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How to Clean Stone Shower Tiles

Learn how the professionals keep stone shower tiles clean and mildew free. We explain how to clean your stone shower tiles without damaging the surface.

Marble Effect Bathroom Tiles

Natural stone is one of the most beautiful additions to any bathroom. It’s tough and durable, and a resilient solution for this high-traffic area of your home. 

As hardy as stone tiles are, they are exposed to moisture daily, which can break down their sealant and grouting over time. Stone tiles are also susceptible to things like soap scum, harsh chemicals, mold, and stains, so you need to know how to clean stone shower tiles properly to ensure their longevity.

These are our top tips for taking care of the stone tiles and grouting in your shower.

Clean your stone shower tiles regularly

Natural stone tiles such as marble, quartz, and granite are a fantastic choice for lining your shower and surroundings. But while these tiles are incredibly durable, they’re also a porous material. 

Combine this factor with steam, humidity, and pooled water, and your gorgeous tiles can quickly become a breeding ground for mildew and mold. Not to mention a buildup of slimy soap scum. This is why regular cleaning is the most important thing you can do to increase the lifespan of your shower tiles and keep them looking as good as new.

Give your tiles a weekly clean to reduce the buildup of soap and dirt

Wet a clean, soft cloth (microfiber is ideal) and use a stone-safe cleaning solution to wipe down all the stone tile surfaces in your shower. Don’t forget to clean the grouting in between each tile too.

In between weekly cleans, make sure you rinse the tiles after every shower to remove any remaining soap or shampoo suds. This ensures there won’t be lingering residue left on your tiles that can build up and cause damage.

‍Use a gentle detergent

Avoid using harsh cleaners on your stone tiles. Ammonia and other acidic or abrasive cleaning solutions, whether they’re liquid, creams, or powders, can damage tiles, making them dull and hard to clean.

Ensure you use only stone-safe solutions, and check the instructions for correct usage and dilution before you begin cleaning.

For a stone-friendly DIY detergent, you can simply add a couple of squirts of liquid dish detergent to a bucket of warm water, then begin cleaning your tiles with a soft cloth. You can also find gentle stone cleaners at most hardware stores.

Soft cleaning cloths only, no abrasives

We recommend you use soft sponges or microfiber cloths to clean and dry your stone shower tiles. This will prevent you from scratching the stone, which will make it even harder to keep clean.

Should you use ammonia on stone tiles?

Ammonia is a harsh substance that can destroy your tiles over time. We recommend that you only use it to spot clean tough stains and areas of soap scum if absolutely necessary.

Mix up a solution of ½ cup of ammonia and 1 gallon of water. Take care to ensure you’ve got adequate ventilation while you’re cleaning, and never add bleach to this mix as it can cause toxic fumes.

Wearing rubber gloves, dip a soft cloth in the ammonia solution and begin cleaning your tiles. Work quickly, and rinse your tiles down with warm water as soon as you’ve finished, drying the tiles immediately with a clean cloth.

If you begin a regular weekly cleaning schedule, it will ensure you only have to use ammonia every now and then to remove stubborn stains. 

Remove mildew, algae, and mold

Mold, mildew, and algae love damp environments, meaning the shower in your home can quickly become their home too. As well as looking unsightly, some of these molds can be toxic and cause health problems over time.

Thankfully mold and mildew are such common issues that there are plenty of bathroom cleaners available to help you get rid of these unwelcome visitors in your home.

Check your home center, supermarket, or hardware store for mildew and mold removers that are both shower safe and stone-friendly. Be sure to avoid products that contain abrasive compounds. Follow the instructions for use, and with a soft brush or cloth, clean any areas of mold, algae, or mildew that are causing problems in your shower.

Once everything is clean, rinse down the tiles with warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.

Keeping your tiles as dry as possible can prevent mildew and mold from growing back. Ensure you dry your shower tiles as soon as possible after showering.

Remove stains from stone shower tiles

Over time, you may start to notice marks and stains appearing on your stone shower tiles. As the causes of these can vary, your first stop should be to pinpoint the source of any stains. This will help you figure out which cleaning methods to use.

Many basic stone cleaners can remove light stains. But for tough, dark stains, you’ll need a different approach.

Oil-based stains

Oil-based stains can be caused by things like cosmetics, or hair and body products with an oil component.

You can usually remove these stains with mild detergent, but if they’re stubborn, try mineral spirits, ammonia, a 10% hydrogen peroxide solution, or acetone to clean these targeted areas. Wearing rubber gloves, dip a soft cloth into your cleaning solution and then spot clean the stained area until the stain lifts.

Rinse your newly cleaned tiles thoroughly with warm water to remove any harsh chemical residue, and dry with a clean cloth.

Metal stains

Dripping shower attachments, pipes, metal shelving, and brackets can all cause unsightly brown stains on your stone tiles.

