Tips on Cleaning Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are the preferred floor tiles today.

Homeowners choose porcelain tiles mainly because they are beautiful. Porcelain comes in a veritable range of hues.

Plus the material prevents dirt from penetrating and is stain and moisture resistant. That’s because porcelain is made of unique elements that form a low-order glass.

Moreover, porcelain tiles typically have a harder glaze and are much denser than ceramic floor tiles.

These qualities come from their specialised manufacturing process that utilises higher temperatures and finer clays plus a mineral component.

Though they lose their lustre over time, porcelain flooring tiles can be easily cleaned and restored to their original sheen.

What you should know about porcelain tile

Porcelain tiles have a low porosity value which makes them resistant to dirt. But this is limited to keeping dirt and grime on the surface, stuck     until you remove it. And even if it seems clean, remember that e particles or dirt sometimes can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Be extra wary of cement particles on the tile, as this may serve as anchor for other dirt particles.

So if you want to retain the pristine look of a newly installed tile, you may want to use an acid-based scale remover such as Cem-Free to remove unseen deposits immediately after tile installation.

This once off application will effervesce and help raise any cement residue off the surface.

How to apply Cem-Free

Dilute the scale remover in the ratio of between 1:5 and 1:10 depending on how much dirt is on the surface.

Apply the solution with an applicator (brush), scrub the surface with a suitable body brush and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.

Just before you rinse, briskly scrub again to remove all traces of cement. Use the squeegee method or wet/dry vacuum to remove the dirt.

You could also use rinse it with water to avoid traces of residue. .

When the tiles have dried, re-apply the solution to areas that appear to have grey or white residue. Be sure to maintain the recommended mix ratio.

Before choosing a cleaning agent…

Notice that:

  • It is  important to know what type of chemical cleaning agent is best for the porcelain tiled surface. The correct chemical cleaner will help maintain the original appearance of your tile.
  • Cleaning porcelain tiles means cleaning grout as well. But the two have different material and chemical compositions, thus they react differently to cleaning agents.
  • The characteristic light colouring and porous nature of grout It makes it more prone to staining.

Diluents such as Thinnes, Turpentine, Benzine, Chloric Acid, Acetone, Phosphoric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide will readily wipe out paint stains, fat, wine, vinegar, nail polish and similar pigments from the porcelain tile surface but less so from the grout which is porous.

  • While porcelain tiles are essentially acid resistant with the exception of Hydrofluoric, acidic cleaners actually damage the grout over time.

The right cleaning agent

pH matters when choosing a chemical to clean  porcelain tiles. So too does the amount of ammonia in the cleaning liquid.

Avoid using local cleaning liquids such as Sunlight Liquid, Handy Andy or Domestos when cleaning porcelain tiles.

Too much ammonia as a constituent of the cleaning liquid or a high pH (alkaline) cleaner will greatly attract dirt. And if you do not rinse them off fully they will continue to attract dirt.

Low pH cleaners (acidic) are not recommended either. Avoid acidic products like vinegar or bleach. They tend to etch natural stone and will damage the grout with time.

You can flag an acidic cleaning product by checking for warnings on the container that you wear gloves on your hands and a mask.

My recommendation of the right cleaning agent is therefore a pH neutral product. Options here include Pinesol, Mr. Clean, Lysol or Spic & Span.

Always stick with the cleaners with a neutral pH.


  • Use the right equipment

Professional cleaners often use industrial cleaning machines that run at high temperatures and pressure. Water from the machine will often come out at temperatures of up to 210 degrees.

In cleaning your house however, you may not  have a steam cleaner. Nonetheless, use hot water. The hotter the water, the more effective it will be as a cleaning agent.

And for a badly soiled floor, I’d recommend that you get an industrial single disc cleaning machine. Single disc machines are common in many Australian homes and you can get yours in Sydney at an affordable price.


  • Observe the correct procedure

Start by spraying a citrus based emulsifier. This cleaning agent will soak  the grout and help break oil deposits and dirt that accumulated over time.

Only do this however, on extremely dirty surfaces.

After emulsification, go over the area with your single disc machine, scrub the surface thoroughly and vacuum the grime off the floor.

Rinse with a mop dampened with your chosen pH neutral cleaning solution.

Put some of the cleaning solution into a spray bottle and quickly spray-and-wipe it on the floor.

Since porcelain tiles are stain and water resistant, they are easy to maintain. You don’t even need cleaners or chemicals. All you need is warm water to keep them clean.

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