How To Clean Floor Tiles

How To Clean Floor Tiles

Tile flooring in the home has continued to be a popular choice in 2022, with good reason. 

Tile flooring can last decades providing long term cost savings whilst still looking brand new with regular maintenance. 

Tiles are a low maintenance option and hygienic; they resist bacteria, allergens and dust mites and require fewer chemicals and detergents to clean when compared to carpet, laminate or wood.

Lastly, tiles have a reduced impact on the environment when compared to carpets or laminate with no VOCs created during construction.

That being said, tile floors don’t clean themselves and can get dull and dirty without regular cleaning. In this article, we describe the best ways to clean the various floor tiles out there:

  • Ceramic
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum
  • Stone

A vacuum cleaner is essential to maintain floor tiles, we have a wide selection of uprights, cordless and cylinder vacuum cleaners which can all clean hard floors.

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How to clean ceramic tiles

ceramic tile

Ceramic tiles are hard, non-porous, water resistant and easy to clean and maintain making them popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms. Here’s a quick guide on how to clean your ceramic tiles

  1. Clear the room of furniture or make it so you can reach every area. It’s also useful to plan your ceramic tile cleaning session when there will be restricted traffic in the area until you are finished
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner and/or a dustpan and brush to remove all loose dirt and debris
  3. Run a steam mop across the floor starting at the furthest point and working your way backwards towards the door so that you don’t need to tread on the cleaned parts. Alternatively, you can use a traditional mop and bucket with hot water mixed with vinegar or dish soap.
  4. For stubborn and difficult to remove dirt, rest the steam mop on the area for a few seconds or loosen with a sponge and run the steam mop over again
  5. Dry with a clean cloth to prevent water spots or just allow to air dry.

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How often should ceramic tiles be deep cleaned?

Ceramic tiles do not need any detergents to be cleaned if you have a steam mop which means a deep clean can be done 1-2 times a week. 

You can extend the time between cleans by cleaning spills and messes as soon as they happen and by vacuuming regularly. 

A cordless vacuum cleaner is ideal for homes with a lot of ceramic tiles as they are convenient to pick up and go.

How to clean vinyl/linoleum tiles

vinyl tiles

Vinyl floor tiles look fantastic and are easy to install. Offering water resistance, easy maintenance and a long life, vinyl flooring is an ever popular choice of floor in the home. Here’s a quick guide on how to keep vinyl tiles looking brand new

  1. Vacuum the floor to remove any loose debris and dirt. Vinyl floors are tough but they can scratch so regular vacuuming with a cordless or upright is recommended in between the deep cleans. Always ensure the soft anti scratch pads on the vacuum cleaner are in good condition and replace if needed.
  2. Steam cleaners can penetrate vinyl so it’s best to stick with a mop and bucket. For vinyl, you should use hot water with vinegar and specifically made vinyl floor detergent. To know which to use, consult the cleaning instructions that came with your vinyl tiles. 
  3. Mop the floor evenly, rinsing and wringing out the mop every so often. We recommend a microfibre based mop as it picks up more dirt and has anti-scratch properties.
  4. With vinyl floors, we don’t want any standing water which can penetrate inside. Instead, dry with microfibre towels.

microfibre cloth

How often should vinyl/linoleum tiles be deep cleaned?

As you shouldn’t use a steam cleaner on this type of floor tile, and detergent should be used with a mop, deep cleaning shouldn’t be done too regularly. 

We recommend cleaning spills up as they happen, vacuum clean regularly and do a deep clean once a month for homes without pets and too much traffic and once every fortnight for homes with pets and high traffic.

How to clean natural stone tiles

stone tiles

Stone tiles offer natural and rustic beauty to a home. They are the real deal and often the whole house decor is designed around this type of floor. However, cleaning natural stone tiles does require some specific techniques. Here’s a brief guide:

  1. Vacuum clean with a soft brush attachment or use a traditional broom often - we recommend daily. This is to ensure that any loose debris doesn't roll and cause further damage to the floors.
  2. Use a handheld vacuum cleaner, cordless vacuum cleaner in handheld mode or a small dusting brush to get into the gaps between the stone tiles.
  3. Remove spills immediately as they happen to prevent permanent staining.
  4. Steam cleaners are not suitable for natural stone floors, for a deep clean use a mop and bucket. For the water mixture, clean hot water is recommended with a neutral detergent.
  5. Avoid using any acidic additive at all costs, this can wear down the stone over time. Check the ingredients before use.
  6. After cleaning, dry with a microfibre cloth or allow it to air dry.

How often should stone tiles be deep cleaned?

The most important factor in stone tile maintenance is whether or not they are sealed - stone tiles should be sealed every 2-3 years. If they are sealed then mopping with hot water and mild acid-free detergent should be done every 1-2 weeks.

You can extend the time between cleans by vacuuming/brushing regularly and clearing up spills immediately. 

Floor Tile Cleaning FAQs

Why is vinegar used to clean floor tiles?

Vinegar is made from acetic acid which is strong enough to break down grease and grime and kill some bacteria but mild enough to be fine on skin when used to clean. The specific vinegar people tend to use to clean is white distilled vinegar.

Its acidic quality is the reason it is not recommended on natural floors such as stone, marble and slate.

Some household name cleaners have acid, but buying white vinegar separately is significantly cheaper and often more than enough.

Can you steam clean all floor tiles?

It is not recommended to use steam to clean vinyl, linoleum and natural stone tiles as the water can penetrate into the material or stone.

What is a mild detergent?

A mild detergent is a cleaning agent which doesn’t include bleach or harsh chemicals derived from petroleum. Mild detergents only contain surfactants to dissolve the grease and dirt but nothing stronger to kill bacteria and germs.

Mild detergents can contain acid but at a low %.