We all love a good tile. Heck, it’s the ultimate trifecta: pretty, durable, and easy to keep clean.
But the grout holding it all together? It’s not always your best friend. As most of us know, it’s prone to dirt and grime. And because it’s usually lighter in color, you’re bound to experience some staining and even mold and mildew buildup.
Fortunately, with a little elbow grease, you can tackle years worth of grimy build up. And when you get your grout back to looking fresh and new, there are steps you can take to maintain that bright and white look.
1. Warm Water + Medium-Bristle Brush
If you don’t already own a grout scrubber, pop into your local hardware shop to pick up exactly what you need. Most hardware stores will carry brushes that are specifically designed for this purpose.
Once you have your brush, you’re ready to get to cleaning! Simply spray warm water on the grout lines and start scrubbing. It may take a little elbow grease, but the end result is definitely worth the work!
After a good scrub, you’ll want to let the grout air out and dry. A good rule of thumb to follow: Be sure you aren’t using too much water or letting pools of water sit on your grout for too long. This especially holds true with porous cement grout, which will typically absorb water. So too much can easily lead to mildew.
2. Equal Parts Vinegar & Warm Water
Typically, you’ll want to rely on the vinegar-and-warm-water method with a sealed
grout. This particular cleaning approach will help tackle heavy dirt or mild stains.
To create your solution, mix half-and-half portions of vinegar and warm water. Add this to a spray bottle and you’re ready to go!
Spray the solution evenly on the grout lines and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. When the timer rings, use a stiff brush to scrub the surface, and dig deep into those stains.
Note: It’s important to avoid using any vinegar-based solution on unsealed
grout. The vinegar penetrates into the spaces for air in the grout and weakens them. Over time, vinegar will deteriorate the condition of the grout by etching or wearing away.
3. Commercial Grout Stain Remover
If a DIY solution isn’t quite doing the trick, you can turn to a commercial grout stain remover to get the job done.
These heavy-duty cleaners work quickly to remove mold and mildew while simultaneously restoring bright, white grout lines.
With commercial cleaners, you have your pick between spray-and-wipe or scour-with-a-brush. However, keep in mind that, while spray-on products claim to work without intensive scrubbing, they may contain harsher acids, solvents, or chlorine bleach.
No matter which commercial cleaning you decide to use, be sure to read the active ingredients carefully, and follow all safety instructions.
After a good clean, maintaining your grout can be as simple as a weekly, two-step process.
On cleaning day, be sure to spray down grout with a household vinegar or mild grout cleaner and wipe it down. This will keep grout sparkling and stain-free.
To prevent mold and mildew, you can also wipe down the group with basic rubbing alcohol.
And always keep in mind — a quick, weekly wipe down will save you from more hardcore scrubbing down the road!