How to Pressure Wash Tile(Bathroom,Floor,Kitchen,Pool)

Tiles are a great addition to any part of your home. They look fantastic and have a comforting feel underfoot. Tiles are also straightforward to maintain and clean. However, if you don’t regularly clean your tiles, they can suffer permanent scratches and damage, or the grout could become ugly and destroyed. Pressure washing is one of the best and more thorough ways to clean tiles.

How do you pressure wash tile? Pressure washing tiles should be done carefully. Whether you are pressure washing the tiles of pools, kitchens, bathrooms, or flooring, you need to follow these steps to make sure that you clean the tiles safely: 

  1. Set up the pressure washer in a safe location
  2. Start with the lowest spray pressure
  3. Work from the top down; away from the pressure washer 
  4. Avoid weak sections of the tile 
  5. Complete a thorough cleanup

Whether you are thinking about using a pressure washer for your pool, kitchen, or any flooring in your house, this article will give you the step by step information you need to clean your tiles. Read on to find out more about the types of tiles in various places in your home, how to prep them to be washed, and the steps you need to take for pressure washing tiles. 

How to Pressure Wash Bathroom Tiles?

One of the most sensitive places to clean tiles is in the bathroom. Not only do you need to worry about damaging grout, but you need to clean around fixtures, wallpaper, and paint while remaining in an enclosed area. You may be able to use a pressure washer to clean your bathroom tiles. However, the trick is to do so carefully and gently so that you don’t damage the flooring or make a mess in the process of cleaning. 

What are the Steps to Pressure Wash Bathroom Tiles? 

You will need to follow the steps provided to do a thorough and safe job of cleaning the bathroom and bathroom tiles with a pressure washer:

  1. Set-up and location of the pressure washer: Depending on whether you are using a gasoline-powered or an electric powered pressure washer, the set-up of where the machine is located will be different. 
    • Gasoline-powered pressure washer – When you set up the pressure washer for your job, there is an additional step if the job is inside, and you are using a gasoline-powered pressure washer. You need to make sure that the pressure washer is placed outside and not near any intake fans for the building. Carbon monoxide can build up in dangerous levels if you use the gasoline-powered pressure washer inside.
    • Electric-powered pressure washer – Generally, electric pressure washers should be kept away from the job site area to minimize any water getting on the electrical components and causing damage to the machine or electrical shock. Also, make sure any power or extension cords are well away from the job so that they do not get wet from run-off water. Finally, set-up the electric power washer where it will not be in direct sunlight, if possible, to minimize the chance of overheating. 
  2. Start with the lowest spray pressure: The job of cleaning tile and grout with a pressure washer is a delicate one. The pressure setting can be adjusted on pressure washers with a dial. Set it on the lowest pressure setting and work your way up if you need a little more pressure. It is better to start light and then add strength gradually instead of damaging the tile with too much pressure at first.
  3. Add A Fan-Tip: You can adjust the spray to be less damaging to tile by attaching a fan-tip that will spread the pressure of water. Never use the pin-point nozzle setting to clean tile as this can undoubtedly damage the grout and even loosen tiles. 
  4. Start spraying from the top down: Spraying from the top down allows the water and debris to fall and saves you time on the cleanup process. There are two methods of pressure washing for the two angles you will probably be washing: horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Vertical Surfaces: Walls

  • Start cleaning from the top of the wall below the corner.
  • If there is a downslope below the wall, then spray across the wall in that direction to influence where most of the water run-off goes.
  • Spray across a half-foot section and then go back over the part.
  • Always spray downwards or to the sides, never directly onto the surface of the wall. 
  • Use even and quick passes over the tile as you work your way down the wall. 
  • Avoid the corners where the wall joins the floor, the ceiling, and other walls. 
  • If the wall needs additional cleaning, repeat the process above. You may want to get a little closer or move across the wall with the spray a little more slowly. 

