Whether on the floor, shower or backsplash, tile has remained a common mainstay in homes across America. Maintaining and cleaning that tile is easy. After all, it’s one of the biggest advantages over hardwood or carpet.
But what about cleaning that stuff between the tile?
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That, my friends, is called grout. Grout locks the tiles together and keeps moisture above it. Unlike tile, grout is porous, which means it’s not stain-proof or waterproof. Therefore, if your 3-year-old spills his apple juice, cleaning the tile is easy, but cleaning the grout is another animal all together.
The visible grout lines made from water, sand and cement absorb grease and dirt faster than tiles. As a result, it may discolor quickly. If mold or bacteria is present, unpleasant odors could ruin the room. Luckily, all can be avoided with proper and occasional cleaning.
Grout Cleaning Options
As always, there are two routes homeowners can take when it comes to cleaning grout. As our cost estimator says, the average cost homeowners pay to clean their tile and grout is $400. On the other hand, for those who are ready to throw in some elbow grease, put away that $400 and let’s get down to business.
Materials Needed to Clean Grout on Tile Floor
Given the chemicals involved, I recommend you invest in a pair of rubber gloves. They are cheap and for all the ladies out there, they could protect the nails. Then, go ahead and grab a good scrubbing brush. More often than not, a cheap toothbrush will do the trick.
Now that you have the tools, it’s time to pick an actual cleaning material. The savvier DIYer could create his or her own grout cleaner from any combination of baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or (oxygen) bleach. As an extra precaution, only use bleach if you have light colored grout. However, the safer bet would be to buy a special pH-balanced product from a flooring company to protect against discoloration.
Note: Certain grout cleaning products work best on certain tile. Do your research.
How to Clean Grout on Tile Floor
Let’s get to work. Depending on the chosen cleaner, it’s always best to let it sit within the grout for a few minutes before scrubbing it in. If you’re using a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, let the peroxide settle before hitting the scrubber.
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After pouring a healthy amount of cleaner and letting it sit, gently add your baking soda (if you're using it). Then, use your toothbrush or specialty brush and rub away the dirt. Don’t be afraid to use some muscle. Most homeowners ignore their grout for months, if not years, so a good amount of grease and dirt could be hiding.
Always start with a small area. Make sure your cleaning material and chosen tactic works and does not ruin the surrounding tile. After seeing positive results, move throughout the floor applying the same amount of cleaner.
Note that the same process works for your shower and backsplash grout. After cleaning your floor grout, the shower and/or backsplash should be a breeze.
For all those visual learners out there, here is a simple, two-minute video demonstrating the entire process.
The Best Grout Cleaner
If you hire the pros, chances are, they will use high-powered steaming or power washing equipment to clean the grout on your floor. They can remove dirt, grease or anything else that has found a home within your tile without any chemicals. This tactic is by far the best option for cleaning grout.
Tile floors are easy to clean, but when it comes to cleaning grout, a certain level of elbow grease is needed. If you don’t hire a pro, there is no substitute for getting on your knees and scrubbing. It’s not fun, but a necessary job every tile owner needs to accomplish every few months.
If this DIY job is not for you, click here to receive up to four free quotes for grout cleaning.