How to Polish Porcelain Tiles And Make Your Floors Shine!

How to Polish & Clean Porcelain Tiles - Clean and Tidy Living

Porcelain Tile Polishing: How to Make Floor Tiles Shiny

Looking at your shiny floors is such a satisfying feeling, especially when you’ve put in the effort to get them like that. 

However, sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you scrub and buff, ceramic tiles seem to look cloudy, dirty, and dull. 

In this post, we’ll explain how to polish porcelain tiles the right way, and get that shine back once and for all. 

But, not all porcelain tiles are made the same. 

Some have special coatings designed to protect the tile itself, and others have a textured finish with grooves that dirt likes to cling to. 

To help make things easier, we’ve broken this post up to explain how to clean the most common porcelain tiles. 

We also cover some common floor polishing FAQs so you’re in the know about what to do, and more importantly what to definitely not do. 

Our porcelain tile polishing methods might mean that you have to take a little bit more time on your floors than usual, but we promise that the finished result is worth it! 

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How to Polish Porcelain Tiles

The dullness on ceramic or porcelain tiles doesn’t come from a layer of dirt, but the residue from cleaning products and water leftover from the cleaning process. 

That’s why it seems like tiles can sometimes look worse after cleaning.

Polishing removes any leftover residue and watermarks from the tiles to leave them completely free of product. 

This is what creates that beautiful shine across our floors. 

So with that being said…

What Is the Best Method for Polishing Porcelain Tiles? 

Although the cleaning products for each type of floor tile may vary, there are some similarities in the methods of cleaning. Generally, this is how you should clean and polish porcelain tiles:

  1. Vacuum or sweep your tile to remove all dirt and loose debris. 
  2. Mop the floor with a mild cleaning solution.
  3. Spot treat any particularly dirty areas with a sponge or soft-bristled brush. 
  4. Rinse away any cleaning product thoroughly.
  5. Dry the area with a towel or leave to air-dry in a well-ventilated room. 
  6. Buff away water spots with a buffer or flat-head microfiber mop


That was the quick answer to how to polish porcelain tiles, but the method varies slightly depending on the exact type of tile you want to clean. 

In the following section, we break down the different types of porcelain tiles and how to clean them specifically. 

What Are The Different Types of Porcelain Tiles? 

Glazed Porcelain Tile 

Glazed or polished porcelain flooring has a coating that enhances the shine and protects the tile. 

The main consideration when cleaning a glazed tile is protecting this coating. 

Using a strong cleaning solution can dissolve the coating. It’s also worth avoiding stiff-bristled brushes or wire scrubbers as these can also wear down the ceramic glaze.

How to Clean Glazed Porcelain Tiles
  1. Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove loose dirt and debris. 
  2. Mop the floor with just water or a very mild cleaning solution such as diluted vinegar (¼ cup white vinegar to 2 gallons of hot water) or a ph neutral cleaning product. 
  3. Rinse the floor thoroughly to remove all traces of the cleaning product. 
  4. Dry the floor with a towel. 
  5. Finally, polish by hand with a buffer or a clean flat-head microfibre mop

If the water dried before you have a chance to buff it away, you may see water spots and streaks on your tiles. 

These can be buffed away, but it will take a while to do an entire floor.

We suggest cleaning your ceramic floor in sections to make it easier to absorb all of the water after mopping and rinsing. 

This will prevent the floor from drying too fast and creating watermarks. 

How to Polish Porcelain Tiles - Clean and Tidy Living

Textured Tile

Textured tiles have an uneven surface which makes them more difficult to clean. 

Clean textured tiles regularly to avoid dirt build-up and a tough cleaning job. 

However, it’s less likely that textured tiles will show dirt and streaks as easily as polished porcelain tile. 

How to Clean Textured Tiles 
  1. Vacuum or sweep the tile to remove as much dirt as possible. 
  2. Mop the floor with a mild or diluted cleaning solution. Mop vertically and then horizontally for extra thorough cleaning. 
  3. Spot-clean particularly dirty areas with a brush or sponge (avoiding wire or stiff-bristles).
  4. Rinse the floor thoroughly to remove all traces of the cleaning product. 
  5. Dry the floor with a towel or leave the room to dry by itself with good ventilation. 
  6. Buff away any left water spots and streaks with a towel or flat head mop

Because of the texture and grooves in the tile, standard wet mopping will not clean the tile to its best.

