Manage your grout expectations
Are you stuck scrubbing your grout, but aren’t getting any results? Before you throw in the towel and swear off cleaning grout for good, we’ll let you in on a secret: the key to a quick stain removal is knowing the right cleaning agents to use. But which exactly are they?
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to clean grout properly.
Step 1. Identify the type of tile before you clean
Cleaning grout is not rocket science, but it has an awful lot to do with chemistry.
Before you start cleaning, let’s go through the basics first – starting with the type of tile you have in your home. It’s important to identify what material your tiles are made of to know which cleaning agent is suitable.
Some tiles are made of stone, such as limestone, granite, slate, and marble. Cleaning agents for these types of tiles should be non-corrosive and have a neutral pH. Acids such as vinegar can react with stone tiles and cause them to discolour.
You’re in luck if your floor is made of ceramic or porcelain. These materials are sturdier than stone tiles and can usually be cleaned with any type of cleaning solution.
Apart from knowing the type of material your tile is made of, knowing what caused the stain is key to successful grout cleaning.
Here’s a quick tip: the room that you’re cleaning will likely tell you what type of stain you’re dealing with. When you’re cleaning bathroom grout, for example, you’ll probably find stains caused by mould and mildew. These come from fungi that grow on the grout after prolonged exposure to moisture. The best cleaning agents for removing mould and mildew are baking soda or bleach.
On the other hand, stains on your kitchen floor grout can be anything from spilled liquids to grease and food grime. Grease and food debris can be quickly cleaned with liquid dishwashing soap, while spilled liquids like juice or wine can be cleaned by applying baking soda and bleach on the grout, then letting the paste sit for 5 minutes.
For lounge areas like the bedroom and living room, grout discolouration can be caused by dust accumulation or simple wear and tear. Vacuuming and mopping regularly will help keep your floor grout in these areas clean.
Step 2. Build your cleaning arsenal
Disclaimer: you’re going to love this part if you get cheap thrills out of cleaning the house (much like me).
Once you have the tile type and cause of the stain sorted out, it’s time to stockpile your cleaning supplies. Start from the mildest cleaning agent down to the strongest. I assure you, there’s no way you won’t get those stains out.
You will need:
- Baking soda (bicarb soda)
- White vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- Mild detergent
- Grout cleaner
- Stain remover
Not to worry if you don’t have some of the cleaning agents above. All of them are easy to find in your local grocery store.
For your cleaning tools, you will need the following:
- Nylon brush
- Old toothbrush
- Spray bottle
- Scouring pad
- Microfibre cloth
- Steam mop
Last but not least, don’t forget your personal protective equipment. Inevitably, you’ll be dealing with fumes that may cause light-headedness, nausea, or burns. It’s best to safeguard your health when you’re using chemicals that are potentially harmful.
Here is the basic PPE you’ll need for safe grout cleaning:
- Goggles or protective eye covering
- Cleaning gloves
- Face mask
Step 3. Start cleaning
You’ll find all the tips you need for a thorough grout cleaning below:
How to clean grout on floor tiles made of stone
Floors made of slate, marble, limestone, or granite can get damaged by chemicals with an extremely low or high pH. Avoid using liquids like vinegar or bleach in order to prolong the quality of your stone floors. Use a cleaning solution of water with a few drops of mild detergent instead.
Start cleaning the grout on your stone floor by vacuuming off any visible dust and dirt. Mop the floor with the prepared cleaning solution, then wipe off the soap solution with a clean damp mop. Make sure that your mop is non-abrasive in order to prevent scratching the stone surface. Dry the floor and grout manually with a clean microfibre cloth, and allow them to air dry.
How to clean grout on floor tiles made of ceramic or porcelain
Ceramic and porcelain floors are durable and easy to maintain. As with stone floors, start cleaning the grout by vacuuming the dust and dirt on the surface. Follow this step by mopping the floor with a solution of water and mild detergent diluted with water. To remove the soapy residue, wipe the grout with a clean damp mop. Dry the floor with a clean microfibre cloth, then allow it to air dry.
How to clean floor grout without scrubbing
Yes, there is such a thing! With a nifty cleaning agent and a handy steam mop, you can say goodbye to strenuous arm workouts and knee-bending exercises:
- Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in a bowl.
