You decorated your home, bathroom, or kitchen with beautiful ceramic tiles thinking the beauty will last forever and your house will keep looking so clean down the years. However, within a few months, you start noticing the white grout lines turning darker and now appearing black, brown, or grey. This discolouration happens due to the accumulation of dirt or mould. This is making your tiles look ugly and is spoiling the look of your home. To make your home tiles sparkle again, cleaning the grout is necessary, which many think is a tough task. But, with common household products and a bit of effort, you can clean grout stains. Let’s check out some effective ways to do so, but first, let’s understand what grout is.
What Is Grout?
Grout is a porous substance that is used by tile installers to fill up the gaps or cracks between tiles. It helps keep dirt from getting in between or under the tiles by creating a smooth solid floor, wall, or backsplash and also adds strength to the tile installation. Cement grout is the most prevalent form of grout. It’s formed with a mixture of water, cement, and (sometimes) sand. Because grout is porous, it can be difficult to keep it clean. Wiping off your tiled surface isn’t always adequate for difficult stains or filth since the grout lines between tiles are sometimes somewhat deeper than the surface. Even after regular sweeping, crumbs, grime, and other debris can accumulate along the grout lines on tile floors, making them dark and dirty.
How Often Should You Clean Tile Grout
Tile grout should be cleaned as soon as it becomes discoloured due to mould and mildew. The frequency of cleaning may vary depending on the location of your tiles and how frequently the surface is used. Tiled walls may just need to be cleaned periodically, but tiled shower walls that are regularly used and exposed to a lot of moisture and are always humid may need to be cleaned weekly. The general rule to follow should be whenever discolouration, mould, or dirt appears in the tile grout, scrub it. It’s advisable to attempt grout cleaners in order of severity.
How to Remove Grout
Fortunately, dirty grout can be cleaned with a few simple materials found at home and with minimum scrubbing. These grout cleaning techniques, which include tips for minimising dirt over time, can be used on floors, showers, kitchen backsplashes, and other tiled surfaces. Your tiles will appear like new with a little time and work.
What You Will Need
- Baking soda
- Wet cloth
- Water or hydrogen peroxide or vinegar
- Mixing bowl
- Old toothbrush or grout brush
- Grout Sealer
Instructions In Steps
Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to clean tile grout.
1. Prepare the Grout Area
Start by cleaning the tile off with a wet cloth. Get rid of any apparent dust, filth, or grime. Take the time to clear any debris or stains that may have formed.
2. Mix the Cleaning Solution
The state of your tile grout determines the best grout cleaning solution. Mix two parts baking soda with one part water to eliminate everyday grime and debris. Mix two parts baking soda with one part vinegar to clean discoloured or stained grout. To clean grout on tile floors with hydrogen peroxide, mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide if you have fragile or coarse tiles.
3. Apply the Grout Cleaning Solution
Apply the paste to the grout lines using a grout brush or an old toothbrush. Apply a little amount of paste to an inconspicuous spot to ensure the acidic vinegar doesn’t discolour the tile if you’re using the vinegar solution.
4. Scrub and Seal Grout
Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing all of the grout lines. Rinse well with water. Allow 24 hours for the grout to dry, then apply a sealant to protect your hard work.
Other tips for cleaning grout from your tiles are:
1. Use Oxygen Bleach
Using oxygen bleach to clean grout between floor tiles is one of the most effective and non-toxic methods. Oxygen bleach is environmentally safe, doesn’t have a chemical odour, and doesn’t stain the tiles or grout lines. To clean grout with oxygen bleach, start with mixing oxygen bleach with water to make a paste, just like toothpaste. Wear rubber gloves when touching the oxygen bleach mixture. Using a sponge apply the paste to the grout lines. Leave the paste for 5 to 10 minutes on the surface. Take a stiff grout brush to scrub the grout lines. Use clean water to rinse off the paste, and then wipe the surface with a dry towel. Let the surface dry overnight before resealing the grout.
2. Use Alkaline Cleaners
To clean dirty and greasy grout joints, especially in the kitchen, using an alkaline cleaner is best. To clean grout with an alkaline cleaner, first, combine the alkaline cleaner and water in a bucket or container. Follow the instructions mentioned on the alkaline cleaner packet. Coat the mixture on the grout lines with a sponge, like applying a paste. Let the solution sit for several minutes so that it gets soaked in the grout lines. Using a grout brush, scrub off the cleaning solution till all the stains are removed. Clear the excess cleaning solution with a sponge and then rinse the tiles and grout lines with water. Using a clean towel, dry the surface area. Let the surface dry overnight, and then reseal the grout to keep it clean for long.
