How to Remove Watermarks on Ceramic Tiles

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Clean water marks from tile with acid-based cleaners.
Clean water marks from tile with acid-based cleaners. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Water marks -- caused by mineral deposits left behind by hard water -- are especially common in kitchens and bathrooms. Although not damaging to ceramic tile, water marks are unsightly, especially on dark-colored tile. The white film that is the mineral deposit makes your tile look dirty and grimy despite regular cleaning. They are, however, fairly easy to clean. Water marks are alkaline, so the best way to clean them off tile is with an acid-based ceramic tile-safe cleaner like most commercial lime and scale removers.

Things You'll Need

  • Lime and scale cleaner
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Grout brush
  • Tile squeegee
  • Sponge
  • Water

Coat the tile surface thoroughly with the lime and scale cleaner of your choice according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Leave the cleaner in place for five to 10 minutes to give it time to dissolve the water mark.

Scrub the surface of the tile with a nylon scrub brush. Scrub the grout and caulk surrounding the tile with a grout brush or an old toothbrush. Reapply the cleaner to tough to clean water marks if necessary.

Wipe the cleaner away with a tile squeegee; wipe tile walls from top to bottom.

Wipe the tile clean with a soaking-wet sponge; wipe tile walls from top to bottom.

Wipe the water away with a tile squeegee.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wipe away standing water whenever you notice it to prevent the buildup of more water marks.
  • Merry Maids suggests using any grocery store cleaner that contains phosphoric acid (between 4 and 6 percent).
  • Vinegar and lemon juice are mild acids and can be used in place of commercial cleaners to clean away light water marks.

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