Like many of us, you probably would give anything for a simple and easy solution for cleaning tile grout throughout your home. Typically, dirty grout is the main culprit standing between a lackluster floor, wall or counter and a dazzling one. While tile is less prone to stain, the grout lines in between the tiles are porous and will absorb grease, grime, oils and spills they come in contact with. Learning how to clean grout will extend the life of your tile and keep it looking its best.
Tile is durable and generally easy to clean. For most types of tile, including ceramic and porcelain, warm water and dish soap will do the trick. Grout, on the other hand, is a different story. In an entryway, dirt and grime stain the grout. In a kitchen, spills are to blame. Soap, mold and mildew dirty the grout in a bathroom. Luckily, there are solutions for cleaning grout in any part of your home.
Before You Start
As with any cleaning project it’s always a good idea to begin with the mildest cleaning solution. Diluted vinegar is a common recommendation, but vinegar, like bleach, is very acidic and will corrode and damage grout, as well as tile finishes, over time. Amazingly, cleaning grout with just some hot water and a brush will do wonders. For deeply stained grout, there are effective grout cleaners that you probably have on hand. If using commercially prepared cleaners, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
How to Clean Grout
To begin with the mildest solution, you will need a stiff-bristled brush, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. An old toothbrush works well for this, and for extra scrubbing power, use an electric toothbrush.
Avoid using a metal brush, as it will scratch the tile and could loosen pieces of the grout. Follow these steps to a cleaner floor:
- Prep the area – Begin spraying the grout with hot water and scrubbing with a brush to remove surface dirt and grime. As you spray and scrub, follow the grout lines in a circular motion. A steam cleaner will also clean grout.
- Mix cleaning solution – Make the cleaner paste with two parts of baking soda and one-part of hydrogen peroxide. If the area is exposed to grease add a few drops of dish soap.
- Apply solution – Use a grout brush or old toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout lines. Let the paste sit for 15 minutes.
- Begin scrubbing – Using a stiff-bristle brush, scrub the grout lines to lift up any dirt trapped in the pores.
- Rinse tile – Mix a few drops of dish soap with hot water, and rinse the tile using a sponge or cloth. Wipe up any remaining paste.
- Dry & Seal – Let the grout air-dry for 24 hours, and then apply a silicone-based grout sealer.
Stubborn Grout Stains
For hard to remove stains, you can also use sandpaper. Fold the sandpaper, and work the creased edge back and forth along the grout line. A pencil-top eraser is another option. Rub the eraser back and forth across the stained grout line. Rinse thoroughly with hot water. The Tile Council of America recommends alkaline cleaners, such as Mr. Clean or Spic and Span, over acidic options. If you are using a Magic Eraser, you might need more than one to complete a room.
Keeping Grout Clean
To keep grout clean, we recommended applying a silicone-based grout sealer. A sealer fills the pores of the grout and resists future stains and dirt. A sealer should be reapplied every two years, or more frequently if the grout is in a high-traffic area. Clean grout improves the look of any room and helps extend the life of your tile.
Wayne Wiles offers a vast selection of floor coverings and never sacrifices quality for low cost. From carpet to hardwood floors, the Wayne Wiles team can offer advice on up-to-date trends and provide estimates for a variety of brands and products. When choosing Wayne Wiles, customers can be assured that they will get the best possible installation services time and time again. Contact us to schedule a free flooring estimate at (239) 204-5700.