If you’re a homeowner with tile, you know that the line of grout between tile pieces can become an unsightly feature of your home. Dirty grout is an eyesore to the aesthetic vibe of any floor or wall.

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To help you cut through the grime that blurs your vision of a clean home, we’re going to show you how to clean grout.

Things you should know about grout

There is more than one type of grout available for tile work. In most cases, it is a mix of water, cement, and sand. Sometimes it is tinted with coloring. Tiling grout has cement – some variations are sanded or unsanded. Silica sand is in the sanded type. The unsanded grout is finer than the sanded grout. Its final surface is smooth. Generally speaking, grout quality can be increased with polymers or latex.

How to clean grout

Because of the porous nature of grout, dirt and grim will quickly cling to the grout in between areas of your tile floor. This can be very frustrating as you get your tile looking shiny and fresh while your grout remains dull and dirtied.

Your tile is clean, but your grout is drabby. This is a common problem among homeowners with tile flooring or walls. But don’t worry. Here at Enviro-Dry, we’ve got your back. We’ll help you get those grout lines looking new in no time at all. Follow along for some killer tips and tricks to grout cleaning basics.

A general rundown to cleaning grout

It’s a huge let down when you wipe down your tile and see that grout sticking out like a sore thumb. Tile is non-porous so it resists the dirt that hits its surface. But grout is another story. It’s very porous, attracting all sorts of dirt and spills. In no time at all, spills, dirt, or mildew can leave its mark on your tile’s grout lines.

To begin the process on how to clean grout, begin by wiping the grout lines down with hot water. The next step will be to spray down the grout with a cleaning solution. A good, basic cleaning solution is a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar. Pour this solution into a spray bottle, shake it up, and spray on your grout.

After you let it sit for five minutes, use a soft brush to scrub away at the grout. A toothbrush should do the trick. Stay away from stiff metal brushes so as to avoid wearing away at the grout. When you’re done, you can rinse the grout with hot water.

In the following sections, we’ll share alternative methods for cleaning grout. For many of them, you’ll be able to apply with ingredients you already have on hand in your kitchen.

Baking soda cleaning solution for a stubborn stain

If a stubborn stain is leaving a blemish on your grout, then it’s a good idea to bring in some real cleaning power. Baking soda is always up to the task if you need an extra boost of strength in your cleaning regime.

To leverage the cleaning power of baking soda, mix up some baking soda and water – add enough water to create a paste that you can apply to your problem area. Let it sit for at least twelve hours and then scrub the area with a toothbrush. After you’ve scrubbed the grout, rinse the area with hot water.

A less acidic solution for porous tile

In the case that you are working with a porous tile, you’ll need a less acidic cleaning solution. You don’t want to harm your tile in the process of cleaning your grout. This would give you a problem bigger than what you currently have on hand. It’s one thing to deal with dirty grout, it’s another to damage your tile.

colored and patterned tiled floor

For a cleaning solution that will be gentler on your tile, go for a mix of one part peroxide to two parts baking soda. Apply this mixture to your grout and scrub away at it with a toothbrush. Rinse with hot water and there you go – now you know how to clean grout without damaging your tile.

Baking soda and lemon juice cleaner

To begin with, you’ll need four ingredients: three cups of water, half a cup of baking soda, one-third cup of fresh lemon juice, and a quarter cup of white vinegar. It is likely that you’ll find these ingredients in your pantry, making this is a great homemade grout cleaner recipe. After you’ve gathered the ingredients, pour the appropriate quantities into a spray bottle and gently shake it. Next, spray the floor and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Scrub the grout with a toothbrush and rinse with hot water.

Epsom salt and dish soap cleaner

For this recipe, you’ll need one cup of Epsom salts, half a cup of baking soda, and a quarter cup of liquid hand washing dish soap. Mix the ingredients together and spread the mixture onto your grout line. Begin scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush or some other brush with soft bristles. Once you’ve done all the scrubbing you want, rinse the area with hot water and you’re done.

Baking soda and dish soap cleaner

As with the Epsom salt recipe, this one will give you a paste to scrub with. To begin with, you’ll need half a cup of baking soda, a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a teaspoon of dish soap. Pour these ingredients into a bowl and mix them up. After you’ve mixed the ingredients together, scoop the paste onto your grout and allow it to sit for about fifteen minutes. Gently scrub the area with a soft bristle brush and rinse with hot water.

