Tile, often used in kitchens and bathrooms, is waterproof, durable, relatively easy to clean, and attractive. Yes, you can use an all-purpose cleaner to keep tile looking sharp, but to thoroughly clean, polish, and protect tile, use a specialty cleaner.
Tile is made from different materials, many of which have specific cleaning needs. Ceramic and porcelain tile are smooth and require minimal maintenance, but coarse tile—such as slate, marble, granite, and limestone—requires the best tile-cleaning product available to cleanse and protect it.
When you clean tile, also clean the grout, which is the space filler between laid tiles. When grout is dingy, even freshly cleaned tile looks dirty. Learn how to clean grout, too.
This guide explores several considerations to keep in mind as you shop for a tile cleaner. Review a selection of some of the best tile cleaners on the market today to keep the tile surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom sparkling clean.
- BEST OVERALL: Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash
- BEST FOR NATURAL STONE: Black Diamond Stoneworks MARBLE & TILE FLOOR CLEANER
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner
- BEST FOR BATHROOMS: Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner Spray with Bleach
- BEST MULTIPURPOSE: Sheiner’s All Purpose Cleaner and Floor Cleaner
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tile Cleaner
If cared for properly, tile can last a lifetime. Because it’s waterproof and attractive, tile is a popular surface for flooring, backsplashes, and bathtub and shower surrounds. However, the location of the tile and its material determine the right type of cleaner to use. Each material has guidelines for cleaning and care to consider when picking the best tile cleaner.
In general, tile is tough, but some materials are more susceptible to scratches and stains. While many popular tile cleaners won’t harm ceramic, porcelain, or any tile with a protective coating, shoppers should pick the tile cleanser that’s specifically formulated for the material.
Most multipurpose cleaners will not harm the surface. However, when cleaning natural stone tile, avoid cleaners with acidic ingredients because they can damage the surface. Avoid using cleaners with abrasives on glass and acrylic tile because they can scratch the surface.
Tile cleaners are often classified according to their cleaning effects. Many products are multifunctional and can rid a tile surface of a wide variety of stains. However, some are more effective at removing mold, while others are made to brighten both the tile and the grout. Many people keep more than one tile cleanser on hand to target specific purposes.
Tile cleaners typically fall into these categories:
- Maintenance/daily cleaning: To keep tile cleaner for a longer time, these tile cleaners cut through residue from soap and shampoo before they can dry on tile.
- Grout: This type of tile cleaner targets tough stains in grout and other porous surfaces.
- Hard water: These tile cleaners remove lime stains from hard water, mineral deposits, and rust.
- Mildew/mold: This kind of tile cleaner contains ingredients that kill both types of fungi that are commonly found in moisture-rich areas, including kitchens and bathrooms.
Because it’s durable, most tile can handle vigorous scrubbing. However, if not used properly, the ingredients in tile cleaners can wear away the tile’s protective layer. To preserve the surface and prevent discoloration, use a tile cleaner with the appropriate ingredients. Tile cleaners are available in natural/organic and chemical formulas.
Natural tile cleaners are made with organic materials with stain-lifting properties, such as citrus oils, baking soda, and vinegar, which are friendlier to the environment. However, natural tile cleaner may not be as effective at removing stubborn stains as a chemical-based tile cleaner.
Chemical tile cleaners are made with synthetic materials designed to effectively remove stains, debris, and hard-water deposits from tile surfaces. However, many of these ingredients are strong and can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs if not used in a well-ventilated area.
Tile cleaners also are classified based on the type of application or format. Typically, tile cleaners come in these forms:
- Liquid: Dispensed in a convenient spray bottle, these cleaners are available in a variety of strengths and scents. The ingredients vary depending on purpose.
- Foam: These tile cleaners contain an added foaming agent. When sprayed on the tile, small bubbles form that extend the ingredients to cover more tiles and lengthen the amount of time the ingredients stay on the tiles.
- Gel: This type of tile cleaner is concentrated to apply it directly to targeted areas, such as grout. Gel tile cleaners typically come in bottles with narrow tips or in pen form.
- Powder: These tile cleaners are abrasive and renowned for their stain-busting abilities. To use a powder cleaner, add a little water to form a paste before applying it. These cleaners require a bit of elbow grease to effectively remove stains and grime.
Our Top Picks
Taking into account the above considerations, these top picks reflect a selection of some of the best tile cleaners available today in a variety of categories to clean, shine, and protect kitchen and bathroom tile.
