How to clean porcelain ceramic tile

Updated February 21, 2017

One reason homeowners choose ceramic tile is how easy it is to clean; but using the wrong product or technique can discolour or damage your expensive tile. Before choosing a cleaning product, check with the manufacturer of your ceramic tile for specific cleaning recommendations. Ask which cleaning products and cleaning techniques are best for your type of tile and grout (the lines of mortar between the tiles). Also, check all cleaning product labels to verify they will work with your type of tile.

Sweep the area. This will remove large debris and loosen built-up dirt. Use a soft-bristled broom.

Use a vacuum cleaner and an appropriate attachment to access difficult-to-reach areas, such as under cabinets and appliances. Don't use a vacuum attachment that has a beater bar (a metal bar with a rotating brush). It can scratch and dull ceramic tile, according to the World Floor Covering Association.

Use a sponge or cloth and a mild detergent to clean small areas of heavy, built-up dirt. Pay special attention to grouted and difficult-to-reach areas that the mop may not be able to adequately clean.

Mop the entire floor with a solution of hot water and mild detergent. Allow the area to dry for several minutes, then rinse the area by mopping it with clean water.

Spot clean any leftover dirt with a sponge and hot water.

Wipe the area dry using a large towel. This will create a polished shine.


Lay floor mats near entryways to prevent dirt from being tracked in. Clean up dirt and spills immediately to prevent staining. Grouted areas are especially susceptible to staining.


The World Floor Covering Association warns consumers to avoid using steel wool, scouring powders, abrasive cleaners, and bleach and ammonia-based cleaners (which may discolour grout over time). For those with glazed tile, the association warns against using oil-based cleaners.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge or clean cloth
  • Mop
  • Large towel
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About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.