How to Clean Grout
Learn how to clean grout and keep your tiled floors and walls sparkling clean and new looking.
Grout can be found throughout your house. Wherever you have tiles, you'll find grout in the joints separating them. It may be on the walls in your kitchen or bathroom, or in tile flooring anywhere in your home. It may be white or light colored, but it can also be tinted in a variety of shades. Over time grout can become discolored and dirty from mold, dirt, soap scum, food particles and whatever your kids like to decorate with.
Choosing a Grout Cleaner
Many times you don't need a special cleaner for your grout. A mild dishwashing soap diluted in a bucket of hot water may be all you need.
Say goodbye to moldy joints: Keep your bathroom walls dry and regularly air this room to keep humidity at bay.
If you've tried cleaning your grout with different household cleaners and are not satisfied with the results, you may be tempted by one of the many commercial grout cleaners on the market. Exercise caution in choosing one. It should be ph balanced (acid can eat way at grout) and adapted to the tile as well as the grout. Never mix cleaners and always follow package directions.
Some people use bleach to whiten their light colored grout. Obviously, you would not want to do this on a tinted grout and unfortunately, bleach may eventually yellow a white grout. So it is probably not a good solution.
One of the best grout cleaners available is oxygen bleach. It may not have the whitening effect of regular bleach, but its bubbling action works to lift dirt and scum out of the crevices of grout. This action is especially indicated for the grout on tile floors, where dirt is ground in on a daily basis.
Maintaining bathroom and kitchen walls by regular cleaning with a vinegar and water solution, may preserve you from having to learn how to clean grout. (I highly recommend routinely cleaning your bathroom with vinegar and water, which will greatly reduce your overall house cleaning effort.)
You might like to try using a home steam cleaner on your grout. Occasionally, I detail the grout in our bathtub area with a blast of steam, which completely eliminates any trace of scum.
If you have a lot of grout to clean, especially if you have neglected it over time, equip yourself with a special grout cleaning brush. The old standby toothbrush just doesn't have enough umph to get into the crevices and root out the scum. Many people appreciate a longer handled brush that allows for a more comfortable scrubbing position. Don't be tempted to learn how to clean grout with a metal brush, which risks to seriously damage it.
How to Clean Grout
Wear gloves when cleaning grout or doing any household task. That goes for you big tough guys too!
- Begin by drying the grout joint with a cleaning cloth. This will get up any loose mold and dirt as well.
- Apply the cleaner of choice. If you are using powdered oxygen bleach, mix it with warm water and apply it directly to the joints. Allow the cleaner to sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Using your grout cleaning brush, scrub in circular motions, which are more effective at lifting out substances from the grout.
- Rinse the grout well with clean water.
- Dry the grout with a cleaning cloth.
- You may wish to apply a sealer to the grout so that it cleans more easily in the future, especially if your are dealing with tile floors.
Time to Regrout?
When learning how to clean grout may be too late: If your grout is cracked and even missing in places, it may be time to replace it.