I, Mark Roemer, understand how difficult it can be to clean grout while keeping it intact. However, with the right tools, you can clean every kind of grout without wearing off the hardened mixture. It’s also not that expensive and you can get by using simple household products. This article discusses the tools you need for the job, the secret methods to accomplish the task, and finally, how to take care of the surface once it’s cleaned.
Here is a list of all the cleaning supplies you need to effectively clean grout:
- Latex gloves
- Spray bottle
- Bristle brushes (nylon) and old toothbrushes (with bristles intact )
- Big sponges
- Cleaning rags
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Grout cleaner
- Dish soap
- Steam mop
Not all grouts are created equal. While some grout can be easily cleaned off, others require a more elaborate approach. The list begins with the easiest methods and progresses to the more complicated ones.
1. Scrub with a medium bristle brush and some warm water – A grout scrubber is specially designed for this purpose. They are sturdier compared to conventional brushes and will not scrub off the surface even if you accidentally exert too much pressure.
The medium bristle nylon brush is usually recommended for the job. Avoid steel brushes as they will definitely damage the top layer. Start by spraying warm water along the ground lines and scrubbing in a smooth circular motion. Let the whole thing dry for a few minutes.
Porous cement grouts absorb more water than non-porous ones, which could cause mildew in the long run.
2. Spray a mixture of warm water and vinegar – Vinegar is a very effective solution if your grout has gathered anything from mild stains to heavy dirt. Take a spray bottle and pour equal parts of vinegar and warm water into it until it’s full. Before spraying, make sure the grout is sealed; otherwise, it can cause mildew.
Spray the vinegar mixture on the grout and leave it there for 5 minutes. Afterward, scrub the grout with a stiff nylon brush until the dirt is dispersed. If needed, spray an extra layer of water to rinse off the remaining grime. Finally, use a damp cloth to finish up the process.
3. Use a combination of baking soda and vinegar to clear tougher stains – If vinegar and warm water are ineffective, adding a bit of baking soda can give better results. Take a cup of water and pour in two teaspoons of baking soda.
Apply the mixture of baking soda and water to the grout. If the grout is properly sealed, spray a solution of water and vinegar. Once the foaming ceases, scrub with a nylon bristle brush and wash it with clear water. Use a rag to wipe the grout dry and get rid of any excessive grime.
If the grout is unsealed, instead of vinegar, apply a second layer of baking soda and water and proceed to clean the grout once again.
4. Pour hydrogen peroxide into a mixture of baking soda and dish soap – Moderate and more persistent stains require a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap.
Take a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and one teaspoon of dish soap. Mix everything thoroughly and apply it to the dirty area. Leave the mixture for 10-15 minutes.
Use a toothbrush and scrub away the dirt on the grout. You can also use a nylon brush, but it may not be as effective. If any stain remains, reapply the mixture and repeat the process. Afterward, use a towel or a rag to wipe any remaining grime from the surface.
5. Use oxygen bleach to get rid of tougher grime stains – Oxygen bleach is available in powdered form and you can buy it from any department store.
A well-ventilated room is needed in order to use the oxygen bleach. Start by opening up the doors and windows and reading the instructions before proceeding further. Take a bucket of water (approximately one gallon) and add one cup of oxygen bleach to it.
Apply the solution to the dirty area and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the area with clean water and use a rag to clean the surface. Keep wiping until the grout is nice and dry.
6. Try using a grout stain remover – If home remedies prove ineffective, a commercial grout stain remover will do the job. There are two ways to use stain remover.
You can either spray the liquid, leave it for some time, or simply wash it off. If the grout is not cleared off, then use a brush to properly scour the liquid all over the surface before rinsing it off. Use a rag to wipe the surface clean.
Some industrial grade grout stain removers come with specific instructions on how to use them. Read the labels carefully before proceeding with the cleaning process.
7. Use a steam mop floor cleaner for the toughest of stains – Steam mops are an environment-friendly solution to the lifelong grout problem. Use nylon brushes and plain water, as using any kind of solution with heat can damage the grout. Unsealed grout can soak up excess moisture, which can lead to mildew in the future, so carefully dry the grout surface with a towel/rag after you are done with the mop.
The best solution to maintaining clean grout is to prevent grime buildup in the first place. Wash the grout every week with warm water and vinegar or baking soda to prevent dirt from accumulating on your grout.
I, Mark Roemer, can relate to the need to maintain a dirt-free grout in your household. Always start with the mildest approach as the commercial cleaners and bleaches could discolor and damage the grout. Moreover, ensure there is sufficient ventilation in the room because the toxic fumes from the dirt can easily throw you into a coughing fit.