We recommend cleaning textured tiles a little more frequently – ideally once a week or more in high traffic areas.

Unpolished Tile

Unpolished tile doesn’t have a glaze or polished coating, so we don’t have to worry about damaging this extra layer. 

How to Clean Unpolished/Uncoated Tiles
  1. Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove loose dirt and debris. 
  2. Mop the floor with a mild or diluted cleaning solution. Mop vertically and then horizontally for extra thorough cleaning. 
  3. Spot-clean particularly dirty areas with a brush or sponge (avoiding wire or stiff-bristles).
  4. Rinse the floor thoroughly to remove all traces of the cleaning product. 
  5. Dry the floor with a towel or leave the room to dry with good ventilation. 
  6. Buff away any left water spots and streaks with a towel or flat head mop

What Cleaners Are Safe for Porcelain Tile?

For all porcelain tiles, but particularly polished tiles, we recommend using a very mild cleaning product. 

Our favorites are diluted vinegar and hot water, or non-soap-based PH neutral floor cleaning products. 

When it comes to creating shine, suds probably aren’t your friends. 

Soap scum is known for leaving marks, so avoiding the bubbly stuff is a good way to get your gorgeous ceramic tiles sparkling.

Whichever cleaner you decide to use, it’s super important to make sure all of your product is rinsed away. 

This is to prevent marks but also avoid permanent damage to the tile itself or its coating.  

Never use ammonia or bleach-based products on porcelain as it can discolor the tile, damage the coating, and alter the grout color.

You should also never use solutions that contain oil-based detergents, wax, or sealant cleaners on your porcelain tiles. 

Grout discoloration may also be caused by mold. Read about the best mold removers here. 

How To Deep Clean Ceramic & Porcelain Floor Tiles So They Look New Again 

Scrub away visible dirt and grime from your tiles with a scrubbing brush and a specially formulated cleaning product.

If you don’t have a porcelain-tile-cleaning product on hand then a mild detergent will also work. 

The key step in creating that gorgeous shine on your tiles is ensuring you thoroughly remove all moisture and residue with a towel. 

Porcelain Tile Polishing FAQs

Does Vinegar Damage Porcelain Tile?

Due to vinegar’s acidity, using undiluted vinegar and not properly rinsing the tiles may wear away the coating on glazed porcelain tiles. If you dilute your vinegar solution and properly rinse and dry the tiles, it won’t cause any damage. 

What Is the Best Cleaning Product for Porcelain Tile?

Either ¼ cup of white vinegar diluted in 2 gallons of hot water or non-soap-based PH neutral cleaning products. Whatever you use, make sure you thoroughly rinse the cleaning product away. 

Never use ammonia or bleach-based products on porcelain as it can discolor the tile, damage the coating, and alter the grout color. You should also never use solutions that contain oil-based detergents, wax, or sealant cleaners on your porcelain tiles. 

Why Are My Porcelain Tiles Cloudy?

A cloudy porcelain tile may be caused by damage to the glaze or coating, a build-up of dirt, water spots and streaks, or leftover cleaner. Try spot cleaning a small area and buffing it dry to see whether the cloudiness goes away. If it doesn’t, you may have damaged the coating, and in which case, it will need to be recoated with polish. 

Final Thoughts On How to Polish Porcelain Tiles And Make Your Floors Shine!

We hope you’ve found our guide on how to polish porcelain tiles helpful. 

Did you learn anything new or find that you’d been using the wrong products for your floor? 

Hopefully, our tips and instructions for cleaning porcelain tiles will make a big difference. 

The goal, after all, is to make your ceramic tiles shine – so let us know in the comments if these methods worked for you! 

Although we suggest mopping in all of our methods, you don’t necessarily need to mop each time you clean your tiles. 

Regularly vacuuming can help to pick up dirt and debris before it builds up. 

Also, placing rugs in high traffic areas like in and outside of doors will reduce the amount of dirt that gets walked over your tiles. 

Mopping, drying, and buffing porcelain tiles can take up a lot of time, so we’ll welcome any small steps that will reduce the number of times we have to do a full-clean. 

If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to read more from Clean and Tidy Living, take a look at our related posts below! 

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How to Polish Porcelain Tiles And Make Your Floors Shine!

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