How to Care for and Clean Tile Countertops

Whether your home is new or a few decades old, you may find tile countertops as part of your kitchen's design. While tile was more popular for countertops in the '60s and '70s, it has always been a low-cost option for kitchen renovations and is even coming back into style recently. For instance, since large slabs of granite are generally quite expensive, many people will choose to use granite tiles when remodeling a home to sell, then still being able to market it as having trendy granite countertops:

What Makes Dirty Tile Countertops Difficult to Clean?

Because the grout in tile countertops is rarely flush with the surface of the tile, particularly as it ages and recedes, dirt, grease and other kitchen debris often settle into those grooves. White grout usually fades to a dingy gray or brown over time. If you succeed in scrubbing the filth away, you may also damage the grout, and stains will only set in quicker the next time.

Can I Successfully Clean Tile Countertops?


First, you should observe whether the grout needs replacing. If the grout is cracking or has receded a great deal, you will need to redo it. You can purchase grout at your local home improvement store, and it will usually have step-by-step instructions on the packaging. You will also need a bucket, trowel and sponge to do the work.


If grout is only stained and otherwise in good condition, you may try scrubbing it with a gentle bleaching agent and sponge or melamine foam pads to bring it back to its original color. However, beware that harsh cleaning chemicals and abrasives can damage the grout, making it more prone to future staining and cracking.

Going Green:

If you are concerned about your cleansers' environmental impacts, you can make your own using common household ingredients. The two-step process of spraying with a vinegar-and-water mixture and then scrubbing with baking soda has the added bonus of neutralizing any odors. Hydrogen peroxide provides a whitening effect with little damage to the grout. Borax is another great option that prevents mold, and your everyday dish detergent can help with stubborn grease stains.

Should I Hire a Professional?

Unless you need to re-grout, cleaning your tile countertops does not usually require professional expertise. On the other hand, the amount of scrubbing required to make your grout look new again is extremely time-consuming, so you will need to decide if it is worth your time to do it yourself. If you do need to re-grout, a professional may then be your best option to achieve the results you want.

A great alternative to cleaning your tile countertops, especially if you were considering hiring professional tilers to do it anyway, is to let a well-trained professional replace them instead. For a low, wholesale-level cost, you can have your dream kitchen installed instead of compromising on old, dingy tile countertops.