Clean tile floors without the haze

Cleaning Tile Floors

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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We redid our kitchen and put in a beautiful tile floor, but our kids keep tracking in dirt from the backyard. To make matters worse, it seems that I can't find a cleaner that doesn't leave a haze on the tile. Can anyone tell me how to keep this tile floor clean?

She Loves This Machine!

I have a Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub® that I use for my dark tile floors. It does a great job in scrubbing the floor, and I've never noticed a haze with the cleaners. You can find the machine for $150-$199, which is well worth it depending on how large an area you have to scrub. Maybe not worth it for smaller areas, but my entire downstairs is tile and it's well worth it!
Alicia (via Facebook)

It's Really Quite Simple

I have had the same tile floor for 15 years. I generally use plain warm water to wash it, but to remove a haze, I add a little vinegar, about 1/4 cup to 2 gallons of water. Vinegar also acts as an antibacterial and the smell disappears once the floor dries. It really is that simple.

Related: More great money-saving household uses for vinegar

Keep Dirt from Being Tracked In

First of all, if the dirt is not tracked into the kitchen, your tile floor will remain cleaner for a longer period of time. Place a rug remnant or a plastic boot tray right inside your entrance door. Make it a family habit to remove shoes or boots before entering the house. Presto! No more tracked in dirt!

I always use hot water and white vinegar to wash my tile floor. The floor looks great, vinegar is inexpensive, and the vinegar makes the home smell cleaner than chemicals ever will.

Clean with Steam

Perhaps a rule that the kids have to remove their shoes before entering will cut down on a lot that gets tracked it. Merits for those who do and demerits when they don't each day could be rewarded when they reach a certain level as positive encouragement to cooperate with a new rule.

We got a nice steam floor cleaner to eliminate the need for using any chemicals or solutions on our new tile floors. It works great with no residue left behind. Also, it saves money on cleaning products, is pet friendly, and sanitizes nicely! On a rare occasion, a cleaner might be used to spot clean something that falls on the floor, but the steam usually removes all that nicely too by pausing a few moments more over the area.
Deet in Western New York

Make It Shine

We have tile in our kitchen. I usually use Spic 'n Span® to clean it, which doesn't have to be rinsed. However, I do go over it with clean, clear water afterward and then dry it with an old bath towel. I rub it around with my feet or bend over and do it. People have come into our home thinking the floor is slippery since it is so shiny.

Related: Recipes for homemade floor cleaner

Ammonia Works Wonders

When we first installed tile floors, I, too, quickly discovered that most floor cleaners leave a hazy film on ceramic tile. Being a potter, I knew that the glaze on ceramics (including tile) was really a form of glass, so I tried glass cleaner. It worked great! Then I figured that the active ingredient in most window cleaners was ammonia, so I tried regular cheap ammonia. And it worked even better! Be sure to purchase the "no sudsing" ammonia, because the regular kind has some kind of soap product in it that will still leave a haze on the tiles.

Make Sure Grout Is Sealed

To keep a tile floor clean, keep as much dirt as you can off of it. This would include using a rough mat outside the door and a small rug inside the door. Everyone should take off their shoes inside the door and change to indoor shoes or slippers.

Also, make sure you seal your grout, especially if it's white. Do this now before it gets too dirty.

Finally, the best way to clean common yard dirt off a tile floor is to use just plain water in a microfiber mop. Spot clean what you can instead of using a lot of water, which just pushes the dirt into the grout lines.

Take the Next Step:

  • For more on cleaning tile floors as well as other floor surfaces, please visit The Dollar Stretcher Library .
  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
  • Never overspend for store-bought cleaners again. Use The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Homemade Cleaners to find frugal, effective recipes for keeping your entire house and laundry clean and fresh.

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