Bona’s Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner is formulated and safe for sealed tile, stone, laminate, and other hard surfaces, including ceramic, sealed natural stone, terrazzo, and marble. Its pH-neutral formula dries fast; is residue-free; and is safe for people, pets, and the planet. This liquid cleaner is GREENGUARD GOLD certified to improve indoor air quality. It’s also a rinse-free cleaner that effectively removes dust, dirt, and grime without stickiness or streaks.
The water-based cleaner comes ready to use in a 32-ounce bottle; just spray it on the floor and then mop, no rinsing required. However, it’s best for regular maintenance cleaning, not stain removal. Pair this cleaner with a targeted stain remover.
Vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner by itself, but this vinegar-based floor cleaner from Aunt Fannie’s takes the humble kitchen essential to a whole new level at an affordable price. This cleaner has a vinegar base and also contains plant-based ingredients and essential oils that break down dirt, food, grease, and grime without leaving a sticky residue. Since it’s nontoxic, the cleanser is safe for people and pets. Earning an “A” from the Environmental Working Group, it’s not harmful to the environment.
The 32-ounce bottle of liquid cleaner is a concentrate, so make sure to dilute it prior to use. Mix ½ cup of cleaner with 2 gallons of water, and mop it on ceramic tile and other hard surfaces like hardwood, bamboo, vinyl, and laminate. It has a strong vinegar and essential oil smell that dissipates as the floor dries. Choose from eucalyptus, mint, lavender, lemon, and mandarin scents.
Black Diamond Stoneworks MARBLE & TILE FLOOR CLEANER is part of the manufacturer’s premium line of natural stone and tile cleaners. Many household cleaners, especially those that are acid-based, can dull or damage natural stone surfaces. This cleaner is designed specifically for natural stone, so it safely lifts dirt, dust, spills, grease, and stains from granite, marble, quartz, and other natural stone surfaces—even brick.
The liquid cleaner comes as a 32-ounce biodegradable concentrate; simply mix 2 to 4 ounces with 1 gallon of water, and then mop. It’s hypoallergenic, streak-free, and safe for people and pets—and it has a fresh smell. The manufacturer notes that some floors may require rinsing after use.
Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner is made from natural ingredients that dissolve mold, mildew, soap scum, hard-water stains, and mineral deposits on tile, grout, and almost any other bathroom surface. This two-pack of 32-ounce plant-based cleaner leaves a fresh scent without the use of synthetic fragrances. It’s nontoxic, ensuring safe use for people and pets.
The liquid cleaner must be rinsed, and it shouldn’t be used on marble or granite tile surfaces. It’s safe for ceramic, porcelain, fiberglass, and acrylic tile surfaces.
Bathrooms are humid environments, which makes them a logical place for mold to grow, especially on both tile and grout surfaces. Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner Spray is a bleach-based formula that is effective at removing mold, mildew, soap scum, and limescale. It’s safe for use on all nonporous surfaces, including tile.
The 32-ounce spray bottle features a trigger handle, and the cleaner needs only 30 seconds to dissolve dirt and grime from bathroom surfaces. It also kills up to 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. Since the cleaner contains bleach, it has a strong odor and should be used only in a well-ventilated room.
This pH-neutral all-purpose, multisurface professional liquid cleaner from Sheiner’s is suitable for use on a variety of hard surfaces, including marble, granite, vinyl, linoleum, and stained concrete. It eliminates both tough stains and odors.
This 1-gallon container is a liquid concentrate; mix 1 ounce with 1 gallon of water and mop or wipe with no need to rinse. Although it’s a professional-grade product, the lavender-scented cleaner is nontoxic. It does not contain dangerous chemicals or abrasive cleaning agents, permitting safe use around people and pets.
FAQs About Tile Cleaners
This list of some of the best tile cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom provides a lot of information, but you may still have some questions about application and ingredients. Keep reading to find some of the most frequently asked questions on properly cleaning tile.
Q. What’s the best thing to use to clean tile?
No matter the type of tile surface, one of the most important steps for clean tile is weekly maintenance with an appropriate cleaner.
Q. What’s the easiest way to clean tiles?
Prevention is the most important factor when cleaning tiles. Frequent use of a multipurpose cleaner ensures dirt and debris don’t have a chance to stick to the surface long.
Q. How do you deep clean tiles?
Lightly wet the tile surface. Spray the appropriate cleaner onto the surface, and let it sit for 10 minutes or more. Once dirt and debris have softened, use a soft-bristle brush (if applicable) or sponge to wipe down the surface.
Q. How do I make dull ceramic tile shine?
Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray onto ceramic tile and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.