Tiling can fulfill a vast range of design needs. Nearly all tiles contain grout or a mortar or paste that fills the gaps in between them. The drawback is this substance is prone to staining. Grout is light in color and porous; although it is fine for holding tiles together without a problem, the exposure to dirt, soap, mold, mildew, and spills can soil grout very easily. Such stains can be unsightly, but cleaning grout doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.
If you’re doing the cleaning job alone, you can start with plain water. Most people have a stiff-bristled brush handy somewhere, but they’re easy to find at a hardware store or home center. After spraying warm water on the grout lines, scrub the area with the brush, using a circular motion, and leave the area to dry.
How to Handle Stubborn Grout Stains
A mixture of vinegar and warm water can help with mild stains and even heavier dirt deposits. Mix half of each into a spray bottle. After five minutes, scrub the grout with a brush. Don’t be afraid to put in a little elbow grease; a little effort can get your tile grout nice and clean.
However, it isn’t always that easy to clean grout. If the stains are proving difficult to get out, add more cleaning power with baking soda and water. Apply this solution and then the vinegar solution already mentioned, and some foam will form over the spray area. You can then scrub and rinse with water. Hydrogen peroxide will work for more moderate stains; it’s often available in drug stores and can be used either by itself or made into a paste with baking soda.
Handling the Toughest Grout Stains
If your grout cleaning efforts are proving fruitless, try oxygen bleach. There are many different brands to choose from. When you go this route, make sure there is adequate ventilation and follow the directions on the bottle or package. Wait 10 to 15 minutes after applying the product and then rinse with clean water. After all, you don’t want the dirt to settle back into the grout.
Other options include chlorine bleach, especially in extreme cases of dirty grout. There are various commercial cleansers, including caustic cleaners that might work quickly, but come with the risk of eroding the grout. Only use such products if it is absolutely necessary.
Steam cleaners are also effective at cleaning grout. They’re environmentally friendly, so you don’t risk releasing harmful chemicals into the air or water supply. Maintenance is a good idea too. Vinegar is highly effective at keeping grout clean and stain-free on a regular basis. Try keeping a schedule and wiping down your tile grout with a vinegar solution once a week, while alcohol will help keep it free of mold and mildew. If the effort proves to be too much of a challenge, contact a professional such as Chem-Dry of Charleston and an expert will successfully tackle all the dirty work for you.