Tile installations are a relative dream to clean. Their composition allows them to naturally resist dirt, grime, and stains. For the most part, you just need to mop with a good floor cleaner. The same is true for countertops or wherever you have tile in your home.
However, there is one part of tile cleaning that is NOT a dream. And if you don't do it, or don't do it right, your tile will look dirty-no ifs, ands, or buts.
Yep, we're talking about the grout. The grout in that small crack between your tiles is porous so it stains and looks dirty easily. To make matters worse, it is often a light color so even a tiny bit of dirt shows up in a big way.
Never fear! We are here to show you how to clean grout the right way so your tile installation will shine.
Let's get to it!
The simplest approach to cleaning grout is to simply scrub it with hot water. If it hasn't been too long since your last cleaning you can usually wipe it down and that will get up the dirt and grime.
If it's been a while the dirt may more firmly cling to the grout and not come out quite so easily. In that case, you can try scrubbing with a stiff brush and then wiping the loosened grime away with a cloth.
Products to Clean Grout
Water may not always be sufficient to effectively clean your grout. This is especially true for grout that has been soiled by spills or stains.
In these cases, you'll need a stronger cleaner. However, you have to be aware of the type of tile you have. Some of the products we'll mention work amazing for some types of tile. But they can cause damage to other types of tile.
If you're not sure what kind of tile you have, try cleaning a small section in a hidden corner first. If the tile suffers no ill effects, you can rest assured that you can use it on the rest of your floor or counter.
Mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it on your grout. For best results, let it sit on the grout for a few minutes before you begin scrubbing.
A toothbrush works well for this job. If you want to save yourself some elbow grease, try using an electric toothbrush.
Don't use a wire brush or any overly stiff brush. You could scratch the tile and possibly even knock chunks out of the grout with a brush that is too rough.
A word of warning, though you may think of vinegar as being a gentler cleaner, you cannot use it on all types of tile. Vinegar is very acidic and as such can stain and even damage certain types of porous tile. This includes stone tiles like marble.
What do you do about those stubborn grout stains that won't wipe away easily? Turn to the trusty cleaning power of baking soda.
Make a paste out of two parts baking soda to one part water. Let it sit on the stain before scrubbing it away with a brush.
This cleaner is gentle and won't damage your tile. Thus, if the stain is particularly stubborn, you can leave the baking soda paste on overnight. In the morning you should be able to scrub it away and see your reflection in the grout!
Baking soda is a pretty amazing cleaner. It even makes for a great DIY solution for cleaning tough carpet stains!
What if you can't use vinegar to clean your tile? Water might not be enough but you still prefer not to use caustic cleaners like bleach. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda is an excellent cleaner that is tough on dirt but mild on tile (and the environment).
For an overall clean, mix one part baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide. Spray it over all your grout, let sit, and then gently scrub away.
For a more concentrated clean, try mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts baking soda. Use the paste just like the baking soda and water one we already mentioned to attack tough stains at their source.
Commercial Grout Cleaners
You can also buy specially formulated grout cleaners to clean your grout. However, these are typically more expensive than homemade cleaners and tend to be more toxic.
These cleaners are good for the occasional deep clean. But you should avoid using them on a regular basis. The caustic ingredients can cause your grout and tile to degrade over time.
If you're like most people, the idea of scrubbing your grout weekly is not a pleasant one. The trouble with grout is that no matter how clean you make it, it gets dirty again relatively quickly. Grout is, unfortunately, a natural dirt magnet.
Thus, once you have the grout sparkingly clean, let it dry thoroughly. Let it sit for at least 24 hours to ensure that all the moisture is gone. If you can, keep traffic away from the area so it doesn't get dirty in the meantime.
Then, coat your grout with a silicone-based sealer. A good grout sealer will help protect your grout from accumulating dirt, grime, and stains for about 2 years.
With the right sealant, your grout should stay looking clean just by mopping your tile as part of your regular cleaning regimen.
Are You Inspired?
You may have been putting off the chore of cleaning your grout because you thought it was going to be a long, in-depth process.
To properly clean grout you will have to put in a bit of elbow grease. But we hope that this information has shown you that it isn't as bad as you thought.
Don't let dirty tile get you down. Make it your project this weekend!
Still not too excited about cleaning your grout? That's okay, we can help! Give us a call today to talk about our grout cleaning services. Shiny grout can be as easy as picking up the phone!