April 8, 2017 - Tilespect

Cleaning Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Tips – Living with Polished Porcelain

– mineral turpentine, water marks, paints and dyes

Example of indelible mark on porcelain tile

Example of indelible mark on porcelain tile


      • Cleaning porcelain tile issues relate mostly to polished, semi polished or honed porcelain tiles.



    • Note that although porcelain has a very low porosity and low stain absorption, when the surface is altered by polishing or mechanical finishing, as is often the case, and is left unglazed, it will hold stains and dyes as the surface will contain micro-vugs. So in this case Polished porcelain tiles can be any porcelain that has had the surface mechanically altered including semi polished, honed, buffed and high polish as well as lapato.



    • Note that Lapato is a tile that has a lot of high and low points where the high points have been polished smooth and the low points retain their original texture. You can also find glazed tiles that are finished with a lapato surface, but in most cases the glaze acts as the sealer.



    • Glazed tiles are easy to clean – just anything that is even mildly acidic. Note that ceramic tiles have a porosity of around 5% and the biscuit will absorb stains but then again, that is why they are are protected by a glaze in the first place.



  • Porcelain tiles should have an ultra low porosity and will absorb less. That is the reason they don’t have to be glazed. 


acid typesWhen you are Cleaning Porcelain Tile avoid all methylated spirit substances and avoid mineral turpentine, in the first instance – more about this below. Also note that Fatty material is easy to remove if the tile is properly sealed. Tile Cleaning Tips – just for starters

How to remove water marks

Water marks, such as the circular mark in the image above, are tricky and the solutions don’t always work. Personally, I use the white cream cleanser (CIF or JIF brands or equivalents). Pour on, rub in, then pour-on again and leave to dry to a powder, perhaps overnight – wipe off!

Tile Cleaning Tips – other issues

The use of turpentine =, or solvents is usually applicable when oil based paint stains and dyes have penetrated the surface of the porcelain tile, or stains that are miscible with the sealer. Most chemical sealers are good at repelling fats but will mix with solvents such as mineral turpentine. If you clean with turps, then you are also removing some of the sealer and may have to reapply sealer to the area that was affected.  If nothing else works then soak and clean multiple times with mineral turpentine (clear – not tinted of course). By using turps the stain should also be removed. Note that mineral turpentine produces harmful vapours, is flammable, is also classified as a poison so you must take the precautionary measures as indicated on the bottle of turps. A similar consideration applies to acetone (aka nail polish remover)

Solvents can also be applied when the problem stain in the application of the wrong sealer, either at the factory or by the installation team, or even yourself.

Example of rare, defective factory applied porcelain presealer

–          If you do use a solvent based cleaner you will need to re-apply the porcelain sealer afterwards. Note – some tile shops sell a stain displacer also known as a presealer. You might want to ask around before applying any solvents. An easier solution may be found.


Tile quick Inspection Guide cleaning porcelain tile /