How to Make Tile Floors Shine Without Wax

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How to make tile floors shine without wax

Tiles have great resistance to abrasion and scouring, which makes them a popular flooring option. The problem is, constant footwear stress, dust, stains, and grime can make tiles lose their shine. While you can use wax to restore tile floors and grout, it breaks down unevenly over time, leaving an even uglier look. So, how can you shine tile floors without wax?

Mix 2 cups of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water and ½ a cup of dish soap to make a paste. Apply the paste on the dull tiles and let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the tiles using a sponge to remove the stains. Rinse the tiles with warm water to make them shine without using wax.

Apart from this baking soda hack, you can also use other natural tile floor cleaners to restore a dull floor such as ammonia, lemon, and vinegar. I’ve explained and outlined the steps for each of these remedies below.

Can You Restore Dull Ceramic Tiles?

You can restore ceramic tiles that have lost their original shine and luster due to dirt, dust, stains, or everyday wear and tear. Remove any soiling on the tiles then mop the floor using baking soda solution to clean and restore the dull-old-looking tiles in one go.

How to make tile floors shine without wax
You can use baking soda to remove stains on tile floors and make them shine without using wax.

There are a variety of other techniques to restore dull ceramic tiles too. It all depends on how dull and damaged they look and your personal preferences. Natural tile floor cleaners are safe and highly effective, so you can also consider trying the ones I’ve explained below if you don’t like using heavy-duty treatments.

What Makes Tile Floors Dull?

Common things that cause tiles to turn dull include everyday wear and tear, dirt and dust left by footwear, or masking by stains. Some glazed and polished tiles are sensitive to acidic substances that can react with the shiny top layer resulting in a dull finish. That’s not all.  Tile floors can also turn dull if tile sealers, which give tiles a high gloss finish, are exposed to some types of solvents.

How to Make Tile Floors Shine Without Wax

Wax is a popular option for shinning tile floors. However, you can save money and restore your tile flooring with natural homemade solutions that are wax-free.

Here are a few options to make your tile floors shine naturally:

1. Use natural vinegar to clean tile floors

Vinegar comes with many cleaning properties. Acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar tile cleaner, can dissolve soap scum, grease, dirt, grime, and mineral deposit, leaving the tiles much cleaner and shiner in the process.

Mix one cup of vinegar tile cleaner solution in water 1 gallon (4 liters) of hot water and stir to mix well. Mop the dull tile floor with the hot vinegar and water solution. Once the whole tile floor is mobbed with the solution, re-mob the floor thoroughly using clean warm water.

2. Clean dull tiles with baking soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an effective tile cleaner, especially for stubborn dirt, grout, and stains that make tile floors dull. It is a great natural alternative to using wax to restore the shine on tile floors.

Here’s how to make tile floors shine using baking soda:

  1. Make a paste comprising of two to three cups baking soda, warm water, and ½ cup of liquid dishwashing soap.
  2. Apply it to the tiles and leave it to stand for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Scrub the dull tile floor using a sponge or old toothbrush to help remove the stains.
  4. Soak a cloth in lemon juice and use it to wipe down the cleaned tiles.
  5. Rinse the tile with warm water and dry the surface to remove excess moisture.

3. Restore the shine using lemon

Lemon is also an excellent natural remedy for restoring the shine on your floor tiles. Use a spray bottle to spray lemon juice on your tile floor. Using a damp sponge or cloth, wipe the tile thoroughly until the glossy finish is achieved. Alternatively, soak the sponge or cloth in lemon juice for 10 minutes before wiping the floor tiles.

Lemon juice contains acidic components which might corrode tiles if left to stand for several hours. So, make sure you wipe up your tiles when they come in contact with lemon juice.

4. Clean the tiles with soapy water

Soapy water is surprisingly an effective tile floor cleaner. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap in 4 liters of water. Mob the floor with soapy water and use a soft sponge or brush to scrub the grout and stain spots gently. Leave the surface to dry to remove excess moisture.

Cleaning with soapy water is very effective on resilient flooring and ceramic tiles. Resilient flooring types are floors made up of materials such as vinyl, linoleum, rubber, and PVC. Don’t use soapy water on wood floors because moisture may cause warping.

5. Use ammonia and water mixture

The diluted ammonium solution is a common household cleaner, from making even the greasiest stains disappear to achieving streak-free shine on glass. It’s readily available anywhere, from the local store to online retail stores like Amazon.

Mix ½ cup of ammonium solution with 4 liters of water. Soak a sponge or mop in the solution and mob the dull tile floors. Let the floor sit for at least 10 minutes and then scrub the tough stains and grout with an old toothbrush. Rinse the floor with warm water and leave to dry. The ammonium solution will restore the shine on your tile floors.

6. Apply a high gloss tile sealer

Another way to make tile floors shine without using wax is to use a high gloss tile sealer. High gloss tile sealers are formulated from a water-based blend of acrylic polymers. Once your tile floor has been cleaned with the natural remedies above, you can apply a high gloss tile sealer to give your tiles a glossy finish without applying wax.

Besides giving your tiles a high-gloss finish, those sealers also make the surface stain-resistant and enhance moisture vapor transmission.

You need to choose a product that is compatible with your type of floor tile. Most high-gloss sealers are designed for stone tiles but you can find a good option for ceramic tiles. Keep in mind that regardless of their effectiveness, high gloss tile sealers fade over time.

Disadvantages of Wax Finish on Tile Floors

Waxing can work well to restore and maintain the shine of ceramic tile and other types of flooring. However, it breaks down quite easily with the small dents it leaves behind attracting a lot of dirt.

The process of removing wax is very extensive as it uses stripping agents to liquefy it. It is the difficulty in maintaining this kind of shine that can make you want to consider restoring dull tile floors without using wax.

Here are the main disadvantages of applying a wax finish on tile floors:

A wax finish works for selected floor types

One of the disadvantages of wax finish on tile floors is that it only works for selected floors such as hardwood, bamboo, concrete, and linoleum floors. Waxing cannot work on wooden floors, vinyl floors, and many other flooring materials.

Wax is difficult to strip off

One of the advantages of wax finish on tile floors is easier application. All you need is a wax applicator or soft lint-free cotton cloth to give your floor a gloss finish.

Unfortunately, wax finish is difficult to remove from the tile floor since it soaks into the floor. If you want to refine your wax floor finish, you will need to hire a professional to strip the wax fully from the floor.

Wax is not durable compared to other options

While waxes are notorious good for shining dull floors, they are not as durable as polyurethane. Polyurethane finish is a liquid resin formulated from crude oil and used to coat floors and other surfaces. The liquid is available in both oil-based and water-based options and comes in a variety of finishes from the gloss finish to the satin finish.

Wax is high maintenance

Another disadvantage of wax floor finish is that it needs regular maintenance. You need to reapply wax on your tile floor two times a year to maintain your floor’s gloss finish. Reapplication causes the buildup of wax which in turn may make your floor look increasingly dull.

A wax finish is vulnerable to heat

Last but not least, the wax floor finish is vulnerable to heat or fire heat damage. Extreme heat temperatures can melt the wax which might end up staining the wood tables.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Tile Floors Shine Without Wax”

  1. Please my floor tires is nylon face but the tiler use one chemical to clean it since then it make the tiles loose it shining. Please what can I use to make it restore it shine again


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