Last update: 6 months ago
Wouldn’t it be great if the grout could stay perfectly white? Certainly, but we all know that’s not what happens. Grout seems to be a grime magnet, keeping dust, spills and soap scum, which causes discolouration. Like that’s not enough, but mould also favours grouted areas because of the moisture trapped in it. Seems like a lot to tackle, but the good news is that with just a little bit of elbow grease and the right grout cleaners, all of it can disappear very fast.
What is Grout?
Simply put, grout is a fluid form of concrete, that helps to fill gaps. In homes, grout is mostly found between tiles either in the kitchen or bathroom, which are used daily. As high-traffic areas, it is no surprise that the grout can become dirty very fast, especially on the floor tiles and those in proximity to kitchen appliances, the shower, toilet, tub, etc.
Grout is a porous substance, and as such soap scum and other pollutants easily find a way to embed themselves in its surface. The longer these pollutants are left in the tile grout, the deeper and more permanent the staining becomes.
Do not worry, though, because there is a cleaning solution even for the heavily-stained grout. You can find it below, along with some other grout cleaning recipes, which can be used for mildly affected grout or just for general maintenance.
How to Best Clean Grout
While it may be very unpleasant, cleaning grout isn’t that tricky. It actually all comes down to choosing the right cleaning method to use. Regardless whether you decide to try a natural grout cleaner recipe or use a commercial cleaning product, remember to prepare the area by wiping all dust from the tiles and grout with a damp cloth.
Cleaning grout with baking soda & vinegar
A popular grout cleaning solution, this recipe can help you get rid of mild staining, as well as refresh the area from time to time.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking Soda
- Spray Bottle
- Grout Brush (or a Toothbrush)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (Optional)
How to Clean:
- Start by preparing the vinegar solution. Mix 1:1 warm water and vinegar in the spray bottle.
- Spray the grout and leave it to sit for about 5-10 minutes. Then rinse well.
- Follow up with a baking soda paste, made by a little bit of water and the bicarbonate of soda. Adding a small amount of hydrogen peroxide can help create a stronger whitening paste.
- Apply the paste on the grout and use the brush of choice to clean the dirt buildup. You can either leave the paste on for a few hours or scrub right away.
- Rinse everything off.
If you are looking for a way to clean your grout naturally, then this is the things to try. Vinegar is good for general disinfection and for killing nasty mould. You can keep your grout white with the help of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The good news is that you can save yourself some scrubbing if you decide to leave the paste on the grout for as long as possible.
Homemade grout cleaning solution are often preferred, but keep in mind that you may have to play around with different ingredients until you find the one that works for you. Also, they may not work as well on your first attempt and may require several courses of application.
Cleaning grout with bleach
If you are dealing with a very dingy and stained grout, then bleach can make a difference. While it can get mildew and spots out of the grout, bleach can be also toxic, which is why we recommend you stick to oxygen bleach. The latter is considered more beneficial for the environment, as one of the main ingredients is hydrogen peroxide. Nevertheless, it is still important to take precautions.
You will need:
- Safety glasses
- Oxygen bleach
How to Clean:
- Pun on your gloves and the rest of the safety gear.
- Apply small amount of the bleach and start scrubbing.
- Let it stay on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse several times with water until the product is fully removed.
Using chlorine bleach to clean the space between the tiles isn’t uncommon, however, this product is highly toxic and can even damage the grout when handled incorrectly.
Commercial Grout Cleaner
If you want to save yourself time from preparing grout cleaning solution, we would suggest that you use a commercial grout cleaner. They are a bit more expensive and sold in larger quantities, however, it is guaranteed you’ll restore your grout to white.
The best thing is that you will have a grout cleaner for months ahead. We would suggest that you use a commercial grout cleaner if you are just moving into a property. That way you will clean the tiled areas as best as possible.
Alkaline detergents for grout cleaning
If the staining isn’t too severe then maybe you would want to try easy-to-find detergents that are alkaline. In short, this is any widely sold cleaning detergent that has a pH greater than 7 on the pH scale.
Depending on where you reside different brands will offer alkaline cleaners. It’s the easiest way to clean grout, however, depending on the amount of staining you may need a stronger solution to get that sparkling white look back.
Maintaining a grout spotless isn’t an easy task. It’s best if you don’t let things get out of control by doing a regularly cleaning. If you are just moving in, and the things are way worse than you expected, we would suggest that you get the help of a professional tile and grout cleaner, as this may be the only way to get your grout looking perfectly white again.
How to protect & keep grout clean
Given that every homeowner wants to clean grout as less as possible, there aren’t that many ways you can protect it from getting stained.
The best way to seal grout is to use a latex penetrating grout sealer. They are pretty inexpensive as you can get them for around AUD$12. Most times with normal use in the bathroom you’ll want to re-seal the grout once a year. In the kitchen, you can go for as long as a year and a half to two years, depending on how often you cook and use the tiled area.
Follow the instructions on the back of the product for best results. Many times you’ll have to put a bit of elbow grease in order to clean the grout first, and then seal it.
Of course, practical habits will also help with keeping grout clean. What we suggest is to try and mop water from tiles every chance you get. It’s best to leave a window open, or a fan operating after showering in order to suck the moisture of the room. If not done, you may soon find mould and mildew forming in your bathroom.