Horizontal Surfaces: Ceilings and Walls

  • Start cleaning from the closest place to a wall. Make sure you rinse away from the direction of the pressure washer if there is a downslope where you are standing near the pressure washer
  • Move over the floor or ceiling in even quick passes as you work
  • Spray at a forty-five-degree angle and keep the spray pointed to the side. 
  1. Spray six-inch portions of tile: Once you have done several passes on the six-inch piece, move on to the next six-inch part. This is to ensure that you get complete coverage that is even all around the tile in the bathroom.
  2. Complete a thorough cleanup: To clean up thoroughly and safely, you need to follow a few steps that will ensure that the pressure washer is taken care of, and the pressure washed work area is allowed to dry.
  • Turn off the pressure washer and unplug it (if it is electric).
  • Carry the water supply hose carefully outside. There may be water still in the tube, so keep the nozzle pointed upwards.
  • Using a cloth, wipe down the entire area that was cleaned. You may want to have a small bucket with water to collect debris. 
  • Dry the floor with a towel (if you are inside).

Tips to Remember:

  • Try to get all water and debris into the bathtub basin, if possible. Make sure that the drain is plugged, and a small plastic sheet is covering the drain for easy cleanup.
  • The pressure of the water is too powerful for latex or rubber caulking around the joints of the tile walls. Stop pressure washing several inches away from these joints.
  • Only spray downwards or side-to-side to keep a clean surface working your way from the top to the bottom of the wall. 

How to Pressure Wash Shower Tiles? 

The tile in a shower is much like the tile in all of a bathroom. You need to be careful and follow safety precautions because of the cramped space of the bathroom. Following the steps detailed in the ‘How To Pressure Wash Bathroom Tile’ section will be helpful for shower tile. The only difference will be that you may not have a bathtub basin to spray the debris into, so you will want to work to only spray in a downward motion.

Since shower tiles need to hold up to water, there are fewer options that the shower surface and walls can be made out of. You can be pretty sure that the tile type in your shower is able to be pressure washed as long as it is not damaged already. If you want to double check, look at the list of tile types at the end of this article. 

Is It Safe to Pressure Wash Bathroom Tiles? 

Shower tiles need to hold up to water, so there are fewer options that the shower surface and walls can be made out of. However, you can be certain that they are safe to pressure wash if they are not damaged. Since the bathroom is a tight space without much room for maneuvering or angling the pressure washer, there are a few steps that you should take as precautions before beginning to pressure wash bathroom tiles. 

  • If using a gas-powered pressure washer, always place the machine outside in a well-ventilated space. 
  • Set the pressure dial on the lowest level. You can add more pressure if you need it.
  • Try to get all of the debris and water to drain into the bathtub basin to avoid injury or slipping. 
  • Use an extended water hose for more maneuverability.
  • Wear a mask and protective glasses since you will be washing in a tight space. 

How to Pressure Wash Pool Tile?

Pool tile is another common type of tile that you can use a pressure washer to clean. The annoying thing about pool tile is that you can keep excellent care of your pool, and hard water deposits at the water line can still appear. 

The calcium comes from minerals in “hard” water, and according to the Association of Pools and Spas, “hard” water is needed in pools since water with fewer minerals like calcium would damage fixtures and metal housings. 

Since pool tiles are almost always submerged under water, there are fewer options for the types of tiles that can be used and you can be sure that they are safe to pressure wash, as long as they are not already damaged. 

What are the Steps to Pressure Wash Pool Tiles? 

Hard water and the calcium deposits that come with it are inevitable for any pool. Using a pressure washer is a great option to clean pool tile and can be done by following these steps:

  1. Clean the pool: Cleaning out the pool with a skimmer to get any debris like sticks or leaves is going to make your work around the inside edge of the water line much more manageable. Also, remove the floating chlorinator (if you have one) and remove any chairs or flotation devices from the pool deck as the water is hot and may spray up onto them.
  2. Angled Nozzle: You could always walk around in the pool and use the pressure washer from that angle. However, if you don’t want to get wet or go swimming while pressure washing, you can purchase an angled nozzle for your pressure washer, which will allow you to pressure wash the calcium deposits from the tiles at the water line of the pool from the pool deck. 
  3. Pressure setting: It is always best to set the pressure low and allow for about thirty seconds of pressure washer use on one area of pool tile before deciding if you can safely turn up the pressure without damaging the tile and grout. Work the spray over the section of about six-inches for a time of thirty seconds and see.
  4. Work on sections: To make sure you get full coverage of all tile surfaces, work in small sections while you clean the calcium deposits from the pool tile. This is to save you time by ensuring that the part is completely cleaned before moving on. This step will save you the time and effort of having to go back and re-clean sections that you may have missed.

