All tile gets dirty sometimes, whether it's from mud and grime getting tracked across a floor or from water spots on the shower wall. But the great thing about porcelain and glazed ceramic tile is that these materials are quite possibly the easiest to clean and the hardest to permanently stain because they're nearly impervious to dirt, mold and water. Even so, there are some things you should know before cleaning porcelain tile in order to make sure your tiles and grout are protected.

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How to Clean Porcelain Tile

Basic Cleaning Procedures

On a twice-weekly basis, sweep or vacuum your porcelain or ceramic glazed tiles to remove any loose dust or debris.

Once or twice a month, you should perform a deeper cleaning. Start by sweeping or vacuuming the tile, then pour either porcelain tile cleaner (always use according to manufacturer instructions) or 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 gallons of hot water into a bucket. Saturate the floor with the cleaning solution, let it sit for a few minutes to loosen any stuck-on grime, then use a bucket of water and a mop to wipe the floor clean. If you're cleaning a shower wall, simply follow the same procedure, only with a regular sponge instead of a mop. You can use a commercial cleanser as well, but vinegar and hot water combine to make the best shower cleaner for those looking to avoid dangerous chemicals.

For More Stubborn Stains

To combat stubborn stains, use a flooring machine equipped with an abrasive pad or a stiff nylon-bristle brush or scrub brush to scour the floor by hand. Use the same cleaning solution you normally use and always wipe and rinse away the solution with a wet mop, sponge or wet vacuum. Avoid using steel wool as tiles can be scratched by the material and small fragments can be left on the grout, which may cause rust stains.

Avoiding Water Spots

If you have particularly hard water and want to make your porcelain tile shine, you'll want to prevent water spots from forming on your newly cleaned tiles. You can do this by either drying the surface as soon as you clean it or by using distilled water to rinse the cleanser from your tile, which will dry spot free.

Protecting Floor Tile Colors

While porcelain and glazed ceramic are fairly impervious to stains, you still need to be wary of things that may damage your grout or tiles. If you spill something on the tile, wipe it up immediately. Don't allow cleaning solutions to dry on your porcelain tiles as this may result in streaked tiles and even stained grout. This is why you should always work in small sections at a time while cleaning the tiles.

Never use ammonia, bleach or acid, or cleansers that contain these, to clean tiles as these may alter grout color. Also avoid using any cleaning products with dyes on unglazed tile, although these are fine on glazed surfaces. Finally, avoid the use of oil-based products on the tiles as they can create an oily layer.