How to Clean Commercial Tile Floors

modern tiled floor

Cleaning commercial tile floors need not be a difficult task, if you remember that proper maintenance is a continuous process. Rather than think of cleaning the floor once a week or so, consider your daily behavior as part of the cleaning process. The less dirt and debris you spill, the easier regular cleanup will be. The fewer chemicals that fall on the floor, the longer it will last.

VCT—Vinyl Composition Tile

The favored choice for commercial tile floors is VCT due to its high durability. Keeping VCT clean begins with reducing the dust, sand and grit that gets tracked across it:

  • Sweep or vacuum the VCT floor frequently. This may be the work of a nightly cleaning crew, or it may be you! Avoid using a beater bar, and avoid scrub brushes.
  • Use entry rugs or mats (the type without rubber backing, especially made for vinyl floors) at entrance doors to collect as much grit from customers’ and employees’ shoes as possible.

First Steps

Avoid foot traffic on new VCT commercial tile floor for at least two days. It must not be wet-cleaned for two weeks. After two weeks, the light, protective coat applied at the factory should be removed as recommended by the tile manufacturer.

A Gentle Touch

Regular maintenance of a commercial tile floor is easy if not done aggressively:

  • When introducing liquid cleaners, work from mildest to strongest—begin with plain water to clean a dirty VCT floor. Rinse the mop water frequently, and consider using a rag mop rather than a sponge mop.
  • Use cleaning products recommended by the floor’s manufacturer. This is because every VCT floor has a wear layer that is often proprietary in composition, so certain cleaning chemicals may affect the finish of one floor but not another.
  • If in doubt, use a “no rinse” cleaner.
  • Avoid using ammonia, abrasive cleaners, “mop and shine” cleaners, or pure detergents.

Heavy Duty

For annual stripping, wait until the floor is at least two years old (some strippers may destroy the adhesive bond beneath the tile). Other heavy duty tips:

  • Use as little stripper as possible
  • Avoid brown or black pads on machine scrubbers, and avoid stiff-bristled brushes of any kind (hand-held or machine).
  • Protect work areas with Kraft paper to prevent stripper splashing, pooling or staining.

Keeping commercial tile maintenance on a regular calendar schedule is the surest way to ensure long life and trouble-free floors.


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