- Mix thoroughly, then transfer to a spray bottle. Use a funnel to avoid spills.
- Spritz the solution onto the grout, then allow it to stand for 15 minutes.
- When the 15 minutes are up, lightly brush off the scum with an old toothbrush. You can also wipe off the scum with a piece of cloth.
- Rinse your tiles thoroughly with a damp mop.
- Work the steam mop on the cleaned grout and tiles.
- Apply a layer of grout sealer to protect the grout.
How to clean tile grout with vinegar and baking soda
Some stains may be more difficult to remove than others, but it can be done. This proven cleaning trick using homemade ingredients will show you how:
- Vacuum dust and dirt off before mopping the bathroom floor.
- Spot-treat stains by spritzing them with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water.
- Allow to stand for 1 minute to loosen the stains.
- Sprinkle baking soda generously on the tile grout.
- Start scrubbing in a circular motion using a nylon brush or old toothbrush. Alternatively, you can use a scouring pad for more stubborn stains.
- Brush corners and hard-to-reach crevices with an old toothbrush.
- Rinse with the same vinegar and water solution.
- Wipe the surface with a dry microfibre cloth to prevent mould growth, then allow to air dry.
How to clean mould in shower grout naturally
Apart from cleaning your bathroom fixtures regularly, taking care of your bathroom grout will benefit your property in the long run. Home buyers and real estate agents find homes with sparkling bathrooms to be more attractive and of higher value. A bathroom with a spotless shower area will also earn you more points with your landlord during a routine lease inspection.
Can’t wait to see it happen? This method on how to clean bathroom grout is perfect for restoring the look of your shower grout. Simply follow these tips recommended by our cleaning experts:
- Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in a bowl.
- Mix thoroughly then transfer to a spray bottle. Use a funnel to avoid spills.
- Spritz the solution onto the grout then allow to stand for 15 minutes.
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub off the scum.
- Rinse the grout with cold water.
- Dry your shower area and the rest of your bathroom with an absorbent microfibre cloth. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the grout. Allow your bathroom to air dry thoroughly.
How to restore grout to its original colour
The word’s out. Homeowners are scrambling to buy this product to end all grout cleaning hacks. Enter Vanish Napisan Gold Pro Stain Removal powder, the miracle pixie dust that packs a lot of stain-removing moxie in a bucket.
Who are bound to fall in love with this versatile product? Apart from hoarders of anything pink, you’ll likely see DIY-obsessed homeowners stocking up on the famous stain remover.
Using it as a grout cleaner is simple. Simply dissolve two scoops of Vanish Napisan Gold Pro Stain Removal powder in a bucket of water. Apply onto your tile grout to loosen the stains. Scrub the grout with a nylon brush or old toothbrush, then wipe clean. You’ll be happy to find that your grout is now whiter and cleaner-looking than before.
Step 4. Protect your grout
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This simple routine takes less than 10 minutes and will save you heaps of cleanup time in the future.
- Dip a piece of cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, then swab it on your tile grout to protect it from mould growth.
- Do a weekly preventive treatment by spraying vinegar on your tile grout, then wiping with a clean microfibre cloth after spraying.
- Protect your grout by applying a grout sealer. Do this when the grout is 100% dry to prevent any moisture from seeping into the grout.
More grout-of-this-world tips
Fear of missing grout? We’re not letting you go just yet. We’re giving you bonus grout cleaning secrets straight from our cleaning experts:
- Clean shower grout depending on the severity of the dirt and stains. If you can get rid of the stain just by using baking soda and vinegar, we highly recommend you do so.
- Only use bleach when necessary. These are for VERY stubborn stains that you’d like to whiten instantly. Douse a few drops onto the stained surface and see magic happen right before your eyes, no scrubbing required. Don’t forget to rinse with water, then air dry when you’re done.
- If you feel like your tile grout needs a thorough cleaning, but you’re reluctant to purchase sophisticated cleaning equipment – hiring a house cleaning company is your best solution. You can be sure that professional cleaners will use commercial-grade tools to make your wall and floor grout look brand-new again. You’ll feel fantastic showing your home to your guests, real estate agent, or landlord – and you won’t even have to churn out that much elbow grease in the process.
Have a grout time scrubbing!