Tips for Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta tiles.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-10
What You'll Need
Damp Mop
Professional Cleaning Products To Taste
Terracotta Tiles

Cleaning terracotta tiles is not as difficult a task as you might assume. Terracotta tiles are a popular form of tile used today in homes across the country. Their natural, rich amber color is sought by homeowners who like a warm, homey feel.

What Are They?

Terracotta, which means “cooked earth” in Italian, can be beautiful to look at. However, these types of tiles do need some care if you decide to have them in your home. When installed by a professional, terracotta tiles can be either used in their raw form or sealed with a glaze so they appear shiny. Terracotta tiles are produced from raw clay and are usually available in several color options. Terracotta tiles lend themselves to a Southwest or rustic style and simple appearance.

Here are a few tips that can help you to keep terracotta tiles looking their best day in and day out without too much effort.

Be Prepared

Before you start, have everything you need handy including brooms, brushes, water, damp mop, and professional cleaning products.

Wear Shoes

When mopping and wetting the floor tiles, be sure to wear rubber sole shoes so you do not fall. Terracotta, like most floor tiles, can become slippery when wet.


It’s important to remove anything that is laying around on the surface of the terracotta floor such as pet hair, baby toys, food, and dust. Use a broom with soft bristles and sweep the tiles thoroughly. Doing this on a regular basis may help keep the tiles clean on the surface and mopping to a minimum.


Use a soft rope mop or soft sponge head mop with warm water to clean when the floor starts to look dull or grimy. Do not use a metal mop head, which could potentially scratch and harm the terracotta tiles.

Professional Products

There are professional cleaning products on the market that are designed specifically for cleaning terracotta tiles. These products are usually available at home improvement and flooring stores. Or ask your tile installer what he recommends when cleaning the terracotta tiles.

Natural Alternatives

If you prefer the natural way to clean, try equal parts of white vinegar to a bucket of warm water and then mop the tiles accordingly. Vinegar is good for removing any oily materials or debris on the tiles and dries quickly.

Other Oils

If you have other stains such as water, you might want to try using some Linwood oil, also available at home improvement and flooring stores. Use a small amount on a slightly damp mop head after you are done washing the floor. Spread a light coat the oil evenly on the tiles moving from wall to wall. Then, let the floor dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it or replacing furniture.

Move all furniture and other accessories that might get ruined or covered in oil prior to using it.

Try to Avoid

Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals on the terracotta tiles; they could become permanently discolored or damaged if the wrong cleaning products are used. If you're in doubt, don’t use it.

As you can see, cleaning your terracotta tiles is not too difficult. Proper maintenance will ensure they will last for years to come.