8 Things to Remember When Using a Floor Scrubber to Clean Tile

can you use a floor scrubber on tile

Tile floors are a popular choice for both residential and commercial spaces. They are durable, easy to maintain, and come in a variety of styles. However, keeping tile floors clean can be challenging. Dirt and grime can settle into the grout lines and make the tiles look dull. Many people wonder if using a floor scrubber is a good idea for cleaning tile floors. This article explores the use of floor scrubbers on tile, the types of floor scrubbers available, the benefits and drawbacks, and how to use them effectively.

See Also: Steam Cleaning Tiles: A Professional Guide

Understanding Floor Scrubbers

Floor scrubbers are cleaning machines designed to clean and polish floors. They come in various types and sizes, from small handheld units to large industrial machines. These devices use brushes or pads to scrub the floor, combined with cleaning solutions to remove dirt and stains.

Types of Floor Scrubbers

There are several types of floor scrubbers available:

Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers

Walk-behind scrubbers are pushed by the operator. They are suitable for medium to large areas and can handle different floor types, including tile. They have a scrubber head that rotates brushes or pads, and a squeegee to collect the dirty water.

Ride-On Floor Scrubbers

Ride-on scrubbers are larger and more powerful. The operator rides on the machine, making it easier to cover large areas quickly. They are often used in commercial settings like shopping malls and airports.

Compact/Handheld Scrubbers

These are small, portable units ideal for cleaning tight spaces or small areas. They are easy to maneuver and perfect for residential use.

Robotic Floor Scrubbers

Robotic scrubbers are autonomous machines that clean floors without human intervention. They are programmed to navigate and clean specified areas, making them ideal for consistent cleaning in large spaces.

Can You Use a Floor Scrubber on Tile?

Yes, you can use a floor scrubber on tile. However, it is essential to choose the right type of scrubber and brush or pad for your specific tile floor. Not all tile floors are the same, and different materials may require different cleaning methods. Here’s a closer look at using floor scrubbers on various types of tile floors:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very durable and can handle the scrubbing action of most floor scrubbers. These tiles are resistant to moisture and stains, making them ideal for wet cleaning methods.

Natural Stone Tile

Natural stone tiles, such as marble, granite, and slate, require more delicate care. Some stones are softer and more porous than others. Using the wrong type of scrubber or brush can damage the surface. It is crucial to use a soft brush or pad and avoid acidic cleaning solutions that can etch the stone.

Vinyl and Linoleum Tile

Vinyl and linoleum tiles are also commonly found in residential and commercial spaces. These materials are more delicate than ceramic and porcelain but can still be cleaned with a floor scrubber. It is essential to use a gentle brush or pad and a cleaning solution specifically designed for vinyl or linoleum.

Benefits of Using a Floor Scrubber on Tile

Using a floor scrubber on tile floors offers several advantages:

Efficient Cleaning

Floor scrubbers can clean large areas quickly and efficiently. They reduce the time and effort required to scrub floors manually.

Improved Hygiene

Scrubbers are effective at removing dirt, grime, and bacteria from tile floors. This is particularly important in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where hygiene is crucial.

Enhanced Appearance

Regular use of a floor scrubber can help maintain the appearance of tile floors. Scrubbing removes stains and restores the shine of the tiles.


Investing in a floor scrubber can save money in the long run. It reduces the need for professional cleaning services and extends the lifespan of the flooring by keeping it in good condition.

Drawbacks of Using a Floor Scrubber on Tile

While there are many benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

Potential for Damage

Using the wrong type of scrubber, brush, or cleaning solution can damage tile floors. It is essential to choose the appropriate equipment and products for your specific tile type.

Initial Cost

Floor scrubbers can be expensive, especially high-quality models. However, this initial investment can be offset by the savings on professional cleaning services.

Learning Curve

Using a floor scrubber requires some training and practice. Operators need to learn how to handle the machine properly to avoid damaging the floor or the scrubber itself.

How to Use a Floor Scrubber on Tile Floors

To get the best results from a floor scrubber, follow these steps:

Choose the Right Scrubber

Select a floor scrubber that is suitable for your tile type and the size of the area you need to clean. For example, a walk-behind scrubber is ideal for medium to large areas, while a handheld unit may be better for smaller spaces.

Select the Appropriate Brush or Pad

Different brushes and pads are designed for different floor types. For ceramic and porcelain tiles, a medium to hard brush or pad is suitable. For natural stone tiles, use a soft brush or pad to avoid scratching the surface.

