ½ cup of general-purpose cleaner, and two cups of household ammonia will handle the unwanted mop and Glo build-up. Note the cleaner should not bear bleach components.

Can I Use Bona Hardwood Floor Polish on tile?

Bona hardwood floor cleaner is favorable for wood floors, including engineered wood floors. The cleaner is also suitable for tile and stone. However, its use on tiles is debatable since it imparts a sticky and greasy feel to your tiles, making them slippery.

Can engineered floors be refinished?

Yes, they can. However, you ought to consider essential factors like the thickness of the wear layer, the internal core of the floor, and the number of previous refinish. If the floors bear a veneer with a thickness of 3mm or more, refinishing is possible, at least once.

Floors featuring a wear layer measuring less than 2mm thick can be lightly scuff-sanded using a buffer. If the wear layer is thick, sanding as done in solid wood is achievable.

In Closing

It is an inherent desire for most individuals to inhabit a clean, classical, and luxurious space. Porcelain tile floors are a means to achieving such a space. Besides, their ability to strike a visual interest and grant satisfaction from their fetching character is unparalleled.

Characterized by nonporous and non-absorbent traits, porcelain tiles will not demand special requirements, unlike other materials. Regular cleaning with water will keep them looking attractive for years.

The takeaway message is to be careful when choosing a tile floor cleaner. A wrong choice will have you regretting your actions. It is better to try a solution on a small floor area first if you are unsure about it. Otherwise, everything you need to know about cleaning porcelain tile floors the right way is exhausted in this comprehensive piece.


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