How to make dull ceramic tile shine

How to make dull ceramic tile shine

Your natural tile helps make your flooring and bathrooms look great.
Unfortunately, over time it can lose its luster thanks to grime, dirt, and wear. If you want your tile to regain its natural sheen you’ll need to learn how to clean and polish ceramic tile.
You may also want to apply a wax or high gloss sealer to provide extra protection and a gloss finish.

What is ceramic tile?

Ceramic tile is typically made from red or white clay and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. They’re used throughout the home and provide a great-looking and durable option when it comes to tiling.

Unfortunately, they aren’t without their flaws. Ceramic tile can decline over time and lose its luster due to a range of reasons including: 

  • Abrasion and weathering
  • The build-up of dirt and grime
  • Acidic solutions degrading the surface of polished or glazed tiles
  • The decay of high gloss tile sealer, whether through abrasion, UV damage or the effect of chemicals in cleaning supplies
  • The build-up of cleaning solution within the tile

In order to keep its shine ceramic tile will need to be maintained, especially if it’s outside or in an area of high traffic.

How to clean ceramic tile?

It sounds too good to be true. In fact, soapy water is a surprisingly effective tool when it comes to cleaning ceramic tile.

Just use regular dish soap, a mopping bucket, and a sponge or soft mop. 

Try not to add more than a few tablespoons of soap to the bucket. Then be careful when using a sponge mop or depositing too much grimy water into your grout. Grout is a higher porous material and can take up stains easily if unsealed. Remember to change your water often.

Clean using a solution of ammonia and water

Ammonia solution is an effective and readily available cleaning supply.

You’ll likely want to open a window and wear gloves when handling ammonia.

Mix around half a cup of ammonia in a gallon of warm water. Then take a mop or sponge and apply the solution, being mindful not to apply too much to the floor. You don’t need to drench the tiles.

Next, take a toothbrush or a larger softer bristled brush if needed and work the ammonia into the grout and tiles. 

Rinse the ammonia solution off your floor with clean water and then leave the floor to dry. This should help to restore the shine on your dull ceramic tile.

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How to seal a tile floor

How to clean ceramic tile floors with vinegar

Vinegar is relatively acidic due to the presence of acetic acid. This acidity makes vinegar a good option for dissolving soap, grease, oil, and dirt. 

When cleaning a ceramic tile floor with vinegar we need to use it carefully. While the pH of vinegar should not damage glazed or unglazed ceramic tile it might affect the grout. For this reason, we want to use a dilute solution.

Take a gallon bucket of water and add one or two cups of vinegar.

Then take a mop or sponge and, after wringing out the excess apply it to the floor.

Once the whole floor is done, you can wash the floor with clean, warm water. Then leave it to dry.

Can you put wax on ceramic tile?

If you were wondering how to polish ceramic tile floors perhaps one of your first thoughts was wax. Floor wax is a commonly used product that covers the surface of your tile and provides added protection as well as a glossy, reflective finish.

However, it’s a high-maintenance solution.

When you put wax on ceramic tile, you’ll need to reapply it once or twice a year to ensure it keeps its shine and to avoid marks appearing.

This in itself can provide problems as wax that is too thick can look dull and unsightly.

You’ll also need to consider the fact your wax may need to be removed at a later date. While floor wax is easy to apply, stripping wax is a challenging process that will likely require a hired professional to completely remove. 

Using a high gloss sealant

A high gloss sealer can be used after the tile has been cleaned thoroughly. It doesn’t only provide a shiny finish but also acts to protect the tile and grout from water penetration and weathering.

The benefits of sealing a tile floor include:

  • Easier maintenance
  • A choice of finish for example satin, matte, or gloss
  • Added chemical and abrasion resistance
  • UV stability

The problem here is finding a sealant that will work with your ceramic tile, glazed or otherwise.

Most sealers, especially deep penetrating sealers are designed to work on natural stone or highly porous materials. Ceramic, especially glazed ceramic tiles are impermeable enough that most sealers simply will not adhere.

If you use an ineffective floor sealer on your tile you will find:

  • It will peel off very quickly
  • Cleaning and weathering will cause it to flake
  • You won’t benefit from deep penetrating sealers simply because they didn’t absorb into the tile.

As a result, you’ll need to make sure you find a high gloss tile sealer that will work with your ceramic floor tiles.

Using Rexshield Tile

When trying to make your dull ceramic tile shine again Rexshield Tile is a simple solution.

It acts to provide deep penetrating and superficial protection to your tile as well as a glossy finish.

It also means you no longer have to worry about conventional sealers failing to adhere or flaking after cleaning.

Rexshield Tile comes in a sprayable bottle and can be applied to both clean tile and grout without problems. To ensure adhesion, the proper steps are recommended:

  1. Lightly scuff the wet tile with 80 grit sandpaper
  2. Clean the surface with a non-residue cleaner such as Rexpro’s Safety Clean
  3. Wipe surface dry and apply denatured alcohol or 95% or higher isopropyl alcohol
  4. Apply RexShield Tile with a pump sprayer and wipe it down smooth with a microfiber flat mop

The result is a permanent protective solution and gloss finish that will last for years to come.

If you’d like to learn a little more about the Rexshield solution to dull tile or purchase a sample kit click here.


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RexPro Sealers & Coatings

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