How to Remove Stains From Ceramic Tile

Clean stained tile with a poultice.
Clean stained tile with a poultice. (Image: reflet image by pascal cribier from

Stains on tiled surfaces can sometimes be difficult to remove because ceramic tile is a porous material, and stains tend to become embedded deep in the tile. Typical spray cleaners and even abrasive cleaners don't always do the trick. A poultice or paste is sometimes needed to get deep in the cracks and eradicate stubborn stains.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean water
  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloths
  • Tile cleaner (optional)
  • Fuller's earth or other clay
  • Plastic wrap
  • Nonmarring tape
  • Soft sponge

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Clean the stained area with clean water. Dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. Apply a specially formulated tile cleaner if desired with a clean cotton cloth. Blot dry completely.

Wet the area with water. Make a poultice with 1 tsp. of Fuller's earth and 1 tsp. of water. Mix together. The paste mixture should resemble the consistency of peanut butter. Apply the poultice to the stain with your fingers. Make sure to cover all the edges of the stain.

Cover the pasted area with plastic wrap, and tape the edges with nonmarring tape. Let it sit for 12 to 24 hours.

After 12 to 24 hours, lift the plastic wrap to see if the stain is dry. If it is dry, scrape away the paste with a nonabrasive sponge. If the stain is not gone, repeat the poultice procedure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Various clays can be used as a poultice, including kaolin, Fuller's earth and diatomaceous earth. Cornstarch is another option for poultices. Always blot up spills when they happen to prevent stains from setting. Use coasters and hot pads to protect the tile surface.
  • Avoid scraping away the poultice with any sharp objects because these may scratch the surface.
  • For stubborn stains, consult a tile professional.


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