Cleaning Grout

Cleaning and Maintaining Grout.

The Basics of Keeping Grout Clean

The grout in between tiles is made from sand, cement and water. Dye is added if the grout is colored. Grout can become stained from food, mold, mildew, and dirt- The possibilities are endless.

No matter where your grouted tiles are located, you need to clean your grout regularly. Dirty grout makes the whole area look messy and nobody wants to have a grubby home.

Loosen Dirt

Before truly cleaning the area, use a sponge with plain, warm water to loosen and remove any surface dirt. You don’t need to scrub on this step. Just wipe away anything superficial. Dry the area when you are finished.

Grout Cleaner Recipe

There are dozens of commercial grout cleaning products on the market. Some work better than others. Most of these cleaners are laden with chemicals.

Personally, I try to use the least amount of chemicals in my home. I make my own grout cleaner and it works very well for me.

This is a cleaning recipe from the 1950’s. I know its old fashioned solution but why mess with something when it works. It’s easy to make and very inexpensive too.

Make a paste using baking soda and water. It should be the consistency of pudding so it does not readily drip or slide off of the tiles. The paste should not dry quickly. If it starts drying out, add more water. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar.

Cleaning the Grout

Apply the baking soda mixture and clean the grout with an old toothbrush or stiff scrub brush. Work the paste in using a circular motion.

Using a circular motion will get the debris and grunge out of the grout. Up and down scrubbing movement just pushes the grime onto a different area and isn’t super effective at getting the grout clean. You have to get into the cracks and crevasses from all angles.

After scrubbing the grout with the baking soda mixture, spray the area with the vinegar, scrub again then rinse with water.

For Tough Grout Stains

If the grout is in really bad condition, you may need to make a stronger cleaning solution. For really dingy spaces, I mix hydrogen peroxide with water. One cup water with one cup hydrogen peroxide is the ratio that works for me.

Dip a stiff toothbrush into the fluid. Scrub the grout until it is clean. You might need to let the solution soak the grout for tough stains. Do not use the peroxide mix on dark colored grout. It may permanently discolor it.

Mold and mildew that has discolored white grout can be quickly removed by spraying a mixture of 25 percent bleach and 75 percent water. The mold and mildew will virtually disappear before your eyes. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all remaining traces of bleach.

Now, if none of these tricks worked, you may have to purchase a heavy duty grout cleaner. These are relatively simple to use. Be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. Most commercial products contain a variety of chemicals so I would advise using rubber gloves and having proper ventilation.

Keeping Grout Clean

For showers, use a squeegee after showering, in between regular cleanings, clean showers every couple of days with a 4:1 mixture of water and white vinegar.

For floors, place mats at all entrances and sweep and mop often, especially in high traffic areas.

Most professional tile installers recommend having high traffic grout areas resealed annually; like high traffic floors, showers that are used daily, etc. For low traffic areas it’s recommended at least every two years.