Homekeeping Hints: How To Clean, Fix & Maintain Tile Floors

updated May 5, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

You have a new tile floor, and it’s gleaming and gorgeous. Or maybe you have a 70-year-old checkerboard floor that could use some TLC. Either way, this list of tips can help you maintain your floor for years to come. 

  1. This may be common sense, but dirt can easily scratch tile surfaces so it’s important to keep your floor clean by regularly sweeping or vacuuming it. A little preventative manintenance goes a long way.

  2. Mop once a week.  For most floors, a solution of 1/4 cup of Castile soap (Like Dr. Bronner’s) and 2 gallons warm water will work. For marble floors, which can dull with the regular use of detergent, try a very diluted, mild solution of dishwashing soap and water.  

  3. Another great cleaning solution, especially for greasy floors, is a mix of distilled white vinegar and warm water. Don’t use this solution on marble floors, however, since the vinegar will erode them. 

  4. Make the grout look shiny and new. After mopping, make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub the paste into the grout using an old toothbrush (electric ones work great) and rinse off.  If the stains are really bad, you can apply plain baking soda, add a bit of distilled white vinegar, and let the solution sit for an hour before you begin scrubbing.  

  5. If you’re serious about your shiny floors, consider dry mopping with a Shine Mop after you’re done wet mopping. 

  6. If you have an older waxed floor that suffering from wax build up, then it’s time to strip and rewax it. Make your own cleaning solution by mixing 3/4 cup of ammonia with 1 cup of laundry detergent and 1 gallon of warm water.  Mop the floor with the solution, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then clean with a scrubbing sponge or stiff scrub brush. Rinse the floors with clean water, let dry, and apply new wax. 

  7. Have a scratched tile? If it goes all the way to the white part of the tile, you’ll have to replace the tile. If not, you can probably buff it out. If your tiles are porcelain or ceramic, you can buy a scratch repair kit. You can also try using a small bit of either toothpaste or brass polish. Rub into the floor using a soft cloth and circular motions, then rinse. If the floors are laminate, take a trip to the hardware store and try either a wax pencil or silicone putty to repair. If you have minor cracks in a marble floor, you’ll need acetone and epoxy — try these directions for help. 

  8. Have a broken tile? Don’t despair — follow this easy tutorial from This Old House to repair and replace it. 

(Image: Adrienne Breaux/Sam & Anne’s Colorful Modern Mix)