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Cleaning Bathroom Tile Grout

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Take a look at your tiles. These are the same stunning tiles that earned your admiration. But do they sport a dull and grimy look now? Is it because of dirty, moldy tile grout? Get the sparkle back. Find how to clean tile grout; be it bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles or back splash tiles.


Tile Grout

Grout is a cement based mixture that is used to fill the space between tiles. Though grout helps keep tiles in place, it is not an adhesive. The adhesive factor is the mortar behind the tiles which adheres the tiles to the wall or floor surface.

Since grout is porous in nature, grout is a magnet for dirt. Unsealed grout absorbs all kinds of grease and stains, dirt build up, mold, mildew and even coffee. Even water can easily get trapped and lead to discoloration and staining. Even if the grout was sealed, it wears off over time. The only option is to clean and reseal at least once a year to keep it looking great and retain the original sheen. Here are some reasons why the tile grout becomes unsightly:


  • Air movement causes dust to rest.
  • More the number of footprints, more the dirt.
  • Pet movement.
  • Detergent from mop leaves a sticky residue.

If not attended to, the unsightly grout can cause some damage to the floor's underlayment. Eventually, you may be required to consider replacing the entire area, the last thing you would want to do considering the cost factor and the feasibility aspect. With a bit of elbow grease, you can avoid the elaborate tile replacement.


How to clean tile grout


Filthy tiles are an eyesore. More so, if the colors are white or grey. It is a challenge to keep them clean.

Green options: Care for your pets, family, the environment and the colored grout? Choose the green way to cleaning tile grout. The natural method is also the most economical choice.

Vinegar: White distilled vinegar for cleaning tile grout is environment friendly as well as economical. An enemy to mold, bacteria and germs, white distilled vinegar is absolutely safe considering its level of acidity. Kitchen countertops or bathroom tile grout, choose white distilled vinegar and avoid harsh chemicals.


Allow white distilled vinegar to sit on the tile grout for a few minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush. Don't worry. The bristles of the tooth brush will not leave scratches on the tile. If you have an electric toothbrush, it's easier. The vibrations of the electric tooth brush help loosen dirt. Complete the chore by using a damp sponge or rinse with warm water. You will be excited to see the sparkling bright tiles.

Baking soda: The always available baking soda is handy in cleaning tile grout. The ratio of baking soda to water is 3:1. Mix the baking soda with water to form a paste and apply on the tile grout. Wait for 10 minutes and then rinse clean.

Lemon plus baking soda: There isn't any strict ratio in mixing lemon juice and baking soda. Make a paste-like consistency and apply to the dirty grout. Wait for a while and scrub and rinse with warm water.


Bleach plus baking soda: Reserve this combination for cleaning light colored or white tile grout. The ratio that works well is cup bleach with cup baking soda. To dilute add some water. Apply on the tile grout and wait for 10 minutes. Longer the time, the more it will bleach the tile grout. You will be relieved and glad with the results.

The duo: If the tile grout is more stubborn and the vinegar effect wasn't effective, try the dynamic duo, vinegar and baking soda. Use the toothbrush to brush baking soda into the grout. Take a spray bottle and fill with white vinegar. Spray the white vinegar on the tile grout thoroughly. Wait for about 30 minutes. Use a damp sponge to wipe grout. You will be glad with the result.

The trio: Vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice, mix all the three in ample water. Use a rag to apply on the grout. Wait for 10 minutes. Use a bristle scrub to remove the dirt.


Tea tree oil: If you are looking out for the most effective natural mold killer, try tea tree oil. The scent of tea tree oil is soothing. Most appropriate for cleaning bathroom tile grout, the tea tree oil extends a spa-like feeling.

The ratio of tea tree oil and water is 1 teaspoon for a cup of water. As the oil may not easily dissolve in water, add a small amount of dish washing liquid. Mix and spray on the affected area. Don't scrub or rinse. The anti-bacterial effect starts working. The discoloration may not go away but the tea tree oil kills the mold. Complete the process by wiping the area with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner.


Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide, an all-purpose cleaner is also rated as an earth-friendly as it breaks down upon application into oxygen and water. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mold and anti-mildew properties of hydrogen peroxide make it a better bet to clean icky tile grout. Hydrogen peroxide is anti-toxic as well. Choose a food grade hydrogen peroxide to clean tile grout. Spray it, no mixing with water and watch it bubble. Wait for ten minutes. The tiles with mold or mildew will start to loosen it up. Clean it or wipe away with a micro-fiber cloth.


Easy tile grout cleaning

Here are other easy options worth considering regarding cleaning tile grout.

Find a product: Look for a powerful yet safe commercial tile grout cleaning product that is effective in removing soap scum, body oil, mildew, algae etc. There are even tile grout cleaning products that discourage the mould or mildew from returning. Read instructions before buying. If possible try a test patch.


Avail tile grout cleaning service: Look out for local tile grout cleaning service providers who promise safe, effective and efficient grout cleaning services. The kitchen, bathroom or any other area, these tile grout cleaners have solutions to remove those stubborn tile grout. Besides the time-saving factor, you benefit from the difference, sparkling white, clean grout looking brand new. Tile sealing is an added service extended by tile grout cleaning service providers to create a protective surface. Sealing the tiles after tile grout cleaning is beneficial as it prevents further dirt and mildew from settling on the porous surface.


Use tile grout brush: Scrubbing of tile grout gets easier with grout brushes. The purpose of using a tile grout brush is to gently loosen the dirt and soil. Choose a tile grout brush with a long handle suitable to reach all areas and as well clean all grout sizes. For cleaning tile grout on floors and counter tops, a triangle angled grout brush is most suitable.


Cleaning bathroom tile grout

Day in day out, the bathroom sees a lot of use. Water, soap scum, body oil, shampoo, detergents, hard water stains, molds, dews, the combination of any these can result in a discolored bathroom tile grout in the shower area, tub area, vanity and the floor. For a clean and spruced-up bathroom, a combined tile grout regimen is required, that which reaches into the tiny pores of the tiles in the bathroom.


Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning bathroom tile grout.

The right tool: Grout brush is the right tool to cleaning bathroom tile grout. It makes cleaning easier, the handle provides ample grip and also keeps the hand out of mess. The stout plastic bristles of the brush help in cleaning bathroom tile grout faster and with ease. Choices are aplenty online. Order online or pick one from the nearest hardware store.

Bathroom tile grout cleaner: Look for commercial tile cleaners that indicate effectiveness for cleaning grout too. Test cleaners on small areas first or contact the company for directions to use. Consider ecofriendly cleaning spray or use a homemade bathroom tile grout cleaner which work equally well.

Other accessories: Rubber gloves to protect your hands and rolls of paper towels or a washcloth or rag to wipe the cleaner off.


On the job:


  • Clear the bathroom. Remove any loose dirt and dust.
  • Remove material like soap, shampoo, conditioner, gel, paper towels, powder etc. Maneuvering gets easier.
  • Rinse the tiles with clean water and let it dry.
  • Provide for ample ventilation. It is important to open a window or turn on a fan while cleaning bathroom tile grout to avoid breathing in fumes.
  • Use the chosen bathroom tile grout cleaning agent.
  • If it is a homemade cleaning agent, make use of a bowl or container that will not have further use.
  • If using a commercial cleaning product, read instructions before use.
  • Wear hand gloves.
  • Pick up the grout brush to apply bathroom tile grout cleaning product.
  • Apply the bathroom tile grout cleaning product with care.
  • You may also do a test on a small patch and wait for 24 hours to see effectiveness.
  • Always start cleaning from the top area and work downwards.
  • Do not overuse as it can cause damage to the tile.
  • When the bathroom tile grout cleaner has provided satisfactory results rinse the tiles with warm water.
  • Scrub again if required.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

Seal after cleaning bathroom tile grout

The purpose of using a sealer is to cover the grout. The dirt or spills are kept out of the grout. The tiles may not require frequent grout cleaning. To avoid application of sealer on the surrounding area, practice to seal only the grout. Be generous to apply as much seal as the grout absorbs. Do not walk on the area till it dries. If required, add a second coat. After the area is dry, test the grout by dripping water. If the job is well done, the water should puddle on the surface.

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