7 Different Types of Grout Cleaner
When using grout cleaners, it is a good idea to try milder products first, only using the harsher ones if the first do not get the grout completely clean. Harsh chemicals can damage grout and tiles with repeated use. Clean grout with the first group and move on to the next ones as necessary. Whichever cleaner you are using, always try cleaning a small area initially to make sure it does not discolor or damage the grout or tile.
Mild Grout Cleaners
These are all gentle cleaners that are okay to use even on unsealed grout.
Vinegar: Used for daily cleaning and as a disinfectant, dilute vinegar with equal parts water or applied full-strength. Put vinegar or vinegar/water solution into a spray bottle and spray the grout. For disinfecting, let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub with a medium-weight, non-metal brush. Use stiff bristles, but not too hard – you don’t want to damage the grout or tiles. Scrub in circles and not straight lines for a more thorough cleaning. Rinse with a mop or wet sponge, then dry with a towel.
Baking soda: When made into a paste with a little water or vinegar, baking soda is a terrific grout cleaner. Just dab it on, scrub in circles, rinse and dry. For a better cleaning, try leaving the paste on for a few minutes before scrubbing. You can also make a paste with 1/3 each of baking soda, salt and vinegar. Adding salt helps the cleaner get into all the little crevices and spots in the grout. Be sure to rinse and dry when you are done.
Lemon Juice: Grout can discolor and stain with time, and those areas often need extra attention. Lemon juice does a great job removing many grout stains and discolorations. Apply the lemon juice to the affected area, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wipe it off with a damp sponge. If staining remains, try cleaning it or try the lemon juice again before using a harsher product.
Milder Chemical Cleaners
All of these contain some chemicals but are not as harsh as the next group. When working with any of these products, be sure to keep the area well-ventilated, wear gloves and follow the directions on the bottle.
Bleach: Dilute the bleach with water – 1 part bleach to 3 parts water – before cleaning with it. Bleach is especially good for removing mold and mildew. It kills the mold and disinfect too. It also removes stains and discolorations from white grout. Do not use beach on colored grout – it will discolor the grout. Be careful when using bleach and any other cleaners, especially those containing ammonia.
General Household Cleaners: Basic household cleaners are also effective. Many contain bleach, providing the benefits of bleach with another cleaner without mixing them. When using a powder-based product, make sure it is non-abrasive and will not damage the grout or scratch the tile. Use as with other products, being sure to rinse extra well.
Harsher Chemical Cleaners
These are best to use when other products have not worked. They are good for infrequent, heavy-duty cleaning. Always read all directions carefully before you start, keep the room well-ventilated and use gloves and protective eye-wear when cleaning with any of these products.
Commercial Grout Cleaners: We use these for cleaning grout. They are available at stores that sell household cleaners. Pick products that give what you need – general cleaning, disinfecting, removing stains and discolorations, getting rid of mold and mildew, etc. Products that are pH-balanced will be the gentlest and best for tile and grout cleaning. Others can erode the grout with frequent use. Avoid colored cleaners on white grout as they can discolor the grout. Carefully follow all the directions on the container. Generally, you apply them and allow them time to sit on the grout for a few minutes before cleaning and then rinsing.
Professional Grout Cleaners: Designed to give the most heavy-duty cleaning available, these products contain the harshest chemicals. You can find them at hardware or janitor supply stores. Be careful using and storing these cleaners. Before using these strong chemicals, you may want to consider renting a steam cleaner like the professionals use to see if it can get the grout cleaning done without the use of strong chemicals.
* Learn more about natural cleaners that are safe and effective by checking out this article: The Best Homemade Grout Cleaner Recipe
* Here’s another great post on The Best Tile and Grout Cleaning Equipment
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