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Do It Yourself Grout and Tile Cleaning Tips

Updated on December 19, 2009

Ceramic, porcelain, or granite tiles are an excellent and beautiful addition to any home.  There are however, many things to consider when deciding which type of tile to install in your home because some require more care than others.  For instance, ceramic tiles are super easy to clean and do not require any special tile cleaning products in order for you to maintain them.  Porous granite tiles may require a little more elbow grease and in some cases.  Glazed tiles also require a different treatment with non acidic products to retain the shine and prolong the life of the glaze finish.  The market if full of options when it comes to tile and grout cleaning products.  There options include cleansers, tools, and machinery.  Make sure you know exactly what kind of tile surface you are working with before you go and spend money on the wrong kind of products.

Photo Credit: The Floor Care Academy @
Photo Credit: The Floor Care Academy @

How to Clean Tile Floors Anywhere in Your Home

Cleaning tile floors that are new is super easy as long as you stay ahead of the mess.  Wipe up spills immediately when they happen to prevent stains from setting in.  You should sweep your tile floors frequently to prevent dirt and debris from damaging the surface and from depositing in the grout area.  Textured tiles are a little bit harder to keep clean because dirt and debris can hide in the crevices.  If you do have textured tiles or if you are looking for a substitute for frequent sweeping, try vacuuming instead.  Make sure your vacuum does not contain a beater bar and if it does, remove the bar before you begin.  Use the attachments to keep corner and areas under appliances and furniture clean.  To reduce the amount of dirt and debris that builds up in the tiled areas of your home you should place walk-off mats at all access points.  The mats will grab a majority of the debris.

Cleaning ceramic tile floors also requires that you damp mop every once in a while to remove stains and caked on dirt or debris.  When you do mop, always use products that are specifically recommended for your type of floor tile and finish.  Ceramic tile floor cleaning products can be purchased in just about every department, grocery, or home improvement store.  Diluted vinegar does a good enough job for floors that are frequently maintained.  When you mix vinegar and water, use equal parts to create an effective solution.  Always read the directions to any store bought cleaner.  A good mop, the right cleanser, and a soft sponge is all you will need even for the tougher stains.  Never use scouring pads, abrasive sponges, or steel wool to clean your ceramic surfaces.  Abrasive tools are likely to scratch the surface and over time, it may even wear down the grout in between the tiles.

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Surfaces in the Kitchen and Bathroom

Kitchen and bathroom surfaces that are tiled may get by mold, mildew, and lime scale.  In order to successfully remove stains from the tile and grout you will need to use a little bit of elbow grease.  Before you spend money on name brand products at the store, try to make a baking soda paste by mixing a little bit of baking soda with water in a container.  Use a tooth brush or other soft brush to spread the paste over the stain and allow it to sit for a while.  Rinse the paste off with warm water and a sponge or cloth.  The stain should be gone or drastically less noticeable.  If you are not satisfied with the result then you should definitely look for products at the store that are intended for mold, mildew, and lime scale removal.  Always follow the label instructions because some products are very strong and corrosive. 

To prevent stains from coming back so often or if your bathroom is not well ventilated, then you may want to consider sealing your bathroom tiles.  Sealants can be purchased at any home improvement or hardware store.  Once seal the surface once it is completely clean and dry.  Allow the seal to dry according to the packaging instructions.  The seal should reduce the amount of times you will need to do heavy cleaning of the area.  A squeegee can be used to remove the water from the area daily and periodic cleaning with your cleanser of choice should do the trick.

How to Clean Tile Grout with Very Little Effort

Tile grout cleaning is necessary in order to keep your tiled surfaces looking clean and new.  Grout can be white or shaded depending on the builder’s or contractor’s choice.  If your grout is so dirty or stained that you cannot tell if it is white or colored, then you should do choose an inconspicuous area to do a test run of your choice of grout cleaner.  If you are afraid to damage your tiles or grout, try cleaning the surface and grout area with a baking soda paste first.  If baking soda does not get the surface clean enough for your liking then you should definitely move on to stronger cleansers.  If all else fails, white grout can be cleaned with bleach based products but never use bleach products on colored grout because it will discolor the surface.

Cleaning ceramic tile grout that is old or excessively stained can be a challenge.  Steam machines are expensive to purchase but they are very effective at lifting dirt, grime, and stains from mold or mildew.  Look for cleaning supply and equipment stores in your area to see if any offer steam cleaner rentals.  If you cannot find a rental company in your area then you may want to consider spending the extra money to hire a grout cleaning company.  The extra expense is well worth the time and labor savings.


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    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      These are great tips. The tile floor in our kitchen is welllll overdue for some TLC. We mop, but never really go at the grout, and it is now my task! I will definitely be using some of these tips - especially vinegar and water.

    • profile image

      grout cleaning 6 years ago

      great info for do it yourself. some good common sense

      ideas go a long way

    • cfleming1 profile image

      cfleming1 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the Hub Madison.

      Having just finished a major grout-touch-up-turned-major-deal I can honestly say I hate grout cleaning!

      I got a kick out of the You Tube video though - cleaning grout with a toothbrush reminded me of basic training punishment from long ago and far away. :-)