How to clean tile floors – expert tips for a streak-free shine

Wondering how to clean tile floors the professional way? This is the method behind a simple, spotless clean

How to clean tile floors
(Image credit: Future/James Balston)

Knowing how to clean tile floors is a chore that many homeowners face – especially in the bathroom and kitchen, where tiles are used most frequently. However, whilst cleaning floors without streaks may seem easy, cleaning tiled floors requires a slightly specialized result. And the streak-free results will leave you with a transformed space that is always worth the effort. 

If you're looking for a simple yet transformative way to achieve a streak-free shine on a tiled floor, then these cleaning tips will leave you with a spotless finish that experts love. 

How to clean tile floors – a quick method for a streak-free finish 

Yellow bathroom ideas with yellow basin and floor tiles

(Image credit: Future)

If you're already a professional at cleaning a window or cleaning a mirror without streaks, then you'll be pleased to know that knowing cleaning tile floors is relatively similar. This is because the process of eliminating streaks involves a technique that is the same on all these surfaces. 

The secret is in the equipment you choose and the method you use. Here's what you need to know. 

1. Invest in a microfiber mop 

'Though they may appear to be identical, each style of mop has a distinct cleaning function,' says Gladys Connelly, a cleaning expert from The House Wire

'Sponge mops, for example, are perfect for cleaning minor spills and stains, but cotton string mops can clean vast rooms. Spin mops can also remove stubborn stains, but microfiber mops are incredibly absorbent and a good choice for cleaning tiles.'

2. Choose the correct cleaning agent  

'The key to blemish tile flooring is to use the appropriate cleaning solution. You can either buy a specialized cleaner designed for wiping tile floors or make your own cleaning solution,' Gladys says.

She goes on to explain that you can clean with vinegar by mixing 12 cups with a liter of warm water, though you may want to test this carefully first if you are cleaning encaustic tiles or cleaning stone floors. For porcelain and ceramic tile floors, however, it's important that your cleaner isn't too weak or overly concentrated – as an overly concentrated solution is likely to leave streaks or residue behind.

Mistakes to avoid when buying tiles

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

3. Master your mopping technique 

When it comes to cleaning floor tile, your technique is one of the most effective things you can do to guarantee a streak-free finish. Gladys suggests dipping a mop in the cleaning fluid before wringing off the remaining fluid and mopping the floors in a figure-eight pattern. 

'Turn your mop on the surface exposed when one side becomes dirty. When both sides of the mop are dirty, though, make sure you wash it. Otherwise, instead of cleaning the room, you'll be dispersing dirt around it,' the expert says.

Gladys adds that you should be careful to rinse your mop often, as it is likely to leave blotchy stains after it gets dirty. 'In domestic settings, both jute string mops & microfiber mops (such as this one on Amazon) are ideal for cleaning tile floors,' she adds. 

vivid yellow hallway with wooden sideboard and geometric tiled floor

(Image credit: Polly Wreford / Claudia Bryant)

4. Guarantee a streak-free clean for tile floors

To ensure a streak-free finish, cleaning expert Andrew Gaugler from Best of Machinery suggests drying your floor with a microfiber cloth to ensure no water marks are left behind. 'Leave it to dry completely before using it. You can enjoy your streak-free floor for the next few days,' Andrew adds. 

Now you know how to clean tile floors; the only thing left to do is invest in the right tools for the job.

Will vinegar damage floor tile?

Using vinegar to clean floor tile should be done with caution; some tile is among the things not to clean with vinegar

Vinegar won't damage porcelain or ceramic, but it could, if applied as a strong solution, damage natural stone, such as marble, terracotta or granite, or original encaustic tile found in period homes. To clean stone floors and clean encaustic tiles, you will want to invest in specialist tile cleaning products to achieve a streak-free shine.

How do you clean tile floors to make them shine?

Assuming you are cleaning porcelain or ceramic floor tile, the best way to achieve a shine is to wash them with a mixture 12 cups with a liter of warm water. Or you can buy a specialist floor tile cleaner that suits your tile's material. Apply the cleaning solution in a figure of eight motion, cleaning and wringing the mop as it lifts dirt. Floor tiles can then be buffed to a shine with microfiber cloths.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.