How to Pressure Wash Living Room Tile Floors? 

The living room is described as “the temple of the soul” by English designer, Sir Terrence Conran. This is the place for entertaining, dancing, and get-togethers. So, the tile floor had better look good! Since the living room is walked on constantly, the tiles are generally stronger. However, they may not be impervious to water and need to either be sealed, or dried quickly after pressure washing. 

Some of the tiles used in living room floors may not hold up to water. Make sure to check the tile types at the end of this article to check and see if you have a living room tile type that is safe to pressure wash. 

What are the Steps to Pressure Wash Living Room Floor Tiles? 

Here are a few steps for how to prep, pressure wash, and clean up a tile living room floor.

  1. Remove and cover the furniture, artwork, or appliances and electronics: Before you pressure wash in the living room, you need to do some prep work to make sure that nothing inside is water damaged. It is better to remove items than cover them with plastic. If you have to use plastic drop cloths, attach to the items with blue painters tape to avoid them blowing up and away from the wind of the pressure washer.
  2. Tape off outlets and turn off any unneeded power in the room: Since you will be working with water, it is recommended to place a plastic covering and tape over any power outlets. Also, turning off the power from the fuse box to the entire room is a reasonable safety precaution. Finally, use rubber-soled boots to minimize the chance of electrocution.
  3. Use drop cloths on hardwood or carpet: The odds are the tile flooring in your living room is near other floorings that will not respond well to pressure washing, such as carpet or hardwood. To clean around these areas without worrying about spray and water damage, tape down drop cloths at the perimeters of these floor types.
  4. Spray one direction sideways and away: While you are cleaning sections of the living room tile with your pressure washer, make sure to aim to debris in one direction. This should preferably be in the portion of the room that has a downward slope (if possible). Avoid up and down movement as this will spread the debris back towards your feet and make cleaning up much more difficult.
  5. Remove the hose and pressure washer: Once you are all done, roll up the hose and attach it securely to the pressure washer machine. Wheel the machine outside and away from the cleaning site. If you used a gas-powered pressure washer, bring the hose to the outside where the machine is located.
  6. Clean up debris and dry the area: Using a wet cloth, wipe the debris that is leftover on the tile into a pile. Sponge up the debris into a bucket and discard it. Use a dry cloth and wipe down the floor around any sensitive places like wood footboards, carpet, or hardwood floor.

How to Pressure Wash Kitchen Tile? 

Kitchen tile can get dirty quickly. The grime that can build up in kitchen grout is a combination of many different things that a traditional cleaning just can’t handle. Using heated pressure washing is an excellent option for cleaning kitchen tiles. 

Since the kitchen is both function and aesthetic, there may be tiles that are not ok to pressure wash. See the first section of descriptions of tiles that are not ok to pressure wash.  Check the list at the bottom of this article to double check if you have a tile surface that is safe to pressure wash before beginning. 

What are the Steps to Pressure Wash Kitchen Tiles? 

If the tile is on the floor, you can follow the same steps as the section ‘How To Pressure Wash Living Room Tile Floors.’ If the tile is on the walls of the kitchen, take extra special care to tape off and cover appliances. Also, only spray in a side to side and then downwards direction to make sure that all debris makes it onto the floor for clean up.

What are the Different Types of Tiles? 

Tiles are used throughout the home, but not all tiles are the same. Some tiles are great for high traffic areas, while others are more for decoration. Other tiles are not great for areas where there is consistent water.

