How to Clean Tile Grout

Whether you’ve got tile floors, kitchen backsplashes, or bathroom tile, the grout between tiles can get pretty grimy. With the right cleaning solution and a bit of elbow grease, you can get your grout looking fresh and brand new.

Tile grout gets dirty in many different ways. In the bathroom, it’s usually mold or mildew causing the grout stains. In the kitchen it could be a combination of food stains, general household traffic and grime, and mildew. No matter what the cause of the staining, start off with the simplest and least acidic cleaning solution first, moving up to harsher chemical cleaners if you are unsuccessful in getting the grout completely clean.

For some stains, simple household items like vinegar or baking soda can be effective cleaners. Use vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water, or make a paste of baking soda and a bit of water to clean the grout with. Spray or dab the cleaner onto a small length of grout and scrub with a stiff brush. Scrubbing in small circles rather than straight up and down will remove more debris from the grout. Rinse well with water and mop up and remaining moisture with a sponge or paper towels.

Generic household cleaners such as Mr. Clean, Lysol, or powder-based cleaners can also work on tile grout. Use as directed above for vinegar or baking soda, and make sure to rinse the grout well after cleaning. Alternatively, if you own or have access to a steam cleaner, try using it on your grout work. The pressure of the steam cleaner can loosen debris and stains that cleaners can’t dissolve.

If your grout hasn’t come completely clean, the next step is to try a commercial tile and grout cleaner. These are available wherever home cleaning products are sold. Try to find a cleanser that is pH balanced so that the chemicals in the product won’t erode the grout with continued use. To get the best result from a commercial cleaner, spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. Follow the directions on the label of the product to clean effectively.

 


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