How to Clean Terra-Cotta Floor Tiles

Updated February 21, 2017

Terra-cotta tiles are a fired-clay flooring material that is durable and easy to maintain. Most manufacturers cover the tiles with a sealant, so they can be easily cleaned. Older, unsealed terra-cotta tiles may have developed salt stains, which you will need to remove with a specific type of cleaner.

Sweep the floor tiles thoroughly to remove any dirt or dust.

Fill a bucket with warm water and add enough household detergent to create suds.

Dip a mop in the solution and wipe it across the tiles. Wear protective gloves and scrub the grout between the tiles to remove any trapped dirt with a nylon scrub brush.

Empty the bucket and fill it with clean water. Dip the mop into the bucket, wring out the excess water and run the mop over the tiles to rinse off the soapy solution. Allow the tiles to dry.

Examine the tile surfaces for signs of efflorescence--white salt stains, if you have older, unsealed tiles.

Put on protective goggles and gloves. Use an efflorescence remover to clean the salt stains off the surface of the tiles. Follow the directions on the package for applying the cleaner and for rinsing it off.


Seal older terra-cotta tiling after cleaning to prevent future stains and marks. There are sealants made specifically for terra-cotta tiles.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Mild household detergent
  • Mop
  • Protective gloves
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Protective goggles, optional
  • Efflorescence remover, optional
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.