Many homeowners love to install tile in their homes because it adds a certain amount of elegance, and typically, it is also easier to clean than carpet since a spilled drink can be mopped up in seconds. However, there is nothing worse than seeing the grout that used to be clean and white get discolored by stains and wear and tear. The good news is that grout is relatively easy to clean with a bit of elbow grease and chemicals that you already have at home.
In this guide, we will provide a few options for cleaning grout to perfection.
Choosing DIY vs Store Bought Cleaning Solution
You have many choices when it comes to creating a cleaning solution for removing dirt and stains from the grout between your tiles. To start, you need to decide whether you want to use chemicals that you have at home or if you just want to go online to buy cleaning products or to the store and buy a brand-name product.
Popular Grout Cleaners
You may decide that it is easier to pick up a grout cleaner while you are out running your errands, and the good news is that you can pick up these products at most stores, including Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon.com.
Some of the best-reviewed grout cleaners include:
- CLR Bath & Kitchen Foaming Action Cleaner
- Soft Scrub Bleach Cleaner Gel
- Clorox Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover Spray
- Granite Gold Grout Cleaner
Home-Made Cleaning Solutions
If you don’t want to wait to get to the store or you’d like to save a bit of money, then you can make your own cleaning solution using items and chemicals that you have at home. Depending on what is in your cabinets, there are several options you can try that will all be effective at cleaning out those stains:
Baking Soda, Ammonia, and Vinegar – Start by filling a bucket with 7 cups of warm water. Then add ½ cup of baking soda, a ⅓ cup of ammonia, and ¼ cup of vinegar and stir. You can dip a sponge into this mixture or pour it into a spray bottle.
While all three of these ingredients used together will be the most effective, you can still clean your grout with a combination of the chemicals. If you only have water and baking soda, then mix equal parts of each into a bucket. If you only have water and vinegar, then add equal parts of that mixture into the bucket.
Lemon Juice – In addition to adding flavor to food, lemon juice is also a mild natural disinfectant. You can pour a modest amount of lemon juice directly onto the stained grout, then let it sit for about 15 minutes before scrubbing the stain with a brush. Then rinse and rub dry.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda – Mix two parts baking soda to one part hydrogen peroxide (the clear bottle that you can buy at the grocery store).
Do Not Use Bleach on Grout
Although many people may automatically go to the bleach to make their grout white again, this is highly discouraged. For starters, bleach will turn your grout an unnatural shade of white which is bad because that area of your tile will now have a different color grout than the other areas of your floor.
On top of that, bleach can cause your grout to erode over time and those new holes in the grout will attract more dirt. If you keep applying bleach then your grout could deteriorate even further, requiring you to repair the floor.
How To Clean the Grout
Now that you have your cleaning solution ready to go, you can start to clean that dirty grout. In addition to your chemicals, you will also need a small stiff-bristle brush or even an old toothbrush.
Next, follow the steps below. The process is basically the same regardless of if you are cleaning grout on the ground or on a shower wall.
1. Prep The Area
In order for your cleaning solution to be effective, you need to clear out some of the dirt, debris, and clutter from the space. You can easily do this by spraying a bit of hot water and then using your stiff bristle brush to remove the dirt by scrubbing in a circular motion.
2. Apply and Scrub The Cleaning Solution
Next, mix and apply the solution of your choice directly to the dirty grout. You can use a spoon to lay the chemicals onto the grout. Then, let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
You will likely already see that the grout looks a bit cleaner, but now it is time to scrub. Again, move the brush in a circular manner to lift the dirt and discoloration out of the pores of the grout.
Once you are satisfied with the color of the grout, it is time to rinse off the cleaning solution. You can either use warm water or a combination of hot water and a few drops of dish detergent and clean away the leftover grout cleaning solution with a sponge.
4. Apply Grout Sealer
In order to avoid having to go through this process every month, you will want to be proactive and apply a grout sealer to all of the tiled areas of your home. Sealers are effective because they fill the pores in the grout so dirt and liquids cannot get stuck and stain like they did before. You’ll want to make sure that the grout is completely dry before applying the sealer.
Scrubbing away dirt from your grout is a good idea for smaller projects, but if you have an entire room that needs to be cleaned or you don’t want to lean down as often, then you can consider steam cleaning the grout instead.
When you do, you will want to pre-clean and rinse any loose dirt on the floor. Use a broom or a damp mop to clean a large area. Then, steam and scrub as per the instructions for your steam cleaner. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
In the end, cleaning grout is not a difficult project, but you can eliminate the need for frequent cleanings by properly maintaining your tile floors. Whenever food or drink is spilled, clean it up immediately and avoid dragging dirt into the home.
However, when it comes time to cleaning grout, try the tips above, and your floors will be sparkling clean once again.