How to Clean Porcelain Floor Tiles

Porcelain flooring

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Porcelain is an extremely durable flooring material that doesn’t require much care or maintenance to keep it looking sleek and new through decades of use. A type of ceramic that is baked particularly hard, these tiles are often paired with a glazed glass protective coating that makes them impervious to staining, water damage, and most scratching physical impact. However, there are ways to give extra care to certain aspects of the installation in order to achieve optimal effects.

How Often to Clean Porcelain Tiles

Sweep, vacuum, or mop your porcelain floors regularly. Depending on foot traffic, this might be daily or every few days. You can do a deeper cleaning as needed to sanitize the floor or remove dirt that has worked its way into the microscopic pores of the tiles.

What You Need

Supplies

  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop
  • Mop bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Acrylic stone sealer (for unglazed tiles)

How to Clean Unglazed Porcelain Floor Tiles

In its raw manufactured state, porcelain is a strong but somewhat porous material that can be subject to staining discolorations over time. These materials need to be treated with a certain level of delicacy, be monitored for spills, and receive a sealing treatment annually.

  1. Damp Mop

    Use plain warm water to damp mop, or mix 1 gallon of warm water with a few drops of relatively mild ph-balanced dish soap. Do not saturate these floors as they will be more prone to water penetration than other materials. Dry the tiles with a clean towel after mopping.

  2. Remove Spills Promptly

    Use constant vigilance and the remove of any spills that occur as soon as possible so they don't stain the unglazed porcelain.

  3. Sealing Treatment

Acrylic stone sealer can be applied to a well-cleaned, dry unglazed floor to keep the surface pores impervious. Yearly, add about 1 cup of sealer to 3 gallons of rinse water after a good cleaning.

How to Clean Glazed Tiles

In most cases, porcelain flooring will be treated with a melted glass glaze, which is poured over the surface of each tile to create a thin protective layer that is completely impervious to water penetration and most stains. These applications are much easier to care for, requiring less maintenance and no annual sealing treatments.

  1. Sweep or Vacuum

    Regularly sweep or vacuum your floors to remove grit that can damage the glaze.

  2. Mop

    Most mopping or cleaning procedures, including both natural and chemical, can be used to effectively refresh glazed ceramic floors. However, you still have to check and follow any instructions listed on the packaging of the product.

  3. Prevent Stains

    Wipe up stains as soon as possible, and flush away any residue. While these tiles are resistant, they can still slightly shade if messes are allowed to linger for long periods of time.

  4. Clean Stains

    A solution of vinegar diluted 1-to-1 with water or a diluted commercial ceramic tile cleaner can be used to clean stains.

  5. Avoid Damage

In all of your cleaning, don't use hard bristles or steel wool as it can damage the tile.

How to Deep Clean Porcelain Floor Tiles

In general, you will be able to just use warm water and a mop to clean porcelain tiles. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to make use of deeper cleaning to sanitize the surface and remove stubborn grime.

  1. Mix Vinegar and Water

    Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water. If desired, you can add essential oils for scent.

  2. Mop Thoroughly

    Use the vinegar and water mixture to mop the floor well.

  3. Rinse

    Rinse the floor by mopping well with plain water. 

  4. Sprinkle With Baking Soda

    Sprinkle baking soda on the floor.

  5. Mop With Vinegar and Water Solution

    Mop the floor with the vinegar and water solution.

  6. Flush to Remove Residue

    Flush the floor thoroughly with plain water thoroughly to remove any residue.

  7. Work in small sections so that you can clean, rinse, and allow each portion of the floor to dry thoroughly.

How to Clean Grout Lines

The grout lines are often the most vulnerable points in the installation. They will need to be sealed even if the tiles don’t. You can clean them with equal parts water and baking soda, using a small brush. If necessary, it is possible to completely remove and replace grout lines for a brand new look.

Tips to Keep Your Porcelain Floors Clean Longer

  • Sweep, vacuum, or mop your porcelain floors regularly. Small grit particles can wear away at both glazed and unglazed protective coatings and scratch the surface of the material, dulling it slightly over the years.
  • Wipe up stains as soon as possible, and flush away any residue.
  • While most cleansers won’t do anything to porcelain, some particularly abrasive chemicals can have an effect, so try to avoid anything too heavy duty. Always check the manufacturer's label.
  • Don't use any colored products on unglazed porcelain tiles as these may stain them.
  • Make sure to ventilate the area properly when cleaning, for evaporation and air quality reasons. Use gloves, eyewear, and open windows to avoid inhalation damage if using any chemical cleaners.
  • Never use steel wool or other abrasive utensils on a porcelain floor. These can cause scratches and can damage the surface of the tiles.