smudges and paw prints on ceramic tile

lab-ratSeptember 6, 2011

My main floor is all ceramic 20X20 tile and the smudges are driving me insane. This is a new build house that we moved in last October. I have washed the tiles with every cleaner imaginable and can't get the smudges off. We have a dog but no kids that live at home and I wash these floors constantly. You can't see the prints and smudges when looking down at the tile but when you come in the front door, the sunlight bouncing off the tiles at an angle shows every print. Why won't they come off? Any ideas would be appreciated before I spend my complete existence trying to clean this floor.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Gloss tile shows everything. That's why you get matte if smudges drive you nuts.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Were the smudges there originally or just recently?
Since you can't get them off, I am wondering if it is a leftover grout haze?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for replying, the tiles are not gloss but have a slight sheen to them. I did not pick the tiles, they were already installed when we bought the house. The smudges and prints are on-going, we have a Golden Retriever. I do wipe her paws but they seem to leave prints, like bare feet prints from humans. The smudges are from her mouth when she lies down on the tile. Once the prints are there I can't get them off even after washing the floors with different products numerous times. Maybe eventually all the prints will meld together and I won't see them, I am starting to get obsessive about this. :-(

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sounds as though someone used a sealer on top of the ceramic to try to give it a shine or attempted to seal the grout with some type of mop or spray instead of just using an applicator just for the grout lines. Since ceramic isn't porous, all a sealer will do is sit there and get grungy looking. Try some ammonia in a small area and see if you can strip it back to the tile. If it's wax based, that ought to do it. If that doesn't work, it may need something like acetone to strip it. Or stronger chemicals. If the acetone doesn't do it, call a pro. You don't need to be messing about with nasty chemicals without a respirator.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dogs sweat through the pads of there paws.

They can leave prints just like a human on a glossy surface.

Unless you want to try and put some type of socks on the dogs paws, you may be stuck with the problem.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I spoke with the builder who then gave me the name of the store where the tile was purchased. It is actually a porcelain tile called "limestone mink". He said that he has sold tons of the tile and no one has complained about it. He will speak with the manufacturer and then will come out to the house to see what the problem is. Hopefully we can find a solution. Thanks for all the replies.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, Lab Rat.

Did you resolve your smudge problems on your porcelain tile? I ask because I have the same problem. Installed 20 x 20 porcelain tiles that we got from The Tile Shop. The dog prints and people shoe prints still remain after I wash the tile with a wet rag. I have e-mailed the folks at The Tile Shop and don't understand the problem I am having. They are asking for a picture. I but don't think I can capture this as I can only see this when looking at the tile with light behind it and I have to stoop to the right angle.

The tile is not glossy but has a slight sheen to it. I wonder if the manufacturer put on some wax finish on it for some reason?

I had ceramic tile before and no problems at all. I wiped the tile with a wet rag or even a dry rag to remove prints and no smudges ever showed up after.

What is up with this?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's not a sealer problem as mentioned and it is just dog paw grease, you may ant to get a Mint or Scooba robot floor cleaner. The Mint is very simple and easy to use works like a Bona mop only you don't have to push it around, the Scooba is a scrubber but you have to full/empty tanks.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, I can get this Mint or Scooba robot floor cleaner but the issue that I have is this - why can't I just take a wet rag, wipe up the dog prints or shoe prints, have the tile dry and not see them again? I have to use a scotch brite scubbie to take the prints off the porcelain tile. When I had ceramic before, all I did was wipe with a wet or dry rag and the tile was clean free of smudges. Now, the scrubbie takes off the prints but it leaves smudges.

I give up.
What is with this porcelain tile? The salesman at the tile store told me it cleans up just like ceramic. But it does not.

Does anyone know?


    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So you mean when you scrub it with a scrubbie sponge you get smudges I thought the smudges were from the dog. Could it be a chemical in the sponges, have you tried a microfiber cloth or mop with just vinegar and water instead?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is called Optical Hazing:

Optical hazing can occure due to several reasons.

