Imagine you’re admiring your beautiful, spotless tiles, when you notice the grout in between is starting to get a little grimey. No matter how much you upkeep your tiles, grout will always pose a challenge as its porous make up allows stains to settle deep within the material.
Tile grout is the cornerstone of tile maintenance, as grout is responsible for keeping your tiles together. Stains can be a sign of mold or rotting organic matter, and can cause structural damage over time.
Cleaning tile grout will require some effort and patience, but with proper maintenance, you can keep your tiles looking like new!
How to Clean Your Floor Tile Grout
Even if you clean your floors each day, brooms and mops can only clear the surface dirt. Mops can do nothing for dirt that has nested in cracks, holes, and in between tiles. Even steam mops cannot lift the dirt from between tiles, and can even damage grout due to its rapid temperature increase.
Grout cleaning can be a chore, as stained grout is notoriously difficult to restore. But, with a few household staples, we can maintain the clean look of grout.
First, it’s important to verify if your grout is white or coloured. While there are numerous ways to bleach white grout to a fresh, chalky alabaster, coloured grout is a bit tougher to maintain. But, tougher doesn’t mean impossible!
The bathroom is a constantly humid environment; hence, all sorts of bacteria and mold can abundantly grow in the crevices of tile grout. Floor tile grout is especially susceptible to grime since it is exposed to moisture frequently, as well as dirt and dust settling.
For areas that do not get frequent skin contact, bleach is an effective whitener for grout and tiles, and can remove anything, from mold stains to yellow discolouration. Just apply bleach or bleach gel to affected areas, wait for a while, and wipe or rinse off.
For frequently touched areas, hydrogen peroxide is an underrated alternative bleach that does not cause much irritation, and is safe to use around children and pets in small amounts.*
*Note: Keep hydrogen peroxide bottles away from reach of children and pets.
Kitchens are especially sensitive areas to clean. Since food is prepared in kitchens, cleaners used for this area must be non-toxic, and safe, yet effective against oil and grease stains. For kitchens, go for homemade cleaners, or mild, natural cleaners made for kitchen use.
To remove surface oil and grease, use a clean cloth dampened with warm water to wipe away substances easily. In a pinch, flour can soak up oils for easier cleanup. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar can help remove stains, and are ingredients already available in your kitchen.
The Best Grout Cleaners
Whether you’re looking for a cleaner for daily use or for set stains, here are a few homemade cleaners for grout cleaning. The DIY way is inexpensive, safe, and efficient in general or spot cleaning.
Baking Soda-Vinegar Paste
For both white and colored grout, a baking soda-vinegar paste is the way to go. Mix together vinegar and baking soda to make a thick paste, and apply liberally on affected areas.
The acidity of vinegar loosens stains, while baking soda lifts grime with gentle abrasion. Neither ingredients are bleaching, so you can be assured this baking soda and vinegar paste won’t damage your beautiful colored grout!
While not as common as bleach, hydrogen peroxide is an excellent whitening agent that also disinfects and deodorizes. Just use the liquid directly on stained areas, or dilute with water to make a stain-blasting spray.
Be sure to keep hydrogen peroxide away from colored grout, and colored fabrics. Else, hydrogen peroxide does a great job in clearing stains and grime from your floor tile grout.
Homemade Bleach Gel
Pure bleach can be a health hazard, especially in the kitchen, but this gel is a milder, yet effective version. It requires some heating, but provides a thick gel that concentrates on lifting stains off grout. You can make this ahead and store it for later use.
To make, mix together 1 cup of water with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or all-purpose flour. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes clear. Remove from heat and add in ¼ cup bleach and continue to stir until incorporated.
To use, simply place the gel into a squeeze bottle, like an old glue bottle, and apply on affected grout areas.
Not into homemade cleaners? Commercial options can provide stronger cleaning effects, and are conveniently available in most groceries and cleaning supply stores. Not all commercial options are harmful too. Some have adapted biodegradable, and safe formulas that do not pose threats to the environment or your family’s health.
Here are our suggestions for the best professional grout cleaners that you can buy and use for your tiles:
Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner
We like this cleaner the best for its natural ingredients that are safe to use around children and pets. If you have concerns for your family getting into your cleaning supplies, Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner will be your go-to product.
This product is safe and effective on all types of material, as its plant-based formula is gentle on surfaces, but tough on dirt. Couple it with Puracy Natural Stain Remover, and you’ve got a duo that would make the toughest stains shudder.
CLR Bath & Kitchen Foaming Action Cleaner
A dual-purpose cleaner, this product is applicable for both bathroom and kitchen tiles. Best of all, this product does not contain any bleach!
Perfect for white grout, CLR Bath & Kitchen Foaming Action Cleaner silently works away at the source of the stain in just a few minutes. Just spray, let sit, scrub, and rinse for an easy, low-effort cleaning. It leaves a fresh scent too!
Clorox Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover Spray
For a cleaner that removes stains and disinfects at the same time, reach for Clorox Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover Spray. This product is a surefire way to get rid of tile stains for good. Watch as the formula quickly clears out dirt even in the toughest spots.
Take note that this product contains bleach, which is toxic when ingested and inhaled in large amounts. Keep out of reach from children and pets, and wash hands thoroughly after use.
Tile and Grout Maintenance
Grout requires constant maintenance in order to make it last for years. Grout is usually made up of a soft, powdery stone like cement, mixed with fine sand and water. As such, it is easily scratched by abrasive cleaning solutions and tools.
Here are a few tips to maintain grout, so you can keep your tiles looking new for decades:
- Do not use abrasive sponges to clean grout. An old toothbrush or soft sponge does a good job in scrubbing away dirt. Never use steel wool or harsh scrubs to clean grout, even for the toughest stains.
- Avoid using steam mops or boiling water to clean grout. Extreme temperature changes can damage grout, and deteriorate it from within. Similarly, avoid using cleaners that emit heat in grout cleaning.
- Keep a grout cleaning routine weekly. Clear scum away from your tiles with a weekly regimen to keep stains at bay.
- Clear spills before they turn into stains. This is especially important in the kitchen, as spilled food and drinks can become the start of staining, mold, and trapped dirt. Always have a cloth or rag ready to wipe clean spillage, and rinse with soap and water immediately.
Overall, cleaning grout can be a challenging task, but its rewards are worth it when you see your tiles looking like they’re brand new. Having a proper cleaning regimen is key to preventing stains from setting, and maintaining the pristine condition of your grout.