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Removing Stains From Floor Tiles

Updated on February 11, 2016

Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution Remove Stains Naturally From Floor Tiles


Tiles are pieces of hardwearing material used to form wall and floor coverings. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from manufactured simple squares to complex mosaics.

Floor tiles are commonly made of ceramic or stone, typically set into a mortar of sand, cement and latex-based adhesive. Spaces between the tiles are filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout. The grout is a mixture made of cement, sand, fine gravel and water. Porcelain or ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed.

One of the most common complaints associated with tile flooring is staining due to kitchen mishaps or otherwise. The tendency to take up a stain depends on the porosity of tile material. Stains can penetrate deeper in the highly porous tiles, and become resistant to removal.

Usually household detergents, laundry bleach and other oxidants are used for stain removal. Porcelain tiles are fired at a very high temperature to enable a stain resistant finish though mishaps still occur.

Non Toxic Eco-friendly Tile Stain Removal

Hard to go, stubborn stains and spots can be removed using stuff from the kitchen shelf. These non-toxic, organic green cleansers are soft on hands and do not cause harm to the environment. These include the following:

  1. White vinegar: It is a liquid that has acetic acid as its active ingredient. It is a mild acid that can dissolve mineral deposits, and acts as a natural non-toxic cleansing agent that deodorizes, disinfects and cleans most hard surfaces. It is produced by fermentation of distilled alcohol. The fermentate is diluted to produce a colorless solution of 5 to 8% acetic acid in water. White vinegar works well to dissolve grease and hard water stains, and leaves behind a fresh, neutral scent after being rinsed away. A test conducted by a microbiologist from Good Housekeeping found that the acetic acid in vinegar in a 5% strength is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria. It is a non-toxic cleanser though less so than chemical disinfectants. For cleaning purposes, sweep the floor tiles with a broom, or vacuum them on the hard floor setting to remove loose dirt and debris. Dissolve one-fourths to one-half cup of white vinegar in a gallon of lukewarm water in a bucket. Dip a mop into the vinegar solution and wring it out. Mop the floor thoroughly with it. This would remove the light stains. Now mop again with plain water to remove any traces of vinegar solution left behind, then wipe it to dryness with a clean towel. Open the doors and windows to ventilate the area, if the smell of vinegar gets troublesome. Do not mix vinegar with bleach. Avoid using it in excess amount or mixing in water that is boiling hot, as this could remove the luster and provide a dull look to the floor.
  2. Baking soda: The common household baking powder or sodium bicarbonate is a crystalline white solid. It is a mild, disinfectant, fire extinguisher and a leavening agent used for bakery purposes. It is the chief constituent used in soda blasting, a non-destructive process in which soda bicarb is applied against a surface using compressed air. This process has applications in cleaning, paint stripping, automotive restoration and industrial equipment maintenance. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that brightens the grout and removes stains. It does not break or disintegrate the grout the way bleach does and is free of the toxins present in most commercial cleansers. Sprinkle some baking soda directly on a cloth or sponge dampened with warm water. Rub it over the tile and the grouting. Rinse out the sponge and replace it with an old toothbrush for grout only cleaning. Rinse the tiled area with warm water. If the grout remains dirty or mildewed, mix more of soda bicarb and warm water in a medium plastic bowl until the mixture reaches a paste-like consistency. Scoop about a spoonful of this mix onto a dampened rag or a toothbrush, and work into the grout. Rinse with warm water using a mop or a clean cloth. If any residue remains do a second rinse. For extra shine, rinse the floor a final time with the above-mentioned vinegar solution. Only use vinegar after all traces of soda are removed from the floor. For resistant stains, especially on the grout, fill a spray bottle with equal parts of water and food based hydrogen peroxide available at health food stores. Spray the grout twice with this solution, with an interval of at least half an hour between the sprays. Leave it on for 8 to 10 hours. Rinse the tiled area with warm golden-brown cloudy appearance due to the presence of fermenting enzymes and bacteria that wont harwater. Wipe the tile and grout with a clean dry cloth. Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid that finds use as a strong oxidizer, bleaching agent, and a disinfectant.
  3. Apple cider vinegar: Made from cider and apple must, apple cider vinegar is produced by a double fermentation process. It has a brownish cloudy appearance due to the presence of fermenting enzymes and bacteria, that would not harm the tile finish. Mix a cupful of apple cider in a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Use a rag, and do all cleaning by hand to avoid leaving water to stand on the floor. Avoid excess rubbing.
  4. Citric acid: Commercial citric acid crystals can be mixed with water to make a dilute solution to clean non-glazed ceramic tiles.
  5. Steam cleaning: Using steam to clean the floors is another non-toxic method to remove resistant stains.

Methods To Remove Commonly Found Stains On Tiles

  1. Fruit juice or Tea: Wash the area with a solution of trisodium phosphate in hot water. Rinse and then wash with laundry bleach solution.
  2. Grease: Use an old toothbrush or a strong bristled kitchen brush to scrub with a strong solution of household detergent.
  3. Hard water scum: This can be removed using a mix of baking soda in warm water, or solution of a non-precipitating water softener.
  4. Mildew: Sponge it away using laundry bleach dissolved in water.

Maintenance Of Tiles

  1. Use a protective cover made of kraft paper, cardboard or plywood for the tile surface while applying the grout.
  2. Do not instal the tiles until all the heavy construction is complete.
  3. Test scouring powders on a small area or tile sample before applying it on the entire floor surface.
  4. Do not allow the cleaning solutions to dry, as they may leave new stains and even dull the tile finish.
  5. Avoid using oil-based detergents or wax cleansers for the floor.
  6. Do not use colored, or perfumed detergents on unglazed ceramic tiles.


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