Keeping your tile clean is easy, it’s cleaning the grout that proves to be a little more challenging.
Grout is porous and more often than not it is light in color and prone to staining. High traffic areas such as a tiled entry or mudroom often see the most problems due to dirt and everyday grime. In the kitchen spills are usually the culprits, while bathrooms have soap, mold and mildew to blame for the build-up and staining.
Cleaning the Grout
With a little elbow grease, a bristled brush and a mild cleaning solution, most grout can be cleaned up nicely. You may want to test a few solutions in small areas to decide what cleanser works best for the various surfaces.
Some Simple Suggestions:
1. Plain water and a stiff-bristled brush will often do the trick, give that a try first. A variety of brushes can be found at your local hardware store.
2. For heavier dirt and mild stains, vinegar has always been a go-to remedy for cleaning. Fill a small bucket or spray bottle with 50% water & 50% vinegar. Apply the solution to the grout, let it stand for five minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.
3. For a little more strength apply a baking soda/water combination directly to the grout, then spray your vinegar/water mixture on the baking soda paste. Once the mixture stops foaming, scrub with a brush and rinse with plain water.
4. Moderate stains - try hydrogen peroxide (available at most drug stores). You can use the product straight out of the bottle or mix it with baking soda to form a paste.
5. Tough stains - try using oxygen bleach (most often sold in powdered form). Some common brands include OxiClean or Clorox bleach spray. Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions, and make sure the area is well-ventilated. Generally, you will want to let the oxygen bleach solution work for about 15 minutes before rinsing. Always rinse with clean water so that the dirt doesn’t resettle into the grout lines.
To keep your grout clean and stain-free, consider spraying it with vinegar and wipe it down once a week. In the bathroom you can wipe grout with alcohol periodically to control the build-up of mold and mildew. A little preventive maintenance on a regular basis can certainly save time in the long run, and help your tile and grout look attractive all year long.