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How do I keep tile floor clean?

November 17, 2005

My kitchen counters and floor are tile. I cleaned the grout by hand today and it looks fine, at least for now.

I have read that cleaning a tile floor with water is wrong because it stains the grout (I think that was the reason given). Anyways, what should I do to keep the floor clean?

We are renting and I was very happy that there was tile. After living with it, though, I would never put tile in the kitchen in my own home. Although the house is only 2 years old, perhaps the grout wasn't sealed properly but I'm finding it really hard to keep clean.

Comments (27)
  • smom40

    I can tell you that in my own home, regardless of what the flooring is made of (wood/carpet/linoleum/tile), having my family take off their shoes when they enter makes a dramatic difference in keeping the dirt level down to a low roar. Sort of like 'if you don't get it dirty, I won't have to clean it" mentality.

    I do wash ceramic flooring, but I only have it in a couple bathrooms. Since there aren't any shoes that go in there, the visible dirt/grout cleaning is minimal.

    I'm sure that others here will have more to offer on the subject...

  • Barbara Olson

    Clean the heck out of your grout... Then seal it if you want to keep it clean. Since it is a rental, you may want to talk to the landlord before doing so. They may choose to do it or have it done themselves.

  • Maura63

    So -- how did (or do) you clean the grout?

    And how does one properly seal grout?

    The light grout on my 4 year old kitchen floor (never again) is in desperate need of a cleaning. I'm using Bonami and a toothbrush and this is very time consuming. I do a section at a time and so it is never all clean at once. I don't know if the grout was properly sealed. And is this something that needs to be reapplied periodically?

    If anyone has experience with this I'd appreciate all input!


    Maura :-)

  • Ina Plassa_travis

    grout sealant is sold at home depot. supposed to do it every year in places where it contacts water (kitchen, bath, etc)

    if you're cleaning your grout more than you're cleaning the floor- it's unsealed. sealing it really does make all the difference in the world.

  • marie26

    If I were to buy a "tile" floor, I would make it stone. We have tiles made of stone in the bathroom and it hides the dirt and is easy to clean. Perhaps the grout is sealed there because I don't have the problems I have with my kitchen tiles.

  • Joang_CA

    I have an off white tile floor with off white grout. I struggled for a couple of years trying to keep the grout clean looking, then I found a website thisoldgrout.com and got their grout stain/sealer. You order the color that matches your grout. It is some work the first time applying it with a tooth brush, but it restores the color and seals it. I think I did it again a year later and now after a couple of coats it seems to be sealed and I can just mop it. This product saved me from frustration.

  • Lynne_SJO

    Water does NOT "stain" grout. If it did, tile would never be used in showers and baths, but last time I looked, it was still one of the oldest and most common materials used for wet areas. Water temporarily darkens grout until it dries, just as wet clothing looks darker then after it has dried.

    We have light tile and medium grout through 100% of our house. The only place the grout ever looks dirty is under our rubber mat in the kitchen food prep area. For that, when it is really showing dirt, I use a tile cleaning detergent (special type of soap that you mix with hot water) and a Black and Decker Scum Buster -- a terrific hand-held device with different rotating brush attachments on it. Works great on tile and grout. I scrub and then wipe dry with an old rag.

    For day to day cleaning, I use a swiffer. For weekly or monthly cleaning I use a Hoover Floormate (washes, scrubs and dries) - looks like an upright vacuum but is for wet cleaning hard surface flooring. BUT the floormate does not reach most grout since the grout is normally not 100% level with the tile, but I knew this before buying the Floormate, as I was warned by the sales person.


  • glassquilt

    Hard water or soften water can leave a residue that looks like a stain if not wiped up.

  • lagatella

    If you go to any carpet/tile store they have a solution that you mix with water, wet and area then mop up with clear water. I wish I knew the name but it's great! Very easy to use with little or no scrubbing of the grout.

  • Jonesy

    I had it in my former home on the bathroom and entry floor but would not put it in our new home. I love the look of it, but talk about maintenance, wow. If I had choosen the dark grout it would have been ok, but didn't want to look like McD's floors.

  • jenathegreat

    I agree they probably need to be sealed. My tile floors are beige stone-look tiles with light brown grout - doesn't show dirt because it's the color of dirt and yet doesn't look like fast food floors because it matches the tile :p Despite having brown grout, we most definetly had it sealed as well.

    I don't think there's any other option but to seal it, then you can just mop and not worry.

  • teedup1

    Clean light colored grout with diluted Mr. Clean solution and toothbrush. Seal grout with a really good sealer--Aquamix 15 is a good one and costs between $80 and $100 per gallon. You do grout only, not the tile. It's invisible and only needs repeating every 7-10 years if you do it right.

  • gracie_girl

    DH & I laid tile in our Kitchen & FR a few years ago, and plan to do rest of house soon.

    DH sealed the grout twice, and we have never had a problem with staining or discoloring. And that's even with having an elderly dog with incontinence problems. So for any amount of tile, even the counters, annual sealing is a 'must do' and worth the cost & effort.

    For cleaning, I have used the tile cleaner we bought from our tile store, and I've also used Pine-Sol. They both work well. And for the nitty gritty cleaning, I have a small floor brush with a long handle. (no hands & knees) ;)

    Since we plan on tiling the whole house, I'd REALLY like to find something like the FloorMate to speed up cleaning. However, like mentioned above, I really want something that's going to clean the grout too. (Don't want build up).

    Anyone have any suggestions for large scale tile cleaning? Do you think a Janitorial Supply store might have something?

    Any help would be great!

