How to Clean Grout
How to Clean Grout and Keep It Clean
Grout is one of those subtle elements in your decor. When it is clean and in good shape, you barely notice it. Grout ties in your decor and makes your tile floors look polished and well taken care of. However, when it gets dirty or discoloured, it can make a floor look dated and unclean, no matter how many times you’ve actually cleaned the floor.
Cleaning grout is a little different than just cleaning your floor. Grout is harder to get at, and it’s harder to remove dirt and debris. When you clean your tiles, you are actually directing the dirt towards the grout, which can contribute to it being dirtier. You need to employ a specific approach and use the right tools and cleaning solutions to really clean grout thoroughly.
Here are some cleaning tips on how to clean grout easily and effectively.
The Right Cleaning Solutions
It might be tempting to use high-powered cleaners, especially if you have really dirty grout. However, bleach and other similar chemicals will damage grout and loosen the grout sealer, which will let moisture inside. Eventually, tiles will come loose and need to be repaired. Some cleaners may even stain grout. Similarly, harsh chemicals used to clean the grout can cause damage to the tile floor itself, especially if you’ve got stone tiles.
As a rule, use more gentle cleaners to start. Believe it or not, depending on how dirty your grout is, you may be able to clean it with some hot water, a stiff bristle brush, and a little elbow grease. A regular toothbrush will even do the trick. Scrub with force in a circular motion.
However, if you are dealing with something more complicated, like stained grout or mould and mildew, you will likely have to use something a little more heavy-duty.
Bleach and Baking Soda
For mould and mildew stained grout, or for other deep-rooted dirt, your best grout cleaner is probably already in your home. You can make a simple, effective whitening paste out of bleach and baking soda. To make this bleach solution, mix together ¾ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of bleach. Let it sit for about 30 minutes until it forms the consistency of a paste.
Apply this bleach solution to the tile grout and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Baking soda naturally dissolves residue and buildup, while the bleach will work hard at brightening and whitening tile and grout. After the time has elapsed, take your stiff bristle brush and scrub the grout vigorously. This will help to get dirt and grime loose, as well as force your cleaning solution further down into the grout to get it truly clean.
After you have scrubbed the grout well (this process usually takes about another 10 to 15 minutes), it is time to rinse the cleaning solution off. Use hot water and rinse the areas well.
Dish Soap and Water
If the problem that’s plaguing your grout is mostly because of grease, which is more common in kitchens and some commercial spaces, the grease-fighting action of dish soap can be helpful.
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of hot water and dish soap and mix well. Spray the cleaning solution on the grout and let it sit for a few minutes (up to about 10 minutes is advisable). Use a stiff bristle brush to scour and scrub the grout and tile. The dish soap is good at attacking and lifting out grease that will cause tile grout to discolour. Afterwards, rinse well with clean water.
Another effective grease-fighter is to use equal parts of hot water and lemon juice. The citric acid in lemon naturally dissolves grease and is an effective natural cleaner.
Commercial Grout Cleaners
If you aren’t having much luck with natural cleaning solutions, you can always purchase commercial cleaning products that are stronger and more effective. It is a good idea to test a small area of grout and tile first before you do the whole area to ensure that the chemicals won’t damage your tiles or grout. There are a wide variety of grout and tile cleaners to choose from, but going with one that has a lower concentration of bleach is advisable.
While you can always clean grout once it becomes dirty, you can make your job a whole lot easier by keeping it clean on an ongoing basis. Make a point of using lots of clean water to rinse away dirt when you are cleaning. Invest in high-quality grout sealer too.