Need to know how to clean grout? We can help! You’d never guess that grout is what keeps tiles in place. One of the most common places to find grout is inside a modern bathroom.
The tile that is held in place by grout is usually quite easy to clean, durable and beautiful. However, cleaning the grout that holds these tiles together is not anywhere near as glamorous, and in some cases, it’s downright difficult! In case you didn’t know, grout is actually a construction material.
It’s frequently used to embed masonry walls and seal joints. It’s used often to fill the gaps between tiles, which is why there is a good chance you have some in your bathroom.
Most forms of grout are a mixture of color tint, sand, cement and water. It’s not uncommon for grout to contain fine gravel. After it’s applied as a thick emulsion, grout will harden over time.
One of the greatest benefits of grout is its waterproofing capabilities. When used to hold tiles together, it provides a watertight seal, so it’s especially useful for bathroom tiling.
The Problem with Cleaning Grout
Grout actually has a porous composition and light coloring, so it’s especially prone to staining. Grime and dirt can overtake the grout in your home, and if you don’t know how to clean it, you’re going to be stuck living in a very unappealing home.
The grout in your kitchen is more likely to be overtaken by spills while bathroom grout is likely to suffer from grime and dirt. Mildew, mold and soap can really beat up the grout in a bathroom.
The good news is that you that clean all of the grout in your home with some common household cleaning agents and some effort. Whenever you’re cleaning anything in your home, you should always start off with the mildest cleaning agent first.
If you have any particular doubts about a specific cleaner, you can spot test it first. Keep in mind that you have several different choices when it comes to cleaning agents for grout.
Starting Off With a Mild Cleaner
You should start off with a stiff-bristled brush and some water. A local hardware store should have plenty of stuff-bristled brushes to choose from if you don’t have any on hand.
In fact, most stores will have brushes designed specifically for this purpose. To clean with water and a brush, just spray warm water along the grout lines and use the brush to scrub them in a circular motion.
If you’re dealing with some mild stains and heavy dirty, go ahead and grab some vinegar to use. You can use a half and half solution of warm water and vinegar.
Spray the solution on the grout and allow it to sit for about five minutes before wiping it up. White distilled vinegar should work well.
For Stronger Cleaning Power
If you need some stronger cleaning powder, make a paste from baking soda and water. Just cover the grout lines with the paste and spray the vinegar solution onto it. The mixture will foam really well, and when it’s done, scrub the grout with a brush and rinse with regular water.
Tackling Moderate Stains
If you haven’t cleaned the grout in a while, there is a good chance that it has some hefty stains on it. To tackle moderate stains, you’ll want to use some hydrogen peroxide. You can mix baking soda with the peroxide and use it as a paste, or you can just clean with straight hydrogen peroxide.
Tackling Tough Stains
If you have some REALLY grimy grout and tough stains, you can clean it with oxygen bleach. This product is usually sold in powdered form.
Some of the common brands are Biokleen, OxyMagic, Clorex and OxyClean. To use these powerful chemicals, all you need to do is read the manufacturer directions. As a safety precaution, make sure the area you’re working in is ventilated well.
You should give the oxygen bleach solution anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes to work before you start rinsing. Make sure to use clean water when rinsing and don’t allow the dirty water to settle back onto the grout.
Environmentally Friendly and Natural Options
One of the best and naturalist ways to clean grout is with a steam cleaner. In fact, you can use a steam cleaner to effectively clean MANY areas of your home.
A quality steam cleaner from Hoover should do the trick nicely. You can also make a homemade grout cleaner that can clean well.
This solution can clean the kitchen, bath and shower. For this solution, you’ll need ¾ cup baking soda, 1.4 cup bleach and an old toothbrush or scrub brush.
Simple mix the solution into a paste and apply it to your grout. It will work its magic over the span of 15 minutes, but you should scrub it for a minute or two after the 15 minutes have passed. Rinse with water and you’re done!
Tips for Cleaning Grout
First, you should always wear rubber gloves. Most of the chemicals used to clean bathroom grout tiles are very harsh, such as bleach. You should either wear a respirator or make sure the room you’re working in is ventilated very well.
To prevent irritation to your eyes, make sure to wear safety glasses. Also, try to use a washcloth that you don’t mind getting bleached because there is a good chance it will become discolored.
Before using any of these methods, you should make sure to do some preliminary cleaning. It will pave the way for the real cleaning. For easier overall cleaning, pour whatever cleaning agent you plan to use into a spray bottle. Make sure to work on small areas at a time, such as a 1 to 2 square foot area.
An old toothbrush can work very well as a grout cleaner, and it’s very inexpensive. For bonus cleaning, steam clean the grout after you’ve scrubbed and washed it with one of the solutions mentioned above.
In case you didn’t know, maintenance is just as important as the cleaning. To maintain the grout that you’ve finished cleaning, make sure you always clean up spills immediately.
Allowing things like orange or cranberry juice to sit on your grout for extended periods of time will leave some nasty stains. You should immediately wipe up spills with a wet rag and make sure to remove every last bit of the spill.
Even dry spills can leave nasty stains, so make sure to clean up all spills right away. If you clean the grout inside of your home more often, you won’t have to clean as hard later on.