While tile can be relatively easy to clean, cleaning grout can be a challenge. Grout is porous and usually light in color, which makes it prone to staining. In this article, we will discuss how to make cleaning it a little easier.
Depending on what room or rooms your tile is located determines the type of dirt your grout will absorb. While bathroom tile grout will collect soap, mildew, and mold, your kitchen tile grout will accumulate dirt from spills and grease. You can clean all of these areas, however, by simply using common household products.
It is important to start out with the mildest cleaning solution, and be sure to test an inconspicuous area first. A stiff-bristled brush and some warm water may be all you need, as long as you don’t mind using a little elbow grease. You can purchase a brush that is designed for cleaning grout at any home improvement center. Simply spray warm water on the grout and scrub in a circular motion and allow to air dry.
For stubborn dirt and mild stains, add some white vinegar to the warm water, with a ratio of one part water to one part vinegar. Let it stand for five minutes after spraying; then scrub with the grout cleaning brush.
If you want to do a little less scrubbing, make a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the grout, spray it with the vinegar water, then scrub after it stops bubbling. For a more powerful paste, you can substitute hydrogen peroxide for the water when making the baking soda paste.
There are times when you will need to bring a little more power to the party than common household products can provide. A lot of ground-in dirt, old or stubborn stains, or just that the grout hasn’t been cleaned in a long time may require a chemical method. Be sure to use any commercial product as sparingly as possible, however.
The first chemical remedy to try is an oxygen bleach. Most of them come in a powdered form and include Biokleen, Oxyclean, and Clorox Oxy Magic. Make sure the area is well ventilated and follow the directions on the package. Apply the solution with a spray bottle, and let the cleaner sit on the grout for ten to fifteen minutes. Dirt can easily settle back down into the grout lines, so be sure to rinse with plenty of clean water.
Commercial cleansers and chlorine bleach should be used as a last resort and used sparingly. These cleaners are caustic and can erode grout with any long-term use.
Steam cleaning is another alternative and a fast, efficient, and ecological way to clean your grout, because it simply uses the power of hot water and pressure to blast away the dirt. Be sure to choose a steam cleaner that offers plenty of pressure and heats the water to a minimum of 175 degrees celsius. Steam at this temperature will disinfect the grout.
Most steam cleaners come with a variety of brushes. Choose a brass or nylon one and attach it to the lance. The steam will be more condensed and exert more pressure to clean the grout. Start scrubbing and steaming the grout one small section at a time until clean. Use a clean rag to wipe off the residual dirt.
If you have finished cleaning the grout in a tile floor, remove the grout scrubbing brush from the lance and attach a floor cleaning tool to wash off any remaining residue. If you do not have a floor cleaning tool, you can wipe it up with a clean rag.
Once your grout is clean, disinfected, and stain-free, there some easy maintenance techniques you can employ to keep it that way, such as spraying it with vinegar and wiping it down once per week. You can also use rubbing alcohol to combat the mold and mildew that accumulates in bathrooms.
By following the above guidelines, your grout will look clean and fresh and should last for many years to come.