How To Clean Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Floors

(Image credit: Cat Meschia)

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are among the most popular options for kitchen floors because they’re durable, stain-resistant, and low-maintenance (and relatively inexpensive, too). The good news: They’re less porous than wood, so you don’t have to worry so much about immediately wiping up spills. The bad news: You probably neglect them more than you would a more finicky floor, so they’re likely pretty dirty by the end of the week!

Porcelain and ceramic tiles can be glazed, meaning they’ve been fired with a glass-like coating that makes them even more durable, or unglazed, which means they’re a little more porous. Make sure you know what kind of tile you have before cleaning it, as some store-bought cleansers can damage unglazed tile. (Our solution should be totally safe for both, but we still suggest trying a test spot.)

Here’s how to clean ceramic and porcelain tile floors.

How To Clean Porcelain and Ceramic Tiled Floors

What You Need

  • Broom & dust pan
  • Vinegar or Castile soap
  • Hot water
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber mop and mop pads
  • 5 to 10 drops essential oil (like orange, mint, or lavender; optional)


  1. Give the floor a sweep: Before cleaning your floor, give it a thorough sweep to remove debris and dust. Make sure to get all the way to the edges next to cabinets and walls, as that’s where kitchen debris tends to accumulate.
  2. Make the cleaning solution: Mix the vinegar and water (a 1:1 ratio) in your spray bottle; add essential oil if desired. Seal it and shake it thoroughly to mix up the cleanser. If your floors are unsealed, skip the vinegar and use 1 teaspoon of castile soap instead.
  3. Try a test spot: The first time you use it, test the cleanser in a discreet spot, like a corner under a cabinet, to make sure it doesn’t harm the floor.
  4. Start spritzing: Starting from the cabinet furthest from the door you’ll want to exit out of, spritz the cleaning mixture onto a small area of the floor (about a square yard). You want the floor to be damp, but not wet, to avoid getting too much dirty water into the grout.
  5. Scrub: Scrub in the cleanser with a lightly dampened microfiber mop, going left and right, then up and down, to get across the tiles and into the grout.
  6. Keep going: Continue working in small patches, from the farthest part of the room to the area you’ll exit out of. If your microfiber pad gets really dirty, switch it out for a new one, or rinse it out, squeeze out as much moisture as you can, and reapply it as necessary.
  7. Refill your spray bottle with water: Once you’ve done the whole floor, empty your spray bottle and refill it with fresh water (no vinegar).
  8. Wipe the floor again: Using a fresh, damp microfiber pad, go over the floor again, as before, with just plain water this time, to remove any remaining vinegar or castile soap.
  9. Let the tile dry: When you’re done, give the floor (and especially the grout) at least a half hour to dry before walking on it again to avoid tracking in new dirt.