3. Use Chlorine Bleach
The most popular method of cleaning grout is by using chlorine bleach. Before starting to clean grout with chlorine bleach, it is important to protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves, safety glasses, and old clothes. Chlorine bleach is caustic to the skin, so necessary precautions should be followed. As you start to clean grout with chlorine bleach, open your windows or run the room’s exhaust fan to ventilate the noxious fumes. To remove stains, apply the chlorine bleach with a grout brush on the grout lines and scrub vigorously. Rinse the tiles with water thoroughly and sponge the surface to remove any remaining chlorine bleach. Repeat the water rinse and sponging to ensure no bleach is left. Dry the surface with a towel, leave overnight to air-dry and then reseal the grout lines.
4. Use Lemon Juice
To naturally clean white grout stains, use lemon juice. Lemon juice is a mild disinfectant that removes grout stains naturally. First, saturate the dirty grout lines with lemon juice. Let the lemon juice sit for 10 to 15 minutes on the grout lines so that it gets absorbed in the dirt. Then, scrub off the lemon juice using a grout brush or old toothbrush. Rinse the surface with water and wipe it dry using a towel.
5. Use Minty Mixture
You can combine white vinegar, rub vinegar, and water in equal parts to make a minty grout cleaner. To this mixture, add few drops of peppermint oil and a half teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Pour this mixture in a spray bottle for cleaning wall grout or in a bucket to clean floor grout. Apart from cleaning mild grout stains, this minty mixture will deter mice and ants with its peppermint smell.
6. Use Salt Scrub
Salt dehydrates single-cell organisms like bacteria and mould by osmosis. It is an efficient cure for destroying them. Its antibacterial properties make it ideal for cleaning tiles and grout, too. Keep the area moist or massage it with a moist cloth to remove mould and mildew from tile flooring. After that, liberally apply salt to the surface and scrape it into the grout lines. Allow the salt to stay overnight before cleaning it with water in the morning.
7. Use Borax
Borax is a versatile cleaner that is used to clean surfaces, laundry, and stain removal. In a bucket, combine 14 cups of borax, 12 cups of vinegar, 2 teaspoons of liquid soap, and one gallon of warm water to make a homemade grout and tile cleaner. Wipe the floors clean with a mop soaked in the mixture and repeat until the floor is spotless.
8. Use Hot Water or Steam
The mildest cleanser for tile grout is a warm water spray. Simply spray the tiled surface with water and clean the grout lines with a soft bristle brush. Using a dry towel, wipe the surface. Steam cleaners are another option since they are one of the most effective and environmentally safe ways to clean grout lines. Hot steam is injected into the recessed grout lines to loosen all debris, filth, grease and cleaning the tiled surfaces.
Smart Hacks to Help Keep Grout Clean for a Longer Time
After you have cleaned grout stains from your tiles, it is important to keep the grout clean. Maintaining the cleanliness of your tiles is easier than cleaning the grout stains. Few smart hacks to help you keep grout for a long time are:
1. Reseal the Grout Lines
Cleaning grout lines can be a time-consuming task. After you’ve cleaned the grout, sealing it will provide a protective layer that will help prevent future stains and make it much simpler to clean. For most tile grout, including bath and shower areas, use a penetrating grout sealant.
2. Make Some Tweaks
Some areas in your home will attract more grime and dirt, such as the back door or your home entry or the area near the laundry basket. In those areas, put a floor mat or rug to keep debris and dirt away from those areas. You can even keep your shoes outside the home to keep dirt out. For areas that can’t be covered with mats or a rug, such as the front porch, try sweeping or mopping daily to keep the grout stains away.
3. Keep Your Bathroom Clean
You can reduce your future grout cleaning time in your bathroom by regular maintenance of your bathroom. Keep a clean microfiber cloth or squeegee and clean your shower walls after turning off the water. Keep your bathroom ventilated to keep humidity out and prohibit the growth of mould.
You can keep grout stains away from your home by using these grout cleaning methods. After cleaning the grout, remember to maintain them by following a regular cleaning routine.