Grout is the white stuff between tiles, on floors and in bathrooms. Bright white grout makes the tiles look great, but dirty, mildewed grout just looks dirty. Scrubbing grout takes time and good old fashioned elbow grease, but there are things you can do to keep it cleaner for longer, or to prevent problems at all.
The reason that grout gets so dirty so easily is that it’s very porous , made from sand, cement and water. Dirt, moisture and growing things find a good home in it. It’s also rubbery and often a little rough and uneven.
- A good grout sealant will shut up all the pores in your grout and make it smoother so that it’s not so hard to clean. You may have had a seal put on your grout when it was installed, but if not you can do it yourself. Just visit a home improvement store near you and ask for advice about the right way to do it. This will cut down on your cleaning time considerably, although of course you will still need to clean it occasionally.
- Get mildew off your grout with a mixture one half cut baking soda, one third cup ammonia, and one quarter cup white vinegar, all added to five cups of water. Put all this into a spray bottle, spray it on, wait five minutes and wipe it off, or else wash with water. Use soft bristled brushes to scrub if you need to, but don’t scrub too hard or you could lose chunks of grout.
- You can also use a bleach solution of one part bleach to five parts water. You must never, ever mix ammonia and bleach, though. They combine together to make chlorine gas, which is deadly. If you try one of these and find it doesn’t work, wash everything and wait two days before trying the other. Bleach is only good on white grout, and only used in moderation. It doesn’t get rid of dirt, just makes it hard to see.
- After you get your grout clean, that’s when you get your grout sealer and seal it off so that it doesn’t get so mildewed and dirty again.
- A pressure washer is another way to clean grout, but they should be used with great care.
- If your grout is permanently discolored, you could consider applying a grout dye to disguise the fact, making all your grout uniformly darker. Dye must be applied before you seal it, and ideally you really should clean it first anyway. Dying grout takes a good deal of time and fastidious trouble, as you will have to clean around the edges of every tile individually.
When it comes to grout, an ounce of prevention is definitely work a pound of cure. Put in the one-time extra trouble to seal your grout and save yourself many occasions of scrubbing and cleaning. If it’s dirty you have to clean it, one way or the other, but you can make that clean last much longer.