My Porcelain Tiles Are Cloudy (Here’s What To Do)

Porcelain tiles are known for being low-maintenance, but in some circumstances, they can become cloudy and hazy.

What causes cloudiness in porcelain tiles, and how can you restore them to their original shiny appearance?

Your porcelain tiles may appear cloudy due to grout residue, detergent buildup, buff haze, improper sealing procedures, or loose dirt. Grout residue can be removed with a damp sponge, while some more stubborn causes of cloudiness may require scrubbing with dish soap, vinegar, or hydrochloric acid. If improper sealing procedures caused the cloudiness, the sealant must be removed.

Keep reading to discover more about the reasons your porcelain tile may look cloudy and how to effectively clean the haziness off of your flooring.

Why Does My Tile Look Cloudy?

There are four main reasons why your porcelain tile might look cloudy.

Grout Residue

Grout residue is frequently the culprit when tile appears cloudy. This is especially true if you recently installed new tile flooring and have noticed it seems to have a filmy or cloudy appearance. 

During the grout’s application process, it’s applied to the tile using a rubber float. Although it’s meant to go in between the tiles, it usually comes into contact with the entire tile surface. 

Grout is composed of a mixture of water, cement, and various minerals. If the tile flooring isn’t thoroughly cleaned after it’s installed, grout haze is very common.

This simply means that the minerals in the grout have been left behind on top of the tile’s surface.

If you use a homemade vinegar solution to clean your floors, you may also notice grout residue even if you didn’t recently have the tile installed.

Vinegar can cause some types of grout to soften and spread across the surface of tile flooring. 

Grout haze is usually quite easy to remove; you can restore the shiny surface of your tile by wiping the floor with a damp sponge, allowing the tile to dry, and repeating until the cloudiness is gone.

Detergent Buildup

Detergent buildup is another reason your porcelain tiles may look cloudy.

If you clean your tile flooring or apply floor finish with a previously-used mop and wringer, then leftover detergent can build up and create a sticky residue that makes the floor appear hazy.

Buff Haze

Using pre-treated dust mops can also result in a cloudy floor, commonly referred to as buff haze. To prevent this, don’t forget to let your pre-treated dust mops air out overnight before you use them.

Many pre-treated dust mop products come saturated with various oils. These oils can seep into your tile floor’s finish and sometimes into the tiles themselves. Luckily, airing out your dust mops can prevent this issue.

Improper Sealing Procedures

Although it doesn’t happen as frequently as some of the other reasons for cloudy porcelain tiles, improper procedures during sealing can lead to a hazy or cloudy appearance. 

For instance, if the tile wasn’t thoroughly cleaned before it was sealed, then any residue left on the surface will get trapped in the sealant.

This residue can range from footprints to grout haze, as well as protective coatings for shipping and dust from cutting tiles.

Unfortunately, if this is the reason behind your cloudy porcelain tiles, you won’t be able to remove the haze unless you remove the sealant altogether.

Loose Dirt

Sometimes, the answer to why your porcelain tiles are cloudy is as simple as the floor not being rinsed properly.

If you don’t sweep up all loose dirt before you mop, then you’ll likely see a thin layer of leftover dirt on the floor once it dries.

Fixing this is easy; just rinse the tiles with clean water and buff them dry with a cloth.

How Do You Clean Cloudy Porcelain Tiles?

If your porcelain tiles are cloudy due to grout haze, then the video below shows an easy way to remove them. 

However, if you’re dealing with a more stubborn haze on your tiles, then follow the step-by-step instructions below to polish your porcelain tile flooring. 

Note that if the haze and cloudy appearance are caused by incorrect sealing procedures, then polishing the floor won’t be enough; you’ll need to completely remove the sealer, thoroughly clean the tiles, and reseal the floor.

1. Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need a bucket, water, mild dish soap, a soft-bristled toothbrush or similar brush, a microfiber cloth, hydrochloric acid, vinegar, and several cleaning cloths.

2. Scrub The Tile

Mix a teaspoon of mild dish soap into a bucket of clean water. Use your soft-bristled brush dipped into the water to scrub the tiles. Move the brush in a circular motion.

3. Wipe Away The Leftover Dish Soap

Once you’ve scrubbed away the cloudiness from the tile, it’s time to wet a cloth and wipe off any leftover dish soap. If the haze is completely gone, wipe the floor dry with a cloth.

4. Tackle Persistent Stains

If the haze is still sticking around, mix one cup of water and three cups of vinegar. Scrub the tile with this solution and your soft-bristled brush. Next, wipe the tile clean with a wet cloth and then dry it off.

5. Remove Remaining Residue

For a particularly stubborn haze on your porcelain tiles, try mixing four cups of water with half a cup of hydrochloric acid. Use a cloth to wipe this mixture onto the tiles and allow it to sit for at least a half-hour. 

Next, clean the tiles with a wet cloth and dry them off.

6. Buff The Tile

Buff the tile with a microfiber cloth until it shines.


Grout residue, buff haze, loose dirt, detergent buildup, and improper sealing procedures can all make porcelain tiles appear cloudy.

You can typically remove grout residue with a damp sponge, but other causes of cloudiness may need to be scrubbed away with dish soap, vinegar, or hydrochloric acid.

However, if the cloudiness was caused by improper sealing procedures, it’ll be necessary to remove the sealant, thoroughly clean the tiles, and reapply the sealant.

Jessica Allen

Jessica is a freelance writer and editor who has years of experience writing about home improvement and interior design. When she’s not typing away in her office, you can find her doing yoga in her backyard or curling up with a good book.

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