    Gracie Girl :)

  • marie26

    Gracie, where did you get the small floor brush with a long handle?

  • mustangs81

    I have 450 SF of white grouted tile and it's a challenge. Finazzle spray has been the best grout cleaner I have found. Finally, my grocery store carries it.

    I just saw and add on TV that Stanley Steamer does grout cleaning. I contacted them yesterday about an estimate. I only used them once for carpet cleaning and I'm hesitant to use them but we will see.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Grout Cleaner

  • marie26

    Mustangs, thank you for the link to Finazzle. I have tried to find it where I live but to no avail. How big an area will one bottle cover?

  • gracie_girl


    I'm not 100% sure, but I think I got the brush at Lowes. Fortunately, I didn't take the label off. Here's what it says...
    "Quickie Professional #240" - "Deck Scrub" UPC/Barcode# 71798-00240. Quickie Mfg. Corp, PO BOX 156, Cinnaminson, NJ, 08077

    Also, I don't recall the price, but it couldn't have been too much, cuz I'm too cheap. LOL It's got white nylon bristles in a tan base, with a long yellow handle. Sorry, that's all I got. :) If you get one, hope you like it as much as I like mine.

    Hope this helps,
    Gracie Girl :)

  • lisad71

    I agree with Mustangs about the Finazzle. With 2000 sq ft of white tile w/white grout, I would have been shipped off to the looney bin without it!

    A bottle will last me a pretty long time because I will use it routinely to spot clean, but then I try to hit each room (the entire room) at least once a year. And like smom40's family, we don't wear shoes in the house. That makes a big difference in the amount of dirt that gets tracked in.

  • marie26

    Gracie Girl, I went to Lowe's last night with your description but this particular Lowe's doesn't carry it. They showed me another one with a similar barcode but it had a wide brush. How wide is your brush?

  • trulyblessedmum

    I have tile floors in my entrance way, hall, kitchen and dining room. Like many of you here, it was one of the features that I loved when I looked at the house, but that I would not want in a future house. No matter now many times I washed the floor, if you wore just socks and walked around on the tile, then your socks ended up super-dirty. Finally, in desperation, I scrubbed every inch of grout with a small brush. It definately looked much cleaner, but I still have the problem of the tile never being completely clean. It's ceramic tile, by the way. It's been about two years since I scrubbed all the grout thoroughly, and since I didn't know anything about sealing grout at the time, I'm wondering that if I was to seal the grout now, would I have to scrub it all again before sealing? Thanks, Lizzy.

  • gracie_girl


    The brush is approx. 9"x2.5". I like this size because it fits in the bucket just fine, and you have better control, especially when you need to apply pressure.

    Sorry to hear they didn't have the exact same one. We don't shop at Home Depot, so I know it wasn't purchsed there, but you might wanna try OSH or Home Depot if you don't have better luck at Lowe's.


    Personally speaking, I would clean the grout again before sealing. Although it would be a royal pain to do, you don't want to seal any dirt into the grout, thereby making your future cleaning efforts more difficult & unsatisfactory.

    Good Luck!
    Gracie Girl :)

  • marie26

    Thank you for responding. We are renting this place for only 1 more year and I don't want to tackle resealing the grout myself. The owners will most likely sell the house after we leave so I'm sure they wouldn't want to do it either. I'm just trying to keep it looking decent instead of so dirty.

    I love the look of tile but in the future if I should ever have the choice, I'd much rather have hardwood floors throughhout the whole house instead of tile and carpet.

  • carolpolki

    I have said this before and I will say it again. DIRTY water is what makes the grout stain. Clean water, of course, will not stain the grout. But if you use a mop with dirty water, it gets into the grout and stains it! So, don't use lots of (dirty) water on your tile! After sweeping or vacuuming, use a damp terry or micro cloth to wipe the floor. Wrap it around a Swiffer or facsimile. If you spill a liquid on the floor, wipe it up immediately with lots of clean water, before it has a chance to soak in. You won't have to seal your grout if you do this.

  • rebeccaw

    Ditto carolpolki. Years ago I couldn't figure out why my kitchen floor grout was getting so dirty. Two reasons, we hadn't sealed it and my mom was using a bucket of water - yes the water gets dirty and viola your grout stains. You are just moving dirty water around on the floor when you use a mop. I hated grout, and said that I would never have it again, until we put in over 700 square feet of floor a year and a half ago with fairly light grout. We have had no problems with staining because we sealed it right away. We just sweep and use dry and wet swifters - that's it. We have dogs and tile is more durable than wood.

  • suzanne_r

    I started to have tiles in my kitchen, then in my sunroom and will soon have my bathroom with tiles. Like trulyblessedmum, I could not for a while have the tiles completely clean, no matter how many times I rinsed the mop. They were not shining as they should, and yes, if you walked on them wearing socks, the socks would get dirty. But then I started to use Oxy Clean, a very versatile stain cleaner product (it is great to get stains off your clothes, even blood stains). I dissolve one and half or two measurefuls in four litres of hot water, wet the floor with it with a mop and leave it to work for 10 minutes. I then mop up the liquid (don't even need to scrub) and dry the floor with an old terry towel. The floor sparkles and any stains on the tiles or the grout are gone. The grout looks darker but reverts to its original colour when completely dry.


  • tony_conz_gmail_com

    I am having the same problem. I plan to use finazzle as suggested here, but I sealed the grout when we first put it in and it still got dirty and stained pretty quickly. I use the "shark" steam mop to clean my floors. Any ideas on how I can keep the grout clean?

  • samadond_aol_com


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