If you ever wondered what the secret is to clean and sparkling floor tiles, counters, and walls, the answer is very simple: grout cleaning. Dirty grout is what makes bathroom tiles look dirty and dingy. Tiles generally resist dirt, grime, and stains and are easy to clean—but what about grout? Grout is light-colored and porous and is prone to absorbing dirt, grease, and spills; because of this, it gets dirty and stained very easily.
Typically, dirt and grime are the main causes of stained and dirty grout in a tiled entry; in bathrooms, mold and mildew are the main culprits; and in the kitchen, spills are the key cause of dirty grout. Grout cleaning is vital for floors, counters, and walls so that they look sparkling clean.
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What Is Grout?
Grout is basically the porous material used by builders to fill in the spaces or cracks in between the tiles. Grout helps to create a smooth and solid wall, floor, counter, and backsplash. Cement grout is the most common kind of grout used, which is made by mixing cement and water. Sometimes, sand is added to this mixture.
Understanding how to clean grout not only extends the life of the tile in your home but also keeps it looking clean, beautiful, and appealing. Cleaning grout is extremely simple and you can clean grout and restore it by making use of common cleaning products that you have in your home and a little bit of effort.
Next we're going to run through a number of cleaning tips to improve your spring cleaning efforts.
Before You Begin
When you are starting out on your grout cleaning project, remember to use first the mildest cleaning product. Cleaners containing acid, or highly caustic cleaners such as vinegar or bleach, will not only corrode and destroy the grout but also erode the tile finish and cause them to lose their shine.
Sometimes, just using a cleaning brush and some hot water can do the trick and you can get your grout all cleaned up. However, if the grout is very dirty and stained, then there are many other cleaning solutions that are more effective for grout cleaning. However, if you are not really sure about a grout cleaner, then it is a good idea to test it out in a hidden spot such as the grout behind the toilet or under a kitchen appliance.
Things You Require
Here, we have listed the methods from the mildest to the strongest.
Hot Water and Brush
Start by spraying hot water on the grout and scrub it with a stiff bristle brush (you can also use an old toothbrush) to clean and remove any dirt from the surface. Scrub with the brush in a circular motion along the grout line as you spray the water. Let the grout area dry.
Vinegar and Warm Water
Vinegar is a great cleaning solution for heavy dirt and mild stains. If you want to know some ways to clean grout with vinegar, here are the instructions: In a spray bottle, fill half-and-half parts of warm water and vinegar. Shake the bottle and let the vinegar and water mix well. Spray the cleaning solution on the grout and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then, scrub clean using a stiff brush.
Baking Powder, Water, and Vinegar
If the grout you are cleaning is very dirty and grimy, you may want to add more power to your grout cleaning solution. Add some water to baking soda and make a paste. Cover the grout lines with the baking soda paste and spray the vinegar cleaning solution as prepared above. When the mixture stops foaming, scrub the grout with a brush and then rinse with plain water.
If the grout you are cleaning is moderately stained, then you may have to use hydrogen peroxide, which you can buy from any drug store. You can use the hydrogen peroxide straight on the grout to clean it.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
You can make a paste with 1-part hydrogen peroxide and 2-parts baking soda and apply this cleaning grout mixture directly. If the portion of grout that you are cleaning is exposed to oil and grease, then add a few drops of dish cleaning liquid to the mixture.
For grout that is really grimy and heavily stained, you can make use of oxygen bleach to clean the grout. This is usually available in powder form and some of the popular brands of oxygen bleach cleaner products are Clorox OxiMagic, Oxiclean, and Biocleen Oxygen Bleach Plus. Whichever brand you decide to use for cleaning grout, ensure that the area you are cleaning is well-ventilated for your safety.
Before you start cleaning grout with oxygen bleach, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow the directions closely. Apply the bleach solution to the grout for around 10–15 minutes and let it work. Rinse the grout using clean water so that the dirt and grime do not settle back into the clean grout lines.
In extreme cases of dirty and stained grout where none of the above cleaning solutions are effective in cleaning the grout, you can use chlorine bleach or commercial cleaners that contain chlorine to clean the grout.
You must make sure that you rinse off all the previous attempts to clean the grout, especially vinegar cleaning mixtures, before you use chlorine bleach or cleaning products that contain chlorine. This is because when the bleach mixes with even small traces of vinegar, it will produce chlorine gas, which is highly toxic.
These cleaners must be used very sparingly and carefully. The regular use of caustic cleaning solutions like chlorine bleach is not recommended because the long-term use of these cleaning products can erode the grout.
You can use steam cleaning to remove the worst dirt and stains from the grout. Steam cleaning is not only very effective but also an environment-friendly process of cleaning grout. In fact, steam cleaning is the best method of cleaning when it comes to any hard surface in your home. There are many brands of steam cleaners available in the market for household use.
Rinse with Water
Once you finish cleaning the grout using any of the above methods, mix in a few drops of mild dish soap with some hot water and using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe off the cleaning solution from the grout. Then, rinse the grout and tiles well with clean water.
Keeping the Grout Clean
Applying a grout sealer to the grout after cleaning is the best way to maintain all your hard work. The sealer helps to fill the grout pores and helps in keeping the dirt, dust, and grime out, maintaining a clean, neat look. However, wait for at least 24 hours and ensure that the grout is completely dry before you apply the grout sealer. The frequency for resealing the grout will depend on how much traffic there is in the specific area and the type of grout sealer you use.
You can keep the grout clean and free of stains by spraying it with vinegar and wiping it every week. Wiping the grout with some alcohol can help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Running a sponge or squeegee over the tile after each shower you take can help prevent the build-up of soap scum and mold and makes the bathroom shower tiles look clean and fresh. Just a little bit of maintenance can go a long way in saving you time and effort and keeping your home looking clean, shiny, and attractive.