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How to Clean Slate Tile Floors

The floor of this room is covered in multi-colored square slate tiles. Each tile features a unique mix of brown, gray, tan and deep golden tones.

Cleaning your slate tile floor is a simple process, but it must be done carefully. By using the right tools and cleaning solution, you will ensure your slate tile floor is cleaned effectively and safely without risk of damage.

What You'll Need

  • Soft bristled broom or vacuum with soft hose attachment
  • Bucket
  • Gentile dish soap or commercial stone tile cleaner
  • Soft mop
  • Soft, clean towel (optional)


How to Clean Slate Tile Floors

Step 01 of 05: Dry Cleaning

Begin by sweeping the floor thoroughly with a soft-bristled broom or vacuum it using the soft brush attachment to remove loose dirt and debris. Pay close attention to the grout lines, where dirt tends to accumulate.


Step 02 of 05: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Add a few drops of mild dish soap to a bucket of warm water or prepare a commercial cleaner specifically formulated for natural stone surfaces.  If using a commercial cleaner, closely follow the instructions on the product label. Do not use acidic cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice, or harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as they can damage the slate.

Always test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the floor first to check for discoloration or etching.


Step 03 of 05: Mop the Floor

Dip a soft mop into the cleaning solution, wring it out thoroughly so it's damp but not soaking wet. Excessive moisture can seep into the slate and cause issues, even when it is properly sealed. Mop the floor in sections, following the grout lines. Rinse the mop frequently in clean water to prevent spreading dirt around.


Step 04 of 05: Rinse with Clean Water

Once you've mopped the entire floor, take clean water in a separate bucket and use a clean mop to rinse away any cleaning solution residue. This prevents a film from forming on the slate after drying.


Step 05 of 05: Drying

Allow the floor to air dry completely. You can also use a clean, soft towel to speed up the drying process, especially in areas with high moisture.

Slate Tile Floor Cleaning FAQs

  • Can I Steam Clean My Slate Tile Floor?

    We highly recommend against ever steam cleaning your slate tile floor. The high heat from steam mops can damage the slate's sealer. Sealers protect the stone from stains and moisture, and without it, your floor becomes more susceptible to staining and water damage.

    Steam cleaning can also cause the slate to crack or flake, a condition called spalling. This can irreparably damage the slate, requiring it to be replaced.

  • Are Slate Floors Hard to Maintain?

    Overall, slate floors occupy a middle ground in terms of maintenance. While they require regular resealing every few years to maintain their shine and durability, they can otherwise be easily maintained with proper care. Regular cleaning, prompt attention to spills, and periodic resealing, will keep your slate floors looking beautiful for many years.

  • What Is the Best Product to Clean Slate Floors with?

    The best product for cleaning slate tile floors is one that has a neutral pH level. Homemade cleaning solutions that combine a few drops of dish soap and water are popular for quick cleaning jobs. For a more thorough clean, we recommend using a commercial stone cleaning product.

    It is important to never use an acidic cleaner on your slate tile floor. For example, many homeowners tend to think of vinegar as a universal cleaning agent. However, using vinegar on slate tiles is highly likely to cause serious damage.

    As with every type of material, it is always a best practice to test your cleaner on an inconspicuous area before using it on the whole surface. Always follow manufacturer instructions when using commercial cleaners.

  • How Often Should You Seal Slate Floors?

    Most slate tile floors should be resealed every 3-5 years. In areas that see higher foot traffic, the sealer may wear off sooner and resealing may need to happen as frequently as every 1-2 years.

    To check if your slate needs resealing, you can do a water test: Pour a small amount of water on the tile. If the water beads up, the seal is still good. If the water soaks in and darkens the stone, it's time to reseal. Use a penetrating sealer designed for natural stone, following the product instructions carefully.

  • How Do You Rejuvenate Dull Slate Floors?

    Rejuvenating dull slate floors usually just takes a thorough cleaning. Following the steps outlined above should have your slate tile floor looking fresh.

    If your slate tile floor is still dull after a regular cleaning, commercial deep cleaning products designed to be used on stone tile can help. These cleaners are able to safely remove years of dirt buildup that can cause slate tile floors to lose their luster.