Keep Your Subway Tile Shining With These Tips

Amber glass vase holding delicate white flowers on a marble countertop, set against glossy white subway tiles and gold faucets.

Subway tiles are known for their wide horizontal format and iconic association with the New York City subway system. They have surged in popularity for modern kitchen and bathroom designs because of their sleek lines and smooth finish, making them a versatile choice for a wide range of applications. To preserve their pristine appearance, it is essential to focus on the tile surface and grout, so here are some practical tips to ensure your subway tiles remain gleaming for years to come.


Chrome rain showerhead against sleek, glossy light gray subway tiles, creating a modern and clean bathroom look.

Best Practices For Keeping Subway Tile Showers Spotless 

Incorporating ceramic or porcelain subway tile into your bathroom is a brilliant way to achieve a sleek, modern aesthetic. Their versatility allows them to seamlessly blend with your decor or serve as a striking accent, depending on your chosen color. Whether you opt for subway tiles on your shower walls or bathroom floor, you'll appreciate their ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Consistency is key to keeping your shower tiles looking pristine. Many people fall into the trap of waiting until visible dirt or wear appears before cleaning. By this point, the tiles have often been neglected for too long, making the cleaning process more challenging.

The primary concern with subway tiles is not the tile surface but the grout. Over time, grout can become dirty and grimy, leading to discoloration, scum buildup, and mildew. This issue is especially pronounced in bathrooms, where moisture and dampness are prevalent. Without proper ventilation and regular cleaning, grout can quickly become a breeding ground for mildew.

Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule and promptly addressing grout issues can keep your subway tile shower fresh and inviting. It's also wise to seek professional advice or follow the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure you're using the best cleaning methods and products for your specific tiles. By doing so, you can preserve the beauty and longevity of your subway tiles.


Earthy green tiles providing a natural backdrop for a wooden body brush and Meraki hand cream, creating a serene spa-like atmosphere.


Best Cleaning Solutions For Subway Tile Care 

White vinegar is a top choice for cleaning subway shower tiles and grout. Unlike bleach or many commercial cleaners, it is non-toxic, won't stain or damage nearby textiles, and effectively prevents mildew growth. It also disinfects and deodorizes the tiles, leaving your bathroom smelling fresh and clean as the vinegar odor quickly dissipates.

A solution of white vinegar and warm water is also highly effective for colored grout. Commercial cleaners might not always be safe for colored grout and could strip away the color, leading to the need for retiling, a costly and inconvenient process. Sticking with a vinegar solution ensures your grout remains vibrant and intact.

Remember, it's always a wise move to seek professional advice or follow manufacturer recommendations. This ensures the longevity and appearance of your subway tiles, giving you peace of mind in your tile maintenance journey.


uxurious bathroom featuring forest green subway tiles in the shower, a freestanding white tub, and large windows with scenic mountain views.


Best Practices For Managing Mildew On Subway Tile Shower Floors

Maintaining a clean, mildew-free bathroom starts with cleaning your subway tile shower floor. To facilitate this, ensure your shower floor is slightly angled to direct all water toward the drain. Proper drainage is essential; without it, water can pool in crevices, creating ideal conditions for mildew and bacterial overgrowth that can discolor the grout.

Mildew and bacterial growth can result in persistent grout discoloration. Managing this often requires using bleach to whiten the grout, which can sometimes lead to discoloration of the adjacent tiles.

If regular cleaning doesn't keep the grout pristine, don't worry. You have the power to tackle this issue with a more intensive method. Create a paste with baking soda and water and scrub the grout thoroughly. Then, enhance the cleaning process by spraying white vinegar. This method is not just effective, but it also ensures a sparkling, mildew-free shower floor, giving you the confidence to maintain your bathroom's cleanliness.

Remember, for the best results, always consider seeking professional advice or following the manufacturer's recommendations for both your tile and grout. This will help maintain the appearance and longevity of your shower floor tile.


Glossy sage green subway tiles create a soothing backdrop, enhanced by lush green leaves, perfect for a serene and stylish space.



Maintaining the beauty and cleanliness of your subway tiles is achievable with consistent care and the right cleaning methods. By focusing on both the tile surface and grout, you can prevent discoloration, mildew, and grime buildup. Regular cleaning using safe, non-toxic solutions like white vinegar ensures your tiles remain pristine and your bathroom smelling fresh. Incorporating these best practices into your cleaning routine, along with professional advice and manufacturer recommendations, will help preserve the longevity and appearance of your subway tiles, keeping them a shining focal point in your home.


Elegant dual shower setup with gold fixtures, featuring vertical striped tiles in shades of beige, gray, and white, adding a sophisticated touch.


Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) 

Below are some frequently asked questions about maintaining subway tiles.

Disclaimer: These suggestions are based on common practices, but it's always best to follow the manufacturer recommendations for your specific tiles.

What are subway tiles?

Subway tiles, typically made of ceramic or porcelain, are rectangular tiles often used in kitchens and bathrooms for flooring and backsplashes. 

Why is the grout important in subway tile maintenance?

Grout can become dirty and grimy over time, leading to discoloration, scum buildup, and mildew, especially in moist environments like bathrooms. Regular grout cleaning is essential for maintaining the overall appearance of your tiles.

How often should I clean my subway tiles?

It's recommended to clean your ceramic or porcelain subway tiles every other day to prevent mildew growth and keep the grout pristine, especially in bathrooms and high-moisture areas.

What is the best cleaning solution for subway tiles?

A solution of white vinegar and warm water is highly effective for cleaning subway tiles and grout. Vinegar is non-toxic and prevents mildew growth without damaging the tiles or grout.

Can I use commercial cleaners on colored grout?

Commercial cleaners may not always be safe for colored grout and could strip away the color. Using a vinegar solution is a safer alternative to maintain the vibrancy of colored grout.

How can I prevent mildew on my subway tile shower floor?

Ensure your shower floor is slightly angled to direct water toward the drain, preventing water from pooling in crevices. Regular cleaning and proper ventilation also help prevent mildew growth.

What should I do if my grout is already discolored?

If regular cleaning doesn't restore the grout's color, create a paste with baking soda and water, scrub the grout, and then spray with white vinegar. This method effectively removes discoloration and mildew.

Can bleach be used on subway tiles?

While bleach can whiten grout, it may discolor adjacent tiles and is not recommended for regular use. Non-toxic alternatives like vinegar are safer and equally effective.

Should I seek professional advice for subway tile maintenance?

Yes, consulting with professionals or following manufacturer recommendations ensures you use the best cleaning methods and products for your specific tiles, preserving their longevity and appearance.

Are there any preventive measures for subway tile maintenance?

Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, ensuring proper ventilation, and using non-toxic cleaning solutions like vinegar can prevent issues like mildew and grout discoloration, keeping your tiles looking pristine.

Is there a way to visually check how new subway tiles will look in my space before replacing old or worn-out tiles?

Yes, our AR technology allows you to visualize the tiles you've chosen in your own space before making a decision. This tool helps you ensure the new tiles will complement your existing decor perfectly.

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Modern kitchen featuring a sleek black faucet, wine cooler, and vertical beige subway tile backsplash, with natural light streaming in through large windows.
Dual rain showerheads frame a wall of vertical striped tiles in shades of beige and grey, adding a touch of elegance to this modern bathroom.