How to Clean Ceramic Tile Countertops

Dirt, stains and bacteria on ceramic tile countertops can make any kitchen or bathroom unsanitary. Here's how to properly clean ceramic tile and grout to keep counters beautiful and germ-free.

Tile Kitchen Island Countertop

Tile Kitchen Island Countertop

Modern kitchen with large open and airy space, tiled kitchen island countertop, large hood and range, double deep basic sinks and white cabinets.

Tile countertops are popular in kitchens and baths. Knowing how to clean ceramic tile will help you keep your counters sanitary and looking brand new. This isn’t just about aesthetics, though. Bacteria and microorganisms can get into the grout, which is a porous material. This can make a kitchen counter unsafe for food, and make a bathroom counter unsanitary in general. You should wipe you’re your countertops after every use so you can get rid of the majority of the dirt and germs and prevent staining. But you should do a deep clean two or three times a year. Follow these tips on how to clean ceramic tile countertops.

First, wipe off the countertop with a commercially prepared tile cleaner, or make your own cleaner by combining 1 ⅔ cup baking soda, ½ cup liquid soap, ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons of vinegar. This will remove the day-to-day dirt. 

You’re going to start with the grout, because it will be the dirtiest part of the tile counter. Tile doesn’t stain easily but grout does. Spray the grout with a commercially prepared grout cleaner. You can also use a mild bleach solution. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when using these types of products. They contain strong cleaning agents that could irritate your skin. For deep stains, allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. Use a toothbrush or other small scrub brush to scrub the grout. This is where much of the dirt from daily use and, often, mildew accumulates. Start at one corner of the counter and work your way across the surface, cleaning all the grout lines. Do not scrub the tile itself with the brush as this could scratch the tiles. 

Let the grout air dry, then seal with a commercial grout sealer. This will protect your grout from coming out and help it resist stains and dirt. 

Should you seal the tile? If you have glazed ceramic tiles, you won’t need to seal it. Unglazed tile countertops will need to be sealed with a commercially prepared tile sealer to protect it and make it stain-resistant. 

The final step: Rinse the counter and grout with hot water. This will make a tile kitchen counter food-safe, and a bathroom counter germ-free. Knowing how to clean ceramic tile will keep your counters beautiful and germ-free.

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