How To Clean Ceramic Tiles

by Drew Henry

Too much dirt should never ruin your beautiful ceramic tiles, but over time, they'll inevitably lose their shine if too much dirt or dust collects on them. Not only does a regular clean prevent dirt from accumulating, but it also makes your tiles shine.

Ensure a spotless home by understanding what type of tile you have and how best to clean it!

Understanding Ceramic Tiles

Types of Ceramic Tiles

Not all ceramic tiles are the same. You must know what type of ceramic tile you’re dealing with to ensure you properly clean them. 


Glazed tiles consist of two primary materials, water and clay, forming the main body of the tile. A colorful liquid glaze, similar to glass, coats the body of the tile and is then fired in a kiln.

Glazed tiles are versatile tiles because they can have multiple finishes. They can be glossy or matte and even be given metallicfrost, or crackle finishes, making them extra unique. 


Unlike glazed tiles, unglazed ceramic tiles do not have that protective liquid glass layer applied to the surface.

Expert Tips for Cleaning Ceramic Tiles

1. Preparation

Before you begin to dive in, please take a look at your ceramic tiles. Check to see if any tiles have cracks or chips. Then, make a note of any stains. It’s best to acknowledge these harder-to-clean areas before you start cleaning so you can find the best method.

2. Gathering Cleaning Supplies 

Once you’ve assessed your tiles, you must gather the necessary cleaning supplies. You don’t want to set time aside to clean if you realize you’re missing some equipment halfway through. So ensure you have: 

  • A broom, vacuum, dust mop 
  • Mop and sponge 
  • Soft-bristle brush or spare toothbrush
  • Clean, dry microfibre mop or cloth
  • Cleaning solution 

3. Preparing Cleaning Solution

When you know you’ve got everything you need, you can move on to preparing your cleaning solution. What cleaning solution you need will depend on the state of your tiles. For example, if the tiles aren't too dirty, you might use a light cleanser or a tile cleaner. 

Mix one part vinegar with warm water to make an at-home cleaner for glazed tiles. However, it’s crucial that if your tiles are unglazed, you never use vinegar, as it’ll ruin the tiles. You can also use dish soap mixed with warm water and some baking soda for a light clean. 

4. Basic Cleaning Method 

For this method, you’ll need to start by cleaning away any dust, dirt, or dry mud from the floor (if your tiles are on the floor). You can sweep the dirt away with a broom or dust mop. Or use a vacuum if it’s safe (i.e., it doesn’t leave scratches on them). 

If your tiles are in the shower, remove any dirt or dust with a microfibre towel and remove residue with a sponge. Remember that the corners and sides are more challenging to reach, so more dust or dirt will likely collect. 

Once you’ve removed all the dust and dirt, you can prepare your cleaning solution and mop or sponge the solution over your desired areas. If your tiles are in the shower, you can use a spray bottle to distribute your cleaning solution. Mop the tiles side-to-side for floors, and use the same motion with a sponge if in a shower. 

Remove stubborn dirt with light pressure with the mop or sponge. Keep rinsing the sponge and mop so you aren’t reapplying the dirt you’ve cleaned.

When done, dry your tiles as soon as possible to avoid water spots or lines. Take your clean, dry microfiber cloth and wipe down the tiles thoroughly. Make sure that you dry the grout lines, as it’s easy for water to seep into them.

For the best results, you want to clean and dry in smaller areas to avoid the solution drying in one place before you can get around to wiping it. 

5. Deep Cleaning Techniques 

When those pesky dirt marks don’t budge, it's time for a deeper clean. You can use a steam cleaner or a specialty tile and grout cleaner. 

With the steam cleaner, you must fill it with water and wait while it heats up. Ensure you’ve connected the pad or brush suitable for your tiles’ surface, and then move the steamer over the tiles slowly. It’s best to do this motion in smaller areas to give the steam time to get into the area to loosen the dirt. 

You’ll need to use a clean, dry microfiber cloth or mop to wipe away any dust that’s been loosened. Ensure you always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your safety and to avoid ruining your tiles. 

Alternatively, you can use a specialist piece of equipment. In this instance, always follow the specific instructions for that piece of equipment and ensure it’s safe to use with your specific tiles.

How to Clean Stains on Ceramic Tiles

How a liquid particle is formedcan alter how it stains a material. So, the method you’ll need for stain removal depends on your type of stain. 

If the stain is from mold or mildew, you’ll need to apply a mold and mildew cleaning solution to the desired area and wait as long as the instructions state on the solution’s packaging. Then, scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush or a spare toothbrush, rinse with water, and dry. Make sure to take appropriate precautions to protect your health when dealing with mold and mildew.

If the stain is from soap, you’ll need to spray a soap scum remover on the surface, wait as long as the product dictates, then use a soft brush or sponge to remove the spot. After this, rinse the area with clean water and dry the tiles with a clean cloth. 

For hard water stains, you’ll need to apply a hard water stain remover to the required tiles and leave it to work for as long as the instructions tell you. Then, use a cloth or sponge to remove the stain, rinse the area with water, and dry the tiles as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Thing to Clean Ceramic Tiles With?

Sometimes, the best cleaning solution is simply dish soap mixed with warm water. The soap’s molecular structureremoves dirt easily, so you should be able to remove surface-level dirt. Additionally, because it’s a gentle cleaning solution, you won’t risk ruining the surface of your tiles with a more potent substance. 

What Should You Not Use to Clean Ceramic Tile?

Any products like citric acids or vinegar, strongly acidic products, could ruin your tiles by impacting the finish. If you’re using these products, they must be watered down enough to make them safe. You should always avoid using acidic or bleach-based products on unglazed tiles.

How Do You Deep Clean Ceramic Tile?

If you need to deep clean your ceramic tiles, you’ll likely need more than soap and warm water. You may need to use a steamer, which uses steam to break down the more stubborn dirt on the tile faces or in the grout lines.

Looking for New Tiles? Shop LiLi Tile!

Want a new look to freshen up your space? At LiLi Tile, we’ve got a wide range of tile options to choose from. Discover what tiles will make your home shine, and browse our selection at LiLi Tile today!

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