Haze due to the polishing process:

This is the most common reason as porcelains are made from high quality kaolin clay blended with other high quality refactories and fluxes creating a very hard body. The harder the body and more uniform the vitrification the better the polishing process will create a flat smooth surface that can reflect light which we see as a polish or shine. When a manufacture forms a body with a llower content or poorer quality of kaolin the porcelain body will be more difficult to polish resulting in reduced reflectivity and hence a lower digree of polish. This can look like a hazy, cloudy look. In this case this is not a fault it is simply a manufacture creating a polished porcelain for a price. There is no real solution in this case because the quality of the clay will most likely not allow for improved repolishing. There is also another reason as some manufatures do not replace the stones when polishing and this can create uneven blemishes in the tile it look like circular grinding marks. Keep in mind some manufactures are applying nano type sealers and this can also cause a haze look to the tile.

The problems relating to hazy looking porcelain are restricted mainly to issues of how they are manufactureds such as kiln defects, polishing defects, quality of the clay and installation issues from grout haze, wax or even nano sealers. In turn optical hazing is not natural, it is from maunufactures making tiles for a price and giving out a brochure to an unhappy customer is just an effort that will hopefully make the customer go away. The goverment needs to look at this as there are so many people buying polished porcelain thinking they are going to get the shiny glassy look and the tile salesman just gives them a brochure after they complain.

Here is another link to Optical Hazing:

One would think the tile stores would put a warning on these tiles in their display area and on the tiles boxes. But if they did this, they would not sell any of these crappy porcelain tiles. What a shame.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, I guess I was not clear. I have 2 issues: 1) smudges and 2) dog prints and shoe prints that won't come off until I scrub them with a scrubby. Then the scrubby adds more smudges.

But the smudges that I am seeing (before I scrub with a scrubby) is this optical haze that I mentioned in the previous post.

Yes, I have tried vinegar and water with a microfiber cloth to remove dog prints and shoe prints. This does remove some of the prints but not all of them for some reason.

Today I am going to try ammonia and water. I heard the microfiber cloths do not work well when wet. Only when dry. And I am not going to go over my wet floor to dry it. That's ridiculous. I never had to do that with ceramic. I washed it with vinegar and water, it dried by itself and it looked beautiful. From ceramic I was able to remove dog prints with just wiping with a dry rag.

This porcelain tile is a piece of crap. It's junk made in China.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am new to this forum and have a very similar problem. In fact, the sheen is uneven across a given tile. It can't be cleaned off. Shoeprints have to be scrubbed, as you described. Also 20" glazed porcelain. Did you find a solution to this problem?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After ten months of going insane looking at my smudged White ceramic tiles, I finally have the answer. Fill your bucket with boiled water from the kettle mixed with a splash of metho. Wring your mop out well after every square meter of tiles cleaned. Once your done and the tiles have dried, use a spray mop filled with windex to give them a nice shine after a quick once over. I bought a spray mop at Kmart for $17. Best purchase ever! No more foot prints, smudges.. Just perfectly shiny tiles we can walk on without jeopardising my cleaning efforts. Hallelujah!!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2015 at 3:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad you found a solution. Tile should be the easiest to maintain of all floors!

What is metho? Sounds like it removed some type of film?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2015 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for sharing the solution to your problem. I may just try that on mine! In my case, after months of working with the installer and trying to figure out how to clean it, we decided to order a few new tiles to replace the worst ones. When they came in, they all had perfect sheen - glazing was consistent on every piece in the new batch. The real problem was that the lot of tiles that they gave us the first time were defective and not properly glazed. The installer didn't realize this until he saw them next to the 2nd batch that we ordered. This was too late because they were already installed. Now I'm just stuck with this defective tile that shows every footprint. It always looks dirty. What a ripoff! But now I will try your trick and see if it works on mine. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 6:11PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Has anyone used Wicanders Vinyl Comfort flooring?
I'm really struggling to find the right floor for my...
Need help open area flooring (great room, kitchen).
Hello, please help. I am looking for flooring that...
Travertine Flooring
Trying to find out more info on Travertine flooring....
Redoing '80's bedroom/bathroom/hallway and looking for flooring ideas
Purchasing a house with wall to wall blue carpet in...
trying to figure out vinyl vs wood laminate Help !
I am new to using anything other than real wood......
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™