How to clean tiles around the home with baking soda, vinegar, lemon and more

Learn how to clean tiles (all sorts of them) with our expert tips and natural solutions, plus the best commercial products

Clean white subway tiles in a monochrone bathroom with black shower panes, freestanding bath, shelving, sink vanity and geometric black and white flooring
(Image credit: Chris Snook © Future)

Knowing how to clean tiles — whether wall tiles or floor tiles — is a must if you want your home to gleam. 

In this guide, our professional cleaners will tell you how to go about cleaning tiles around your home with baking soda, vinegar, lemons and more, so  your space always looks super fresh and clean without too much elbow grease.

If you've largely nailed how to clean your home but can't quite bring your tiles up to scratch, these are the tips you need to get yours squeaky clean.

How to clean tiles made from various materials

Before you clean tiles, it's important to check what type of tile you're cleaning to be sure you won't cause any damage.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are easy to clean with most cleaning products and solutions. Marble however, can be damaged by acids like lemon and vinegar, as well as abrasive cleaning cloths, so you have to be careful about the type of cleaner you use.

How to clean tiles

There's a method to cleaning tiles effectively, whatever tile cleaning product you're using. 

If you're cleaning in a bathroom, run a hot shower for a few minutes before you start cleaning to open up the pores of materials like ceramic tiles. That way, you can reach more of the dirt and get a cleaner finish.

Learn how to clean grout before you delve into cleaning tiles. The dirt from the grouting will probably get onto the tiles, so you can wipe it all clean afterwards. 

If you're using a heavier chemical cleaner, always open the windows to minimise fumes, and take care over what products you're using together.

How to clean tiles with lemon

Lemon is an excellent tile cleaning product thanks to its natural acidic properties. Fill a spray bottle with lemon juice and spritz onto tiles before wiping clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

You can also soak a cloth directly in lemon juice for home cleaning before wiping the tiles, then rinse off with warm water. 

A tiled bathroom with two-tone pink and white tiles vertically piled

(Image credit: Walls & Floors)

How to clean tiles with vinegar

Mix about 1/2 a cup of distilled white vinegar with one litre warm water and fill a spray bottle. Spritz onto tiles and wipe down with a damp cloth. 

Alternatively, soak a soft cloth like a microfibre cloth in the mixture, wipe the tiles, then rinse with warm water. Cleaning your home with vinegar works brilliantly as it's a great natural disinfectant that works brilliantly as a tile cleaner, just remember to not use it on natural stone tiles like marble (as above) as well as granite and travertine.

How to clean tiles with baking soda

To bring tiles up with baking or bicarbonate of soda if that's all you have, make a paste of 2-3 cups baking soda and a little water, or sprinkle directly onto the tiles. Scrub it in using an old toothbrush or a sponge to help remove tough stains. Then wipe the tiles down with a cloth soaked in lemon juice before rinsing with warm water.

Bicarbonate of soda or cleaning with baking soda is an effective tile cleaner, especially for stubborn stains and grouting. We love this method.

How to clean floor tiles

If you have a large surface area such as in a kitchen or a large bathroom, you might want to invest in one of  the best steam cleaners to make your job easier. But you can use baking soda or vinegar diluted in a spray bottle to tackle tile grub and stains by hand.

We'd recommend leaving your floor tiles until last if you're cleaning your bathroom or kitchen for that matter as otherwise you'll be cleaning up the dirt and grime that's fallen from the wall tiles you've cleaned anyway, and no one wants to do a job twice!

Need a deeper clean? Try one of the top cleaning products from our pick of best floor tile cleaners; our favourite is Dr Beckmann stone floor tile cleaner.

White clean shower curtain in pink bathroom

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to clean shower tiles

  1. Run a hot shower with the door and windows closed for a few minutes before you start cleaning. 
  2. Start with the grouting.
  3. Then use a baking soda, vinegar or lemon solution with water to spray onto the tiles.
  4. Work in circular motions to lift tough stains.
  5. Rinse well and use a squeegee to remove streaks.

Cleaning shower tiles can be particularly tricky to clean, not least because it sees the biggest build up of grime.

Wiping down walls after your shower with a clean, dry cloth can help limit the grime and mould that water encourages. Pay special attention to those corners, as well as the bottom of the wall, to avoid a build-up of water. If your tiles are showing black spots, then you'll need to know how to get rid of mould and mildew ASAP so it doesn't worsen. 

Extending upwards and outwards gave hands-on renovators Nicola and Barry their dream family home

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

How to clean marble tiles

You can clean marble tiles with water and a soft microfibre cloth, being careful not to scrub the surface hard, then wipe dry. Alternatively, if dirt has built up, dilute a gentle dish soap with warm water and use a soft cloth.

If you're removing a stain, spray the stain with water, cover with a thick paste of baking soda and water, and leave covered with plastic clingfilm for 24 hours. Use a damp cloth to wipe the solution away and repeat if the stain is still there.

Bathroom tile ideas: deep green metro tiles stacked vertically

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Expert tips on cleaning tiles

Lynsey Queen of Clean keeps it simple, 'Use a small hard brush to scrub the grout and the tiles. Rinse with warm clean water and then buff dry.' 

Shop Heinz cleaning vinegar  128 fl oz from Amazon
A hero product to ...

Shop Heinz cleaning vinegar  128 fl oz from Amazon

A must for natural cleaning around the home.

Shop Arm and Hammer Baking Soda - Baking Powder, Baking Soda for Cleaning, Pure Baking Soda from Amazon

Shop Arm and Hammer Baking Soda - Baking Powder, Baking Soda for Cleaning, Pure Baking Soda from Amazon

Another hero product in the world of natural cleaning.

Astonish Bathroom Cleaner Trigger Spray, 750ml

Astonish Bathroom Cleaner Trigger Spray, 750ml

We're a big fan of natural cleaning products, but we think Astonish Bathroom Cleaner is a great option if you're looking to clean bathroom tiles. 

Just remember to avoid using on marble and other porous materials as it could damage the surface.

Watch them sparkle!

Ellen Finch
Former deputy editor

Formerly deputy editor of Real Homes magazine, Ellen has been lucky enough to spend most of her working life speaking to real people and writing about real homes, from extended Victorian terraces to modest apartments. She's recently bought her own home and has a special interest in sustainable living and clever storage.