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Can You Use Carpet Cleaner on Tile Floors or Not?

Can you use a carpet cleaner on tile floors? This is a common question in the minds of many households. 

A carpet cleaner is a great cleaning tool that removes stubborn stains and picks up dirt and grime from many surfaces like carpets, furniture, car upholstery, etc. But the question is, can you use it to clean your tile floor as well.

Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On Tile Floors?

Unfortunately, carpet cleaners are not recommended to be used on tile floors –  neither ceramic, porcelain, granite nor vinyl – or hardwood floors. The reason is that a carpet cleaner is specifically designed to clean only soft surfaces like upholstery, mattress, etc. Cleaning a tile floor with it will damage your floor.

As a normal household, you would surely have more than one type of flooring in your house. Usually, the bedrooms, stairs, and living areas are carpeted, while the kitchen and the bathrooms have tile flooring. You might also have some hardwood flooring in some of the areas in your house. 

Now if you already have bought a carpet cleaner, you might be wondering, “can I use it to clean tile floors as well”? This is a natural thought since you would not want to spend extra money to buy another cleaning machine.

can you use a carpet cleaner on tile floor

Why You Can't Use Carpet Cleaner On Tile Floors?

  1. Carpet cleaners have hard bristle brushes that are designed to agitate the carpet pile. These hard bristles make vigorous strokes on the surface to go deep into the fibers and unearth all the dirt, debris, and hair strands. 
  2. If you try to clean your tile floors with it, the hard scrubbing will leave streaks on your floor and put scratch marks all over it. The reason is that the tiles are shiny and delicate surface. So, any hard bristles rubbing and scrubbing against it will damage it. 
  3. Another reason for not using a carpet cleaner or shampooer on a tile floor is the cleaning solution used in these cleaners. Some cleaning solutions may not be suitable for the tile floors because the chemicals used in these solutions will take away the shine and will discolor the grout as well. 
  4. And the way the carpet cleaner sucks up the dirt and solution back from the surface may not work as intended on the tile floors, leaving behind the solution. This residue will make a dirty mess, especially in the grout – resulting in further grout discoloration.

Tile Floor Cleaning Machine

So, if you cannot use a carpet cleaner to clean your tile floors then what should you use instead? Because dirty tile floors cannot go ignored, it is important to keep them clean and tidy. 

Following are the types of cleaning machines that can be used to clean tile floors. 

Vacuum Cleaners

Traditional vacuum cleaners can be used to clean tile floors. Some vacuum cleaners come with soft brush rollers and hard floor settings. These are specifically designed to cater to hard floor cleaning needs.

Care should be taken while choosing a vacuum cleaner to clean tile floors because hard roller brushes and attachments that are made for carpets and upholstery should not be used on tile floors. This will leave streaks and scratches on the surface. 

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Another way to clean your tile floor is to use a robot vacuum cleaner. A robot vacuum cleaner works the same way as any traditional upright vacuum cleaner but the difference is that the robot cleans your house autonomously. An advanced robot vacuum can create multiple interactive maps of your house, you can set a cleaning schedule and the robot vacuum will start cleaning at that time without you having to worry about it. 

Some robot vacuum cleaners also come with a mopping feature, like iRobot Braava Jet M6,  which is ideal for cleaning tile floors. 

Wet-Dry Vacuums

Wet-dry vacuums, as the name suggests, have a dual mechanism of action. They not only pick up dust and debris but also can suction up water as well. Wet-dry vacuums usually have 2 tanks, one each for clean water and dirty water. Most wet-dry vacuums are multi-surface compatible. They can clean carpets as well as hard floors. This type of vacuum is also best suited for commercial use

Steam Mops

Steam mops can also be used to clean tile and hard floors. These mops scrub the floor with a help of just one button. These mops use steam, which is created by heating up water, to scrub and clean the floor. This steam is quickly evaporated, leaving behind a streak-free, shining surface.

Spin Mops

A spin mop is an advanced form of a traditional mop and bucket. These mops, as the name suggests, have a spin feature in the bucket that saves you from the worries of manually wringing and extracting the extra water or the cleaning solution you are cleaning the tile floor with. This spinning feature removes all the extra solution from the mop, resulting in less accumulation of moisture in the tile grout. 

Microfiber Mops

If you want a light cleaning on your tile floors, a microfiber mop is a handy tool. This will also bring a nice shine to your tiles. Microfiber mops are cheap and easy to clean with. You can dip the microfiber into a cleaning solution if you want to get rid of stains. 


We hope, after reading this complete guide, you would have got a better idea of why you should not use a carpet cleaner on tile floors and what are the alternative tools for this purpose. It is always a good idea to first spot-test any cleaning device or solution before starting cleaning with it. This will give a good idea of whether to use a particular machine or solution on any surface. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner the same?

No, a carpet cleaner or shampooer and a vacuum cleaner are both different. A carpet cleaner is used to treat stains, mostly on soft surfaces, while a vacuum cleaner is used to pick up dust, fluff, hair, and other dry debris from the surface. 

Can I use a carpet cleaner as a vacuum?

Carpet cleaners are designed to treat stains from carpets, rugs, and furniture upholstery using a cleaning solution. Although it has the ability to vacuum the cleaning solution, it should not be used as a vacuum cleaner just to pick up dry debris. 

Is a wet/dry vacuum the same as a carpet cleaner?

A wet/dry vacuum and a carpet cleaner can be compared with each other because they both have the ability to suck up liquid – water or cleaning solution, but they both are not the same. A carpet cleaner pushes the cleaning solution deep into the carpet and agitates the pile using a hard bristle brush. This helps in deep cleaning. A wet-dry vacuum, on the other hand, does not have the ability to deep clean. 

Do steam cleaners really clean grout?

Yes, steam cleaners are perfect to clean grout. The hot steam goes deep into the crevices and pores of the grout. This loosens up all the dust, grease and grime clamped deep into the surface. Once the grout is exposed to hot steam, cleaning up all the mess becomes easy. 

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