There are commercial cleaners available from hardware stores that can help you easily remove metal stains, but make sure the manufacturer’s instructions indicate that they’re also safe to use around stone tiles.

Mix the cleaning solution or poultice according to the instructions, then apply the solution directly to the stained area of your shower. Leave the solution on the stain for the amount of time directed on the label, then wipe it off, rinse with cold water, and dry with a soft clean cloth.

For super stubborn metal stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times until the stain lifts completely.

Organic stains

These are everyday stains that may result from things like urine, paper, cigarettes, or food. They typically show up as brown stains, which can make your shower look constantly dirty.

Eliminating the cause of these stains should be your first step. Sometimes this is enough for the stains to fade and eventually disappear with regular cleaning.

For more stubborn organic stains, you’ll want to reach for the ammonia or hydrogen peroxide solutions again. Be aware that excessive or incorrect use of these chemicals can fade or damage your stone tiles, so always use them as instructed on the manufacturer’s label.

Remove water spots

Water spots are common occurrences on natural stone tiles. They can be caused by hard water leaving mineral deposits on the surface of your tiles when your shower dries.

Mineral deposits can be tricky to remove. While you can use very fine steel wool to clean these spots off, we recommend that you use a gentle, non-scratch, and shower-friendly scrubbing sponge instead. The gentler the cleaner you use, the longer your tiles will last. 

Make sure to use a stone-friendly shower solution when you’re cleaning off these water spots. When you’re done, rinse down the tiles with warm water and dry with a soft cloth, or leave to air dry.

Clean the grouting

Don’t neglect to clean the grouting in between your stone shower tiles. Grouting is particularly vulnerable to mildew and trapped residue and can ruin the look of your shower if discolored.

We recommend you clean the grout before your shower tiles, to avoid spreading the dirt from the grouting back across your freshly cleaned and polished stonework. 

If you’re using a commercial grout cleaner, it’s important that you check it’s okay to use on stone tiles. Many grout cleaners have harsh chemicals in them that can damage the surface of natural stone.

Avoid scrubbing your grouting with steel wool or hard bristles. An old toothbrush with soft bristles is the perfect way to clean these surfaces. Simply dip it into your favorite stone-safe grout cleaner (or a mild detergent solution) and gently scrub down the grouted cracks in between each tile to remove any mold and dirt. 

Once you’ve finished cleaning the grout, rinse with warm water and either leave it to dry naturally, or wipe it down with a soft cloth.

Steam cleaning

One of the most effective ways to clean stone shower tiles is with the magic of steam. Stone is a porous material, so much like steam baths can loosen up your skin’s pores, steam can also open up the tiny pores in stone tiles, making it much easier to give them a thorough clean.

Steam cleaners also come with nifty attachments that help you clean the grouting in between tiles as well. If you’re thinking about buying a steam cleaner, check the manufacturer’s instructions first to make sure that it’s suitable for surfaces like natural stone tiles. 

Keep your stone shower tiles dry

Leaving your stone shower tiles wet all the time will undo all the hard work you’ve put in trying to keep them clean. 

We recommend buying a shower squeegee that attaches with a suction cup to your shower wall, so you can quickly wipe down the tiles after every shower. This removes excess moisture and will help your tiles dry faster. Alternatively, you can wipe the walls down with a microfiber cloth or a clean towel.

Keeping your stone tiles dry can also reduce the dreaded water spots caused by mineral buildup that we mentioned above.

Seal your stone shower tiles regularly

Sealing your shower tiles after giving them a deep cleaning ensures they stay clean for longer, which means you’ll also extend their lifetime in your home.

Using sealant prevents moisture and dirt from sinking into the stone’s pores which can cause permanent damage. We recommend you check the sealant in your shower at least every six months, especially if you’ve been cleaning your tiles with harsh chemicals like ammonia. 

If it’s time to reseal, choose a commercial sealer that’s specifically formulated for stone shower tiles. This type of seal will be able to withstand constant exposure to moisture more than generic stone sealants.

Cleaning stone shower tiles is a breeze when you know how

We hope you find these tips on how to clean stone shower tiles helpful. Tiles are relatively simple to clean, and as long as you keep up a regular cleaning regime for your shower, it’s easy to keep them in top condition.

We know that cleaning your shower can take up a lot of time in your busy schedule, you can always hire a professional cleaner, like Eagle Cleaning , to keep your stone shower tiles in perfect condition. 

The professionals know all the techniques needed to remove stains, mildew, and grime that can make your tiles look dull and dirty. Also carry the right tools to restore the natural luster of stone tiles and freshen up the grouting. They can help clean your floor grout (colocar o link do How to Freshen Up Floor Grout), mirrors, and the rest of your bathroom. Hire a professional house cleaning today > Check out our follow up blog entry on How to Clean Stone Shower Tiles.