The following is a description of different types of tiles and where they are used: 

Natural stone

The roughness of natural stone looks medieval and usually has a porous surface that is not typically waterproof. Before pressure washing natural stone, you may want to seal it with a waterproofing coating. Common areas where you may find natural stone tiles are: 

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms

Ceramic/Porcelain

Since ceramic tiles are made from clay baked at high temperatures in a kiln and then glazed, they are generally safe for pressure washing. You want to be careful of decorative ceramic or porcelain tiles that have small decorative edges within the glaze as these may be damaged by pressure washing. Common areas where you may find ceramic or porcelain tiles are:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Showers
  • Pools
  • Living room floors

Glass

Glass tiles are waterproof, so there is no need to worry about pressure washing them. The fact that they are not as strong as other tiles may make them more often than not placed on walls or even ceilings. Common areas where you may find glass tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Pools
  • Showers
  • Bathrooms

Marble

Marble is another type of natural stone that can be porous if not adequately polished and treated with a stone sealer. Common areas where you may find marble tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Living Floors
  • Bathrooms
  • Showers

Granite

Granite is one of the most durable tiles. The unique designs in granite make it beautiful without added decorative design. Typically, granite does not need to be sealed before you pressure wash it. Common areas where you may find granite tiles are:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Showers
  • Pools
  • Living room floors

Limestone

Limestone is a softer natural stone material that tiles can be made out of. The softness of this tile needs to be honed and sealed before it can be pressure washed. Common areas where you may find limestone tiles are:

  • Kitchens

Metal

Metal tiles are popular for rustic looking bathrooms. The metal is usually stainless steel and does not typically need to be treated before pressure washing. Make sure to clean and dry quickly after pressure washing to avoid any unwanted oxidization. Common areas where you may find metal tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Living room floors
  • Bathrooms
  • Showers

Terra-cotta

Since terra-cotta is created at low temperatures and is not very hard, it cannot be pressure washed. If treated with a stone sealer, it may be able to be used in the bathroom, but is not recommended for pressure washing. Common areas where you may find terra-cotta tiles are:

  • Kitchens

Travertine

Travertine is a multi-layer stone tile that is made from limestone and dissolved minerals in groundwater. It is not recommended for pressure washing unless it has thoroughly been sealed with a stone sealer because the multiple layers are delicate and can chip. Common areas where you may find travertine tiles are:

  • Kitchens

Cement

Cement tiles are incredibly durable concrete and sand/mortar mix. They can be waterproofed and are easily pressure washed. Common areas where you may find cement tiles are:

  • Living room floors
  • Kitchens
  • Showers
  • Bathrooms
  • Pools

Saltillo

Since saltillo is dried but not fired in a kiln, it absorbs water readily and is not recommended for pressure washing. Common areas where you may find saltillo tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms

Slate

Slate is hard and rough. The texture is the best part about slate, which is naturally slip-resistant. To keep this intact, be careful while pressure washing slate. Common areas where you may find slate tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms

Quarry

Quarry is a softer material that should be sealed with a stone sealer before pressure washing to avoid damaging the looser grains of material in the tile. Common areas where you may find quarry tiles are:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms

What Are The Best Electric Pressure Washers? 

Once you decide on gasoline or electric pressure washers, you will want to shop around and look at the best pressure washers for any job. Some of the best pressure washers for tile include electric pressures washers because they are easier to use inside, and you do not need to use as much power on the tile. Too much force or gallons per minute can damage tile and grout. 

A few of the best options are listed below: 

  • Sun Joe SPX3000 2030: At almost 2 gallons of water per minute, this is one of the most powerful of the electric pressure washers, so you can use it for more heavy-duty jobs after cleaning your tiles. Hot or cold, this pressure washer can be used with intake water of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Sun Joe has the best warranty at two-years full coverage, “no questions asked.”
  • Greenworks GPW1602: This little green pressure washer is versatile because of its lightweight. At sixteen pounds, this is one of the lightest electric powered pressure washers on the market. Also, the Greenworks 1600 can be used positioned vertically or horizontally so that the machine is always stable.
  • TEANDE MR3800: The TEANDE is one of the most powerful electric pressure washers that you can buy. At 2.8 gallons per minute, this pressure washer is capable of handling any job that you throw at it. The reel for the hose makes cleaning up easy, and the Total Stop System makes using the pressure washer very easy to stop and start, saving your energy.

Final Thoughts

Using a pressure washer to clean tile can be done if you use the right pressure and nozzle tip. Since tile is a delicate material held together with grout, you want to start on a gentle pressure setting and work your way up. Never pressure wash damaged tile or grout as this could cause even more damage to the tile and even layers of wall and floor beneath the tile. Most indoor jobs are best for an electric pressure washer, so choose wisely and give your tiles the best look that they have had in years!

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