How to Clean Grout and Get Results

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Ceramic tile is a great addition to any home. It is durable, stain-resistant, and it can stay fresh looking for many years. Grout, however, is porous, easy-to-stain and soft – the opposite of tile. Nobody likes to look at dirty, brown grout on an otherwise clean floor or tile wall. Luckily, there are many easy and efficient ways to tackle dirt accumulation, clean the grout and make it shine. We asked Sir Clean Pro who is a professional tile and carpet cleaner from Barrie, ON to give us some tips.

Your first inclination might be to use a commercial grout cleaner. It’s advised that you read the labeling thoroughly before you apply a commercial cleaner to your grout, as many commercial cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment when emptied down your sink. OxyClean is an environmentally safe commercial grout cleaner. Its main ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which is neither a carcinogen, nor a neurotoxin. OxyClean works best with warm water. Follow the instructions on the labeling. If you don’t have OxyClean on hand, or you don’t feel comfortable using a commercial grout cleaner, there are many household items that will do the trick and save you money in the long run.

Before cleaning grout, it’s best to sweep, vacuum or wipe down the tiled area. Combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Spread that paste all along the grout lines. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before spraying white vinegar on the grout lines. Use a soft bristled brush to scrub that into the grout lines. For extra dirty grout that’s doesn’t fully clean on the first try, add a bleach-based cleaning solution to the baking soda/vinegar combination.

Another recommended cleaning solution can be created by combining ¾ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of dish soap.

This solution is efficient because it tackles the dirt from three angles. First, the baking soda acts as an abrasive on the grout. Second, the hydrogen peroxide enacts a chemical reaction with the baking soda, which helps bleach the grout. Finally, the dish soap loosens dirt and grease that can be brushed away later. Once you’ve made your solution, apply the paste with a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to apply the paste consistently, to create a uniform look around your grout. Let the paste sit on the grout for at least fifteen minutes. (Warning: it will bubble up, this is normal!) After 15 minutes, rinse out the grout with warm water to remove the solution. Remove any leftover residue with a clean rag before mopping the floor with clean water.

It’s recommended that you never use abrasive cleaning materials to try and scrape out grout. Steel wool, metal brushes, and scrubbing pads can wear down the grout and do more harm than good. Softly brushing the cleaning solution into the grout lines with an old toothbrush or electric toothbrush is enough to do the trick.

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