How to Clean Porcelain Tile Floors
One of the biggest advantages of porcelain tile is that it’s one of the easiest flooring materials to clean. To keep it looking tidy, your tile floor can be easily swept or vacuumed twice a week. You can clean porcelain tile with a damp sponge mop and a solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of water.
Although it is by definition impervious (having an absorption rate of .5% or less), it is still possible for its surface to stain. You may choose, instead, a cleaner specifically formulated for porcelain tile. However, unglazed surfaces sometimes assume the color of the cleaning solution. For these and other important issues, here are steps to clean porcelain tile surfaces.
Clean Unpolished Porcelain Tile
Following is a simple procedure to clean unpolished/unglazed tile flooring with a moderate soil load.
- Remove loose dirt. Sweep or vacuum the dirt from the floor.
- Wash. Saturate the floor with cleaning solutions and hot water, stir and allow it to stand on the floor for 5 – 10 minutes. Do not allow cleaning solutions to dry. Also, for this procedure, do it on small areas at a time.
- Scrub. For more difficult stains, scrub the cleaning solution with a floor machine equipped with an abrasive pad or stiff nylon-bristle brush. For residential applications and small areas, use a scrub brush.
- Wide down. Wipe away the dirty cleaning solution and rinse the surface of the porcelain tile with clean, clear water with a mop or a wet vacuum.
- Air dry. Allow time for drying.
- Note: You might have to use a more aggressive cleaning method if the unpolished porcelain tile is heavily stained.
Polished Porcelain Tile
For polished or glazed tiles, these instructions should be followed for general cleaning:
- Remove loose dirt. Sweep or vacuum loose dirt and dust from the floor. Use an untreated, dry dust mop instead of a broom.
- Wash. Mop the floor with a mild cleaning solution. The concentration of the detergent should be 50% less than the amount used on an unpolished porcelain tile floor.
- Rinse clean. Rinse the porcelain tile floor with clean and clear water thoroughly.
- Wipe dry. Dry carefully to increase the shine and to prevent water spots.
Textured Wood-Look Porcelain Tile
A textured tile surface, like wood-look porcelain, requires some additional cleaning procedures. Just a standard wet-mopping will not effectively clean this type of surface. It requires you to clean it more frequently and do it in a specified manner. For cleaning textured surfaces, follow these instructions:
- Remove loose dirt. Sweep or vacuum dust and debris from the floor. For sweeping, use a soft-bristle broom and sweep in two directions. First follow the direction of the tile, and then sweep diagonally to ensure complete cleaning of all foreign material that might be residing in the texture.
- Wash. Saturate the surface with a neutral cleaning solution stirred into hot water. Allow the cleaning solution to remain on the floor for five to ten minutes. Scrub the floor with a brush, again using a two-direction method.
- Rinse clean. Rinse the floor with clean, clear water to remove the cleaning solution.
- Occasional scrub. For high traffic locations, it is recommended to scrub the floor once a day and wet mop at regular intervals.
Damage Prevention and Safety Measures
To keep your porcelain tile floors in tip top shape, also follow these tips:
- Do not clean porcelain tile flooring with ammonia or with cleaners that contain any bleach and/or acid for cleaning. Acid and ammonia based cleaners may alter grout color.
- Do not use any oil-based detergents, wax cleaners, or sealants.
- Do not use agents that contain any dyes or colors on unglazed porcelain tile.
- Use rugs at outdoor entrances to prevent grit from being tracked onto the tile flooring.
- Do not use steel wool pads, because the loose steel particles may cause rust stains in the grout.