How to Clean Tile Grout: Easy Steps for Cleaning Your Tile

Discover cleaning solutions and tips to restore your tile grout to its original condition. Our guide covers everything from everyday maintenance to cleaning techniques.

Grout Cleaning

How to Clean Tile Grout: Easy Steps for Cleaning Your Tile

November 17, 2023

Understanding Grout to Keep It Clean

Grout is the material that fills gaps between tile. It provides structural support and prevents water infiltration. It is used on walls, inside showers, behind backsplashes, and on the floor. Grout can be made using epoxy, cement, or urethane and is typically a shade of white. People sometimes color their grout to match black or colored tile, but most people want it to stay white. This can be especially difficult in heavily used spaces and on floors. Regular grout cleaning is essential if you want to keep it looking white for a long time.

You will get the best results if you start with an ideal type of grout for your space. You should take extra care to apply a sealant as needed. Here is how to clean tile grout and keep it looking great for years.

Preventing Buildup with the Right Cleaning Methods

You should regularly sweep, mop, and wipe grout lines with a damp cloth. Buildup is one of the main reasons why grout becomes stained. Grout is porous and needs regular sealing to stay clean. The sealant makes it easier to scrub grease, dirt, mold, and grime away. You should always promptly wipe up spills with a damp cloth to keep your grout free from stains. Grout may absorb colorants from cleaners with dyes in them, colored body care products, and hair dye.

Clean your grout with a pH-balanced grout cleaner often. Many people clean a tiled shower or bathroom three to five times a week. This can seem like a lot of cleaning, but remember that it doesn't take as long if you do it more frequently. You may even save time overall by cleaning it more often because you reduce buildup this way.

Choosing a Cleaner

Many hardware stores and supermarkets have a selection of pH-balanced tile and grout cleaners. Some of these will also work on stone and bathtubs. The label will typically clearly state whether the cleaner is pH-balanced. You can find some plant-based or water-based cleaners in most stores that carry grout cleaner. A few cleaners are formulated so that they don't have to be rinsed. Others are supposed to be left on for a few minutes and rinsed afterward. Many are made so that they produce plenty of bubbles while you scrub the grout. Read the instructions on the label to find out any important details about how to clean tile grout with your chosen cleaner.

Here are some popular grout cleaning products:

Zep Grout Cleaner and Whitener - A professional-strength, bleach-free acidic formula designed to tackle tough grout cleaning jobs and is formulated to deep clean grout lines and lift stains without the need for heavy scrubbing. It is safe for most floors with grout lines, including those with colored grout, but not for marble, terrazzo, travertine, natural stone, or chrome.

Aqua Mix Heavy Duty Tile and Grout Cleaner - A highly concentrated, high-alkaline cleaner and degreaser, it is specially designed to remove grease, soap scum, body oil, mildew stains, and algae. The cleaner is formulated to strip off synthetic and acrylic waxes and floor finishes, making it particularly effective for restoring the appearance and colour of grout in heavily soiled areas.

Rejuvenate Grout Deep Cleaner - Made for restoring grout to its original colour, it revitalizes grout that has become dingy from everyday use, grease, dirt, and other stains. This cleaner is a bio-friendly product, making it a safe choice for routine grout cleaning. It is also odourless and acid-free, adding to its user-friendly properties.

Some people also make their own a grout cleaner using vinegar and baking soda. Here are some DIY grout cleaners that you can make at home:

Using Vinegar:

  • In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and water.
  • Spray the vinegar and water solution directly onto the grout lines.
  • Let it sit on the grout for about 5-10 minutes.

Using Baking Soda:

  • Make a thick paste by mixing baking soda and water.
  • Apply the baking soda paste directly to the grout lines.
  • Again, let the paste sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Choosing the Right Tools

You'll need a broom or vacuum to complete an initial cleaning for flooring grout. You should wear protective gloves and make sure your space is ventilated properly. It's a good idea to keep a fan or two going and open a window. You'll need some cloths and warm water to remove any visible buildup at first.

Many people use a small grout brush for the bulk of the cleaning. You can find some automated brushes for grout cleaning at some home improvement stores that will take a lot of the strain off your hands. A shop sponge with or without an abrasive pad on it can also work. Don't use steel scrubbing pads or any type of scrubbing tool that leaves tiny pieces of residue. These can stick inside the grout or scratch the sealant off. You may find little pieces of steel or other material in the grout the next day.

If you want to add a professional touch, here are some additional pieces of equipment you can buy to clean your grout:

  • Steam Cleaners
  • Electric Spin Scrubbers
  • Bristled Power Drill Attachments
  • Pressure Washer (recommended for outdoor use only)

Our Step-by-Step Process to Cleaning Your Grout

  1. Prepare the Area: Make sure the area around the tiles is cleaned and remove any dirt or debris by sweeping or vacuuming.
  2. Mix the Cleaning Solution: If using a commercial grout cleaner, follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing and dilution. If using a homemade solution, mix well in a container or spray bottle.
  3. Protect Yourself: Use rubber gloves to protect your hands, and even consider wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes from splashes. Make sure to follow the safety precautions listed on the grout cleaner’s label. Also, it is a good idea to open a window for proper ventilation when using chemical cleaners.
  4. Test the Grout First: If using a heavy-duty product, make sure you test it on a small area first to see if there are any adverse reactions.
  5. Applying the Solution: Dip the grout brush into the grout cleaner and use it to evenly distribute onto the grout lines. If using a spray bottle make sure to spray the solution is generously over all the grout.
  6. Scrubbing the Grout: While using the bristled brush, scrub the grout lines vigorously. Apply some pressure while scrubbing to help loosen and remove dirt and stains, paying special attention to any discolored or heavily soiled areas.
  7. Let it Sit: If using a store grout cleaner, let it sit on the grout lines for a few minutes. If using a DIY solution, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the solution time to break down any stubborn stains or grime.
  8. Scrub the Grout Again: After letting the solution sit, scrub the grout lines a second time to further loosen the dirt. Wipe up any leftover cleaning solution or residue remaining on the tile and grout.
  9. Rinse Thoroughly: With a bucket with warm water, use a clean rag or sponge to wipe down the tiles and grout lines to rinse away the cleaning solution and dirt. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent any chemical residue from harming the grout or tile.
  10. Dry the Area: Use a clean dry towel or rag to wipe down the tiles and grout lines to remove any excess moisture to avoid mildew growth.
  11. Repeat if Necessary: If some areas are still stained or dirty, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.
  12. Seal the Grout (Optional): For added protection, you can apply a grout sealer after the grout has dried. This will help protect it from staining and make cleaning easier in the future.

Keep the Grime Away Between Cleanings

You should make sure you don't have a source of mold or mildew near your tile. Cover garbage cans and don't let water collect on the floor. Use fans to promptly remove steam from your bathroom or kitchen after use. You can also choose to dry your grout with a clean towel after the grout cleaning is done in rooms that don't dry quickly.

Cement-based grout will collect dirt faster than other types when used on the floor. You can use grout made with epoxy or urethane on the floor for best results. Use heavy-duty sealant to make cleanup even easier. Many people use mats and rugs to reduce buildup as well.

Relax With the Help from Professionals

Getting help from a cleaning company is always a great idea. You can talk to a reliable cleaning company like Luxoclean about regular cleanings or less frequent deep cleanings. The extra help can make keeping bacteria, mold, and grease away much easier. Get weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or occasional cleaning and relax. Many people like to have a professional team do heavy-duty grout cleaning before the holidays or when they move to a new home. Knowing that your white grout lines are not harboring bacteria makes enjoying your time at home so much easier.

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