How to Clean Glazed and Unglazed Porcelain Floor Tile

Porcelain tile cleaning supplies

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs

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.

Tile cleaning supplies
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop
  • Mop bucket


  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Acrylic stone sealer (for unglazed tiles)


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 and Dry the Tile

    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 or sponge after mopping.

    Damp cleaning an unglazed floor

    The Spruce / Liz Moskowitz

  2. Apply Sealing Treatment

    An 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.

    Person preparing to mix acrylic stone sealer

    The Spruce / Liz Moskowitz


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

  3. 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

    Cleaning tile grout lines

    The Spruce / Liz Moskowitz

Glazed Porcelain 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.


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

  1. Sweep or Vacuum the Floor

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

    Sweeping glazed porcelain tile
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  2. Mop With a Tile-Safe Product

    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.

    Microfiber mop on glazed tile
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  3. Use a Vinegar Solution on Any Stains

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

    Cleaning porcelain tile floor with vinegar solution
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  4. Clean Messes Promptly

    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.

    Wiping stain on porcelain tile floor
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

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-Water Cleaning Solution

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

    Mixing vinegar and water with essential oil for cleaning solution
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  2. Mop the Floor Thoroughly

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

    Deep cleaning porcelain floor with microfiber mop
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  3. Rinse With Plain Water

    Rinse the floor by mopping well with plain water. 

    Cleaning tile floor with microfiber mop
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  4. Sprinkle With Baking Soda

    Sprinkle baking soda on the floor.

    Sprinkle baking soda on porcelain tile floor
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  5. Mop Again With Vinegar Solution

    Mop the floor with the vinegar and water solution.

    Mop tile floor with vinegar and water solution
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  6. Flush to Remove Residue

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

    Cleaning tile floor with plain water
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin
  7. Go Section by Section

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

    Porcelain tile floor microfiber mop
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

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 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.
  • Ventilate the area properly when cleaning, for evaporation and air quality. 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.
  • How do you clean porcelain tiles without streaks?

    Cleaning with a vinegar-water solution can help to promote a streak-free finish on porcelain tile. It’s also important to thoroughly rinse and dry the floor.

  • Why are my porcelain tiles dull?

    Anything that can remove the finish and wear at the surface of a porcelain tile can make it appear dull. That includes abrasive dirt particles, as well as harsh cleaners. 

  • What can damage porcelain tile?

    Letting stains sit and dry on porcelain tile can make them difficult to remove. Highly corrosive products, such as bleach or ammonia, also can damage the tile.