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Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On Tile Floors?

Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On Tile Floors?

As the name implies, a carpet cleaner has a purpose when it comes to cleaning carpets. These machines are meant to clean deep into carpets but should not be used on tile floors.

These steam cleaners use a water extraction method that works great to remove dirt and debris from carpets. However, the metal parts intended for use on carpets only will damage most tile floors.

Problems with using a carpet cleaner on tile floors

The problems that using a carpet cleaner on tile floors can cause include:

  • Running a carpet cleaner across tile will merely push the dirt around instead of lifting it away leaving cleaning solution on the wet, dirty tile.
  • A carpet cleaner has metal on the bottom of it that can damage the tile
  • The sharp scrubber brushes can scratch the tile floor.
  • The chemicals used in the carpet cleaner are harmful if used on tile, and will remove all of the shine making the floor appear dull.
  • Tiles cleaned with a carpet cleaner may crack or become damaged in some other way.

What You Should Use Instead

Flooring is often an expensive investment that you don’t want to ruin by using the wrong cleaning method, solution, or tools like using a carpet cleaner on tile floors. Don’t forget that hiring a carpet cleaner can be expensive too!

Of course, there are a few brands of floor cleaning machines that manufacture a machine model specially designed to be used on both types of floors or have special soft brush attachments that won’t damage the tile.

While these few carpet cleaner designs are considered safe to use on all types of floors, using a carpet cleaner on tile is never recommended as the best option. Generally speaking, it is best to seek alternative cleaners and cleaning tools to make your tile floors spotless and to retain their shine.

Some great tile cleaners and cleaning tools include:

  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Clean cloth, rag, or microfiber cloth
  • Dish liquid
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Commercial cleaner specifically designed for tile floors
  • Essential oil, like orange or lemon, to add a pleasant aroma to vinegar mixtures
  • 2-gallon bucket
  • Bristled broom, dustpan, and mop
  • Hand gloves, mask, and goggles

Regardless of which cleaning solution you use, follow these steps to clean your tile:

  1. Before you apply any cleaning solution to a tile floor, sweep or vacuum it to make the surface completely free of dust, crumbs, or any other type of debris.
  2. Use the appropriate solution for the type of tile you have, and mop the floor.
  3. When you are done mopping, use a microfiber cloth to wipe away left-over residue.

First, it’s very important that you know what type of tile your floor is made of. There are many different types of tiles, and each one requires a very specific cleaning solution. Professional cleaners usually use a combination of some form of acetic acid alongside a steam mop or wet/dry vacuum.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles, when maintained properly, will last for a very long time looking great.

To clean porcelain tiles, use 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water and one tablespoon of dish liquid. Mix these cleaning ingredients together in a large clean container until bubbles start showing up.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl tiles are the easiest flooring tiles to clean. This type of tile floor is intended to be cost-effective and requires very little maintenance. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water, and start cleaning. Run a mop over the floor, and dry with a towel when done.

Stone Tiles

The texture of stone tiles makes them rough and more challenging to clean. Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaning agents on stone tiles. The secret to keeping stone tiles looking their best is to use a cleaning solution with a well-balanced pH.

Use a few drops of dish liquid mixed with 1 gallon of water. Mix together until bubbles appear. Gently clean the stone tiles using this mixture.

Ceramic Tiles

Since ceramic tiles are made for wear and tear, you will use a slightly different cleaning method on this type of tile.

Ceramic is clay that has been fired in a kiln. These tiles may be the exception to never using a carpet cleaner on them, provided the carpet cleaner is specially designed for tile floor cleaning.

Otherwise, use a mop to be safe. Ceramic tiles will need to be deep cleaned on a regular basis. Use 1 cup of alcohol mixed in a gallon of warm water to clean the ceramic tiles.


Cleaning floors raises many questions. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about whether you can use a carpet cleaner on tile floors.

What cleaners are safe to use on tile with grout?

To clean grout in between the tiles, the best method is to use a baking soda paste and a bristle brush. If you use harsh cleansers on grout, the seams will begin to yellow or crack over time.

Natural cleaners work best on grout. Use cleaners such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or dish liquid.

Is it safe to steam clean a tile floor?

Steam cleaning is considered safe for tile and grout so long as there are no harsh chemicals or machinery meant for carpets involved.

A steam mop heats water through a reservoir to a very hot temperature and then sends the steam down into the head of the mop pad for cleaning. The soft mop head is safe on the tile.

What is the best cleaning method for tile floors?

The best cleaning method for tile is going to depend on what type of tile it is.

Start with good vacuuming to get rid of loose dirt. Mix an appropriate solution, usually vinegar and water work well. Once they are mixed together, start cleaning the tile floor. Finish off by drying the floor with a microfiber rag.

Final Thoughts

A carpet cleaner machine is not ever recommended for use on tile floors. Of course, if you’re using a machine specifically designed for tiled floors or which offers gentler cleaning attachments, it may be safe.

However, do not ever use any harsh carpet cleaning solutions that can damage the tile. Instead, keep our tile floors looking great by using the best cleaning method that won’t damage your tile floors.