The Best Cleaning Solution for Tile Floors

The best cleaning solution for tile floors is almost ridiculously easy to mix and use, and affordable as well. A 50-50 mix of white distilled vinegar and water, with two added items to perfect the formula, takes care of tiles on the floor and can easily be applied to wall tiles as well. "Home brew" tile cleaner works as well or better than commercial cleaners, notes Consumer Reports and other expert sites.

cleaning the tiled floor with purple mop
credit: diawka/iStock/Getty Images
A clean tile floor is a thing of beauty.

Ingredients and Ratios

Pour vinegar into a spray bottle carefully, using a kitchen funnel if necessary. Stop when the spray bottle is slightly under half full -- for a typical 24-ounce spray bottle, this will be just under 12 ounces. Slowly add water until just below the top of the bottle, leaving head room for two more ingredients. Add one squeeze of liquid dish detergent and -- optional but recommended -- a few drops of citrus essence, such as orange, lemon or lime, or even wintergreen or another smell you enjoy.

Mixing the Solution

Twist on the sprayer cap tightly, and gently turn the spray bottle upside down and right side up multiple times until you see by the even mixing of the dish detergent's green, blue, yellow or other color that the contents have blended.

Equipment Needed

A sweeper/mop works well to apply and remove the solution. Apply a dry sweeper/mop cloth onto the pad by pressing its edges, with your thumb or index finger, into the four gripper openings. A microfiber large enough to wrap around the pad works as well or better, and you can clean it and reuse it repeatedly. You can hold the loose flaps of a large microfiber cloth above the pad with rubber bands.

If you already have a string mop or sponge mop, you can alternatively use these.

The Process

Vacuum or sweep the tile floor first to get rid of loose material. Spray an area about 2 feet square with your cleaning solution and mop up the liquid with the sweeper/mop. In warm weather, the solution will quickly dry on its own. If you need immediate reuse of the tiled room or the weather is cold, wipe the floor dry with a shine mop or old, fluffy bath towel, which you can place on the floor and walk on, pushing it across the floor, to dry off the solution.

Stains and Other Situations

  • For stains, Consumer Reports recommends applying Pine Sol Original. Dilute 1/4 cup in a gallon of water, apply and rinse immediately, especially if you are cleaning rubber tiles.
  • If you have rubber tiles in the kitchen to battle leg fatigue, degrease these with a mild detergent mixed with water.
  • Avoid using bleach, since it's not necessary for tile cleaning.
  • Buy vinegar in 1-gallon size for better economy.
  • Rinse your sweeper/mop microfiber cloth, squeeze it out and turn it over to cover a bigger area. Rinse the dirt off the cloths in the sink before washing, and wash separately from other laundry, using an oxygen cleaner.