How to Use Steel Wool to Clean Glazed Tile

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • pH neutral tile cleanser

  • White nylon bristle brush

  • Water

  • Silicone scraper

  • Stainless steel wool pad #0000

  • Distilled water

  • Old towel

  • Tile sealer

  • Disposable paint brush

Glazed ceramic tiles are hard-working and durable tiles that, with the proper care, can last a very long time. Glazing provides a protection against stains and creates a non-porous surface that can usually be wiped clean with a moist rag. However, there are times when an unusual stain mars the beauty and usability of a glazed tile, requiring your extra effort.

Step 1

Soak the tile and grout with water so that any porous areas will fill with water. This prevents stains from absorbing into these surfaces during cleaning. Then clean the tile surface thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar to remove all dirt and grit.

Step 2

Scrub the tile gently using a nylon bristle brush and a pH neutral tile cleanser directly from the bottle. You want to loosen or remove any portion of the stain possible at each stage in the cleaning process.

Step 3

Scrape the still soapy surface using a silicone scraper. These are designed to clean vulnerable kitchen surfaces and can be found where fine kitchen pots and pans are sold. Attempt to get under one edge of the stain and peel the stain off. It is likely the stain has not entered the tile but is sitting on top of the glaze. Rinse and remove any debris so that it cannot scratch the tile during further cleaning.

Step 4

Apply more cleanser and use a super-fine grade of stainless steel wool. Move the pad in a linear direction (not a circle). Use the pad only until an edge of the stain begins to lift, then move back to the silicone scraper. You may need to move back and forth a few times to remove the entire stain. Keep rinsing and adding more cleanser as a lubricant. If you rub the wool in circles it may cause a haze of very small scratches.

Step 5

Rinse the clean, glazed tile using distilled water; be thorough. Even stainless steel wool fragments can rust over time. The distilled water will not leave mineral spots. Dry the tile immediately with a towel to prevent other kinds of spotting or haze.

Step 6

Apply a sealer designed for your type of tile if there is any evidence that the tile is scratched or porous.


Be very careful to select a stainless steel wool pad, not a common steel wool pad.