Tile is durable, timeless and beautiful. Unfortunately, stained, moldy grout can be unsightly and unhealthy. Many consider cleaning grout a dreaded, time-consuming chore. Here are some tips to make cleaning bathroom grout a less painful experience.
- Cleaning Bathroom Grout – Preparation: Before cleaning the grout first remove everything from the surface including bottles, rugs, and trash cans. Wipe away any loose dirt and debris. Inspect the grout for chips or gaps that may need later repair. Check for stains, discoloration or mold. Do not wet the surface. Most grout will soak up water and if the grout is wet, the cleaning solution will not be able to penetrate as well.
- Cleaning Bathroom Grout – Cleaning Solutions: If the grout is free from discolorations and mold hot water is the best cleaning solution. Hot water will loosen any remaining dirt and rinse it away. Clean the grout using a toothbrush, cloth or steam cleaner. Afterwards wipe up the excess water with a dry towel. Occasional use of an oxygen bleach (sodium bicarbonate) works well for removing stains. To clean the grout, make a solution of a half cup of oxygen bleach to one gallon of water. Stir until the bleach powder is dissolved. Apply liberally to the surface and let the grout soak for up to a half hour. The oxygen molecules will loosen embedded dirt and stains, lifting them out of the grout. After soaking, scrub the grout with a stiff brush, then rinse with clean water. Be aware that if your grout is sealed, oxygen bleach may strip the sealer over time. You may have to reseal more frequently.
- Cleaning Bathroom Grout – Stains and Mold: Grout pens are a good tool to have in your cleaning arsenal. These pens, filled with bleach solution, are a no mess way to clean a specific area. To use, simply draw the bleach onto the discoloration. Let is set, then rinse the grout with water and dry. Bleach pens work best on grout that is white or lighter colored. Bleach may discolor some darker grout. Mold can often grow not just on the grout, but within it. Mold thrives in moist conditions, so drying off tile and running a fan in the bathroom will help reduce the incidence of mold. Products that contain bleach are effective at removing mold. In addition, many grouts now contain antimicrobial properties which permanently retard the growth of mold and mildew.
- Cleaning Bathroom Grout – Prevention: For many cleaning the grout once is enough. There are several ways to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning grout. Use colored grout. All grout will discolor over time. Using a darker grout will make this discoloration less noticeable. There are even grout stains available that can darken the shade of existing grout. Sealing grout will help to keep dirt from discoloring grout. It will also make cleaning the grout easier. Wiping down the grout and tile daily will not only dry the grout, it will also clean up surface dirt and soap scum before it can become a problem. Allowing good airflow by running the fan in the bathroom will lessen the chance of mold growth.
With regular maintenance cleaning the bathroom grout will become a less frequent and less dreaded chore.