How to Clean Grout – Secrets to Success
. Even though tiled areas are some of the most beautiful areas in your home, they can also be the most difficult areas to keep clean. Here are eight easy steps to make grout cleaning as easy as possible and allow you to keep the grout clean.
1. Maintain and clean your tiles regularly. Kitchen tiles need cleaning at least 2-3 times per week. If they aren’t, food and other dirt particles very quickly build up within the grout. A very quick wipe-down does the job; just make sure you do it at least 2-3 times per week. Shower and bathroom tiles need cleaning every week and so does tile flooring that gets a lot of traffic. This will prevent any build-up of dirt, grime and bacteria. In addition, it is easy to clean them if you do it regularly.
2. Wet the tile down. Before starting to clean and scrub, remember to wet the tiles down with a mild grout cleaner. By spraying them and then waiting, you help to loosen the dirt and make it easier to scrub later. Another advantage of waiting is that it allows the cleaner to disinfect and kill germs.
3. Don’t use hard chemicals. Harsh chemicals actually eat away at the grout and tile, destroying it over time. For example, I recently read a blog where they suggested you use a solution that is 25% bleach. However, this ratio is much too strong. You will have a lot more success using a cleaner that is about 10% bleach and it will work great without ruining the grout.
4. Use rugs or mats for areas that get a lot of traffic. Areas like the front door and in front of the sink in the kitchen will benefit from an extra layer of protection. With a mat in the way, dirt cannot as easily make its way into the grout. But be sure to clean the rugs regularly.
5. Seal your grout with a good quality grout sealer. This keeps dirt and grime from getting trapped in the grout, making it easier to clean. Most grout sealers will last up to a year. A grout sealer will water proof and seal the porous surface of the grout. These makes it a lot harder for your grout to get stained and makes it so you don’t have to clean your grout as often.
6. Fresh lemon juice removes stains in grout. Just put a few drops on the discolored area, wait 10 – 15 minutes and wipe it dry. Lemon juice is also a disinfectant & it leaves your home smelling fresh and invigorating.
7. You can also use diluted bleach or a bleach pen to help get rid of tough stains. A bleach pen can get rid of tough stain very easily. However, be sure that you only use it on white surfaces or you will bleach colored areas or colored grout. Let the bleach sit on the area for about 10 minutes, rinse with water, and dry.
8. Have the best grout cleaner you can use. If you use a steam cleaner, you won’t need any cleaning chemicals and it also makes the scrubbing part easier. If you want a good chemical grout cleaner, we recommend Kaboom, Soft Scrub with Bleach, X-14 or Oxy-Clean. If you want something a bit more natural, you can try using baking soda and vinegar. Mix right before using and the oxidizing effect should help you remove stains.
One more tip for a quick clean: About once a month put 1/4 to 1/2 cups of straight vinegar (supermarket variety) or bleach down shower, bath, and sink (including kitchen disposal) drains. This prevents excessive build up of hair and other dirt and greases that clog drains.
Lastly, have fun cleaning!
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The Everyday Approach – the everyday method of cleaning grout is pretty simple. What you want to do is to make a grout cleaning paste. For the paste, you want to use baking soda and bleach. After mixing the bleach and baking soda, smear the paste on to your grout lines with a spatula. Allow it to sit there and dry for an hour. Then come back and use a toothbrush and clean water to scrub it off. This is a pretty powerful cleaner and has scrubbing part which allows you to get that grout cleaned faster.
The Organic Approach to Grout Cleaning – the organic approach to cleaning grout and tile is a little different. What you want to do is you want to use a paste of borax and lemon juice. Use it in the same way that you used baking soda and bleach. Make sure that you let it dry before scrubbing it off. Not only will this do a pretty decent job with most stains, but it will also smell good when you’re done cleaning.
An Oven Cleaner Works – in the most extreme circumstances, this type of cleaner will work for cleaning tile grout. You can use oven cleaner to clean your tile and grout off. The key to using an oven cleaner is that you do not want it to sit on your grout for more than a few seconds before you rinse it off with water. Most oven cleaners are extremely strong so you should handle them with care. Make sure that you wear gloves, and that you ventilate your shower properly. This method is very effective in removing some of the toughest stains.
If you want to get rid of caulking stains, you can roll up a paper towel soaked with vinegar, and allow it to sit on top of the caulking. You should let it sit there for 3 to 4 hours. After that, the caulking gets a lot cleaner. You can also re-caulk your bathroom. Even if you have to take out the old caulking and put down the new caulking, it doesn’t take that long to do.
Here is another tip that is pretty invaluable to helping you clean shower tile grout. If you want to loosen up the grime on your tiles, the easiest way to do this is to turn on a steamy shower for a few minutes and the steamy shower will help to loosen up the dirt in walls. Follow-up by using one of the grout cleaning methods listed above, or just do simple maintenance cleaning by spraying your grout with vinegar and wiping it down with a brush.
*Sources – Hailey’s Cleaning Hints. Published by the New American Library in 2000.