Use the Right Cleaning Solution

Choose a cleaning solution that is safe for your tile type. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners, especially on natural stone tiles. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting and using the cleaning solution.

Prepare the Floor

Before using the floor scrubber, sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose dirt and debris. This prevents the scrubber from spreading dirt around and ensures more effective cleaning.

Operate the Scrubber

Fill the scrubber’s solution tank with the diluted cleaning solution. Turn on the scrubber and begin cleaning. Move the scrubber in a systematic pattern to cover the entire floor. Overlap each pass slightly to ensure thorough cleaning.

Rinse the Floor

After scrubbing, it is important to rinse the floor to remove any remaining cleaning solution and dirt. Some scrubbers have a built-in rinse function, while others may require you to rinse the floor manually with clean water.

Dry the Floor

Use the scrubber’s squeegee to remove excess water and speed up drying time. Alternatively, you can use a wet vacuum or mop to dry the floor.

Inspect the Floor

After cleaning, inspect the floor to ensure all dirt and stains have been removed. If necessary, repeat the scrubbing process on stubborn areas.

Maintenance Tips for Floor Scrubbers

To keep your floor scrubber in good working condition, follow these maintenance tips:

Clean the Scrubber After Use

After each use, clean the scrubber’s brushes, pads, and tanks. Remove any dirt or debris and rinse the parts thoroughly.

Check for Wear and Tear

Regularly inspect the scrubber for signs of wear and tear. Replace worn brushes or pads to maintain effective cleaning performance.

Store Properly

Store the scrubber in a dry, cool place when not in use. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or moisture, which can damage the machine.

Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

Adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines and schedule. This includes regular servicing and replacing parts as recommended.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When using a floor scrubber on tile floors, avoid these common mistakes:

Using the Wrong Brush or Pad

Using a brush or pad that is too abrasive can scratch and damage tile floors, especially natural stone tiles. Always use the appropriate brush or pad for your tile type.

Using Incorrect Cleaning Solutions

Using the wrong cleaning solution can damage tile floors and grout. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners, particularly on natural stone tiles.

Not Preparing the Floor Properly

Failing to sweep or vacuum the floor before scrubbing can result in less effective cleaning and potential damage to the scrubber.

Over-Wetting the Floor

Using too much water can cause damage to certain tile floors and grout. Use the scrubber’s water control features to avoid over-wetting.

Neglecting Maintenance

Not maintaining the scrubber can lead to reduced performance and a shorter lifespan for the machine. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential.

Special Considerations for Grout Lines

Grout lines are often the most challenging part of cleaning tile floors. They can easily trap dirt and stains, making them look discolored. Here are some tips for cleaning grout lines with a floor scrubber:

Use a Narrow Brush

Some floor scrubbers come with narrow brushes specifically designed for cleaning grout lines. These brushes can effectively reach into the grout lines and remove dirt.

Pre-Treat Stains

For heavily stained grout lines, pre-treat the area with a grout cleaner before using the floor scrubber. Allow the cleaner to sit for a few minutes to break down the stains.

Use a Steam Cleaner

For deep cleaning, consider using a steam cleaner in conjunction with the floor scrubber. The steam can help loosen dirt and grime from the grout lines, making it easier for the scrubber to remove.

Seal the Grout

After cleaning, apply a grout sealer to protect the grout lines from future stains and dirt. Sealing the grout can make it easier to keep clean.

Environmental Considerations

Using a floor scrubber can be environmentally friendly if done correctly. Here are some tips to minimize the environmental impact:

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Choose cleaning solutions that are biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals. This reduces the environmental impact and is safer for your health.

Conserve Water

Use the scrubber’s water control features to minimize water usage. Avoid over-wetting the floor, which can lead to water wastage.

Proper Disposal of Waste Water

Dispose of the dirty water from the scrubber’s tank according to local regulations. Avoid dumping it down storm drains, which can lead to pollution.

Regular Maintenance

Keeping your floor scrubber in good condition ensures it operates efficiently, reducing energy consumption and prolonging the machine’s lifespan.


In conclusion, you can use a floor scrubber on tile floors, but it is essential to choose the right type of scrubber, brush, and cleaning solution for your specific tile. Floor scrubbers offer many benefits, including efficient cleaning, improved hygiene, and enhanced appearance. However, there are also potential drawbacks, such as the risk of damage and the initial cost of the machine. By following proper usage and maintenance guidelines, you can keep your tile floors clean and in excellent condition. Regularly cleaning and sealing grout lines can also help maintain the overall appearance of your tile floors. With the right approach, floor scrubbers can be a valuable tool in your cleaning arsenal.

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