Though we’d all love our bathrooms to remain relaxing, grime-free spaces, the reality is that with regular use, these rooms can get downright dirty—fast. Especially if you have bathroom tile, the spaces where you go to get clean (like your shower) can go from dazzling to dingy thanks to the buildup of dirt, soap scum, and even mildew. Without the proper care and cleaning, dirty tiles can quickly turn your bathroom from a spa-like oasis to a room at the top of your deep clean list.
To keep your bathroom and shower looking sparkling, you’ll need to dedicate a bit of elbow grease to clean the tile and grout. Ahead, we tapped cleaning experts for their top tips on how to clean bathroom tile so it looks good as new.
How Often Should You Clean Your Bathroom Tile?
Maintaining bathroom tile takes regular, consistent work. The longer you wait between cleans, the harder it will be to scrub off dirt buildup and prevent mold and mildew. That’s why Ana Andres, co-founder of London-based house cleaning service TidyChoice, recommends cleaning bathroom tiles once a week to keep them in good shape. This will reduce the amount of time you need to spend deep-cleaning and scrubbing the tiles. For an even more consistent clean, consider wiping down your tiles with a squeegee after each shower to help eliminate moisture buildup—the leading cause of mold, mildew, and hard water stains.
Meet the Expert
Things You'll Need:
- Rubber gloves
- Spray bottle
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Scrub brush (or firm toothbrush)
How to Clean Bathroom Tile
Step 1: Mix Your Cleaning Solution
“There are a lot of different options for cleaning bathroom tile,” says Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids. Though some store-bought cleaners will work, you can also make an easy DIY solution using items you already have at home. For standard cleaning, try mixing half a cup of dishwashing soap with one cup of hot white vinegar. According to Varela, this is a concentrated formula so you won’t need to apply that much.
If your tiles are made of travertine or stone, skip the vinegar, as the acidity can tarnish them. Instead, warm water and dish soap mixed in a spray bottle will do the trick.
Step 2: Spray the Tiles
Place your cleaning mixture inside a spray bottle and apply to the surface of the bathroom tiles. Let the solution sit for about 10 minutes to help break down any hard water or soap scum buildup. If you're worried about runoff on your floors, lay down some old towels to absorb the excess solution.
Step 3: Scrub With a Sturdy Brush or Toothbrush
Here's where the elbow grease comes in. To really get your bathroom tiles back to their sparkling, just-installed state, you'll need to physically scrub off the limescale, soap, and other buildups. To begin, use a sturdy brush or old toothbrush to scrub down any grout you want to clean, then work your way to the tiles themselves, using swift, circular motions.
Step 4: Rinse
Once you've given your tiles a thorough scrub from top to bottom, rinse them off with warm water. This step is imperative, as any leftover solution can leave a film on the tiles and grout. The warm water will also help loosen any remaining dirt particles. Our experts recommend rising until the water runs clean.
Step 5: Wipe Down to Remove Excess Moisture
The final step in making sure your bathroom tiles remain shiny and clean is wiping them down. Since leftover water can cause mold and mildew, it's important not to skip this step. If you have one, start by using a squeegee on the tiles to get rid of the moisture. Then, follow up with a towel or microfiber cloth.
How to Remove Stains from Bathroom Tile
Try Baking Soda
Still fixating on a pesky stain in your tile grout? Finn Pegler, owner of Deluxe Maid in Indianapolis, recommends creating a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. "Mix them well until the consistency is almost like cake batter," he says. "Then, dip a firm toothbrush into the mixture and scrub the grout in a circular motion." Baking soda is effective at removing stubborn stains and also helps deodorize any lingering smells that might be caused by mildew, so it's a multifunctional method.
Use a Steam Cleaner
Varela's favorite tool for a deep bathroom tile clean is a steamer. "A steam cleaner comes with a pointed nozzle that you can use for cleaning corners or grout lines," she tells us. This makes it the ideal tool for cleaning bathroom tiles and getting in hard-to-reach crevices. The heat from the steam is also excellent at loosening up caked-on dirt. Per Varela's instructions, apply the steam to the affected stain or surface and then scrub using the soap/vinegar mix.