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How to Clean Porcelain Tile Floors Without Streaks (6 Easy Steps)

A collage of different gleaming porcelain floors with cleaning tools.

A few of my friends have actually asked me how I manage to keep my porcelain tile floor clean. The problem with porcelain tile flooring is when it gets dirty, it can look awful. It loses its sheen and the grime discolors the grout lines. It’s a shame because when clean, these types of floors shine and sparkle.

Which means… it’s a good idea to keep them clean, whether it’s the floor, shower wall, bathroom backsplash or wherever you have porcelain tile.

That’s what I want to discuss today… how to clean your porcelain tile floors so they sparkle and shine again.

I have perfected the art of cleaning my porcelain tiles; I set out each step below.

First of all, you need to have the right equipment.

A. Equipment for cleaning porcelain tiles

  • Detergent (it could be vinegar, all-purpose household cleaner or porcelain cleaner),
  • Bucket,
  • Mop,
  • Vacuum cleaner/ broom,
  • Water,
  • Soft brush and sponge, and
  • Large towel /rubber squeezer/ wet vacuum.

B. Cleaning Steps

Once you have all the above, you can get started cleaning the tile floor

1. Vacuum/ sweep the floor

Vacuum cleaner for tiles flooring.

It is very important to get rid of dirt and debris on the floor. If you just went ahead and mopped the floor with the dirt, yes, it would look clean but not as bright as it should be because you will be rubbing dirt into the tiles. Debris too like sand or anything hard is able to leave scratches on the floor if it is not removed before mopping.

My tool of choice is a vacuum cleaner, and not just any vacuum cleaner but a vacuum cleaner for tile floors. You may opt to use a broom as well but that takes time and it may not be able to get dirt in ridges and in the corners while a vacuum cleaner will suck up just about everything off the floor.

2. Apply detergent

I am all for green cleaning so I would recommend using vinegar, after all, it is cheaper. Mix a quarter a cup of vinegar with 2 gallons of hot water and then use a sponge or a mop to apply it onto the floor. Make sure to cover every inch of the floor with this solution and then let it set in there for about 15 minutes. You can choose to use porcelain tile cleaner, which you will have to follow the instructions that come with it on how to mix it to ensure it is not too concentrated.

3. Scrub

A bucket and a sponge for cleaning floors.

After the detergent has set, it is time to scrub the floor. What you will use for this will depend on how dirty the floor is. If you have stains and black marks on the grout, then you will need a soft brush, if it is regular dirt, then you will use a sponge mop. I usually concentrate on small spaces at a time.

Focusing on small spaces ensures nothing gets left out so scrub each porcelain tile until it looks spotless and then move on to the next. Use a soft brush on the ridges between the tiles to ensure there are no black marks left behind. I will emphasize that you use a soft brush because a hard one will end up scratching the tiles and that provides spaces for tiny dirt particles to hide.

If you are cleaning an entire home, it is advisable again to focus on small spaces at a time to ensure that the detergent does not dry up so for example you should do the kitchen and follow these steps to the end before you go to the living room and do the same with the living room before you move on to the next room.

4. Dry the floor

Once every inch of the floor in the particular area is covered, you will need to dry the floor to get rid of the dirty water. Use the large towel for this or if you have a wet vacuum, that would be even better and faster. You can also use a rubber squeezer to push the water and dirt to a drain or a collection area where you can suck it up with a towel or wet vacuum.

5. Rinse the floor

Spray bottle for cleaning porcelain tile floors.

This is a step I know some people skip in the name of letting the detergent disinfect the floor, or they are just plain lazy, but it should never be skipped because the detergent can affect how bright the floor looks and there may still be some dirt in there that will dry and again affect the brightness of the tiles so by all means, please rinse the floor. Fill a bucket with clean water and using a clean mop or sponge, wipe the tiles to remove any detergent or dirt that may have remained.

6. Dry the floor again

A mop and a bucket for cleaning floors.Just like you did after scrubbing, you will have to dry the floor again using the method you find best. Personally, a wet vac would do the trick best.

So that is how I get my porcelain floor tiles to look sparkling and I hope this will help you as well. Here are some extra tips to ensure your tiles are easier to clean.

C. Cleaning Tips

  • Never let a spill on the floor dry up because that is usually how stains will come about. If you wipe them while they are wet, they cannot stain the floor.
  • Always have a doormat at the door and encourage everyone to use it before they walk over the floor because sand under the shoes can scratch the floor and that cannot be cleaned.
  • After cleaning, give it about 15 to 20 minutes before you let people start walking over the floor, this will ensure the floor is dry, alternatively, you can use a blower or hair dryer to dry the floor after using a towel or wet vacuum.
  • If the tiles are polished, use half the amount of detergent I recommended for the cleaning solution and rinse it off as quickly as possible ensuring no detergent is left on the floor.
  • If you have a steam cleaner, that is also a good option for porcelain tile floors and you just have to add a little white vinegar to the water you will be using.
  • Never neglect the space between the tiles, or it will become very black.

While you may not be able to mop the tiles the way I recommend every day, you should at least vacuum or sweep them every day so that it is a lot easier when you are cleaning them. A robot vacuum could be a good option to vacuum while you do other things.