Sandpaper for stain removal on grout

Alternatively, you may make use of sandpaper for stain removal from your grout. Folding it in half, use the creased edge to move it across the grout. Additionally, a pencil eraser may also be used to remove stains. Once you are doing with either method, rinse the area with hot water.

Store cleaning solution

There are various store cleaning solutions on the market that will leave your grout looking like new, but at what cost? Many of the cleaning products on the market are hostile towards the environment, human, and animal health. And yet, to not kill the little beasties (bacteria and germs) would be neglectful and also hazardous to your family’s health. What does one do?

Well, there’s certainly no room for neglect in a clean home. And do-it-yourself cleaning solutions are not the only alternative. You’ll find many great environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions on the market for both tile and grout.  

By using solutions that are safe for your household, your home will be both a cleaner and safer place for all. Additionally, the environment will be better for this decision. As you can see, your cleaning solution choices impact everyone.

Tips for keeping your grout clean

If you want to maintain that “new” look that you’ve worked hard for, it’s time we provided you with some helpful tactics. Now that you know how to clean grout, you need to know how to keep it looking great.

Grout sealer

First big tip for keeping your grout looking spiffy is making use of grout sealer. As soon as you’ve deep cleaned your tile’s grout lines, you can begin the process by allowing it to air dry. This is the time to repair any damages in the grout such as cracks. After your grout is clean and dry, it’s time to apply the grout sealer. Your grout sealer will help your grout resist stains and dirt. Every two years (or more, in heavily trafficked areas), you’ll need to re-apply the sealer.

small, multi-colored tiles

Now it’s time to apply the sealer. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to grout sealer. You’ll need to look at the options available to you at your home improvement store. Some sealers are best for certain types of tile. You’ll also find that certain sealers are better suited to showers where there is much moisture. Other sealers work best for low moisture areas such as kitchens.

  • Penetrating grout sealers. Generally, you’ll find that there are two main choices at your disposal. First, there are penetrating sealers. These grout sealers are made of latex or silicone particles. The particles are small enough to be absorbed into the grout, filling in all the tiny grout crevices. For bathrooms, this sealer is a powerful barrier against moisture.
  • Membrane-forming grout sealers. The second type of grout sealer is the membrane-forming kind. It resists water and comes in various colors so you can change your bathroom’s look. They’re not such a great idea for bathrooms as water that’s trapped under tile won’t be able to evaporate due to the nature of the sealer.

Grout cleaner, keep it handy

Yes, we know. We already covered the grout cleaner. But how about the ingredients measured out in zip bags, all ready to spring into action should a spill occur? The sooner you deal with spills, the better. The longer you delay to mop it up, the harder it will be to remove from your grout. By keeping your grout cleaner handy, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in making cleanup a breeze.

Die grinder

If things are bad enough with your grout, it may be best to whip out a die grinder and remove the tile grout. By replacing it with fresh grout, you’ll be all set to start anew in your grout maintenance journey. You’ll know if it’s time to be gone with the old grout and in with the new.

Look for crumbling and cracking grout lines. If you’re seeing a lot of this on your tile floor or wall, you know it’s time to replace the grout. If the grout is dirty beyond the help of your cleaning solutions or the help of a professional, that’s another sign that it’s time for something new.

Benefits of cleaning dirty grout

There are many benefits to deep cleaning your grout. These benefits range from the practical to pure aesthetics. Whatever your reasons for deep cleaning your grout, you’ll be glad you took the time to do it.

Extend the longevity of your grout

Here’s the thing about dirt – it wears away at the material. In this case, the material it slowly destroys is grout. Dirt has an abrasive nature, even at the tiniest particle level. This abrasiveness will wear away at your grout. In the process, dirt will shorten your grout’s lifespan and require the investment of grout removal and replacement.

By taking care to deep clean your grout and maintain it, you’re keeping the dirt at bay. In the process, the grout will benefit by not requiring premature removal. This saves you money in the long run.

Clean grout makes for a completely clean look

It’s the little things in life, they say. Grout is one of those little things in life with big satisfying impact if kept clean. Grimy, filthy grout lines can really put a damper on the clean shine of a freshly cleaned tile floor.

If you’re looking to touch up your home, deep cleaning your grout provides a cheap and easy remodel of sorts. Make your house beautiful by tackling that grout.

Healthier, happier home

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When you get at the bacteria in the crevices of your grout, you’re making your home a safer and healthier environment. This is important because your family’s and your well-being is important. Floors can be quite the habitat for bacteria, so why not take the extra pain to ensure things are spick and span?

A healthy environment brings smiles!

In short, knowing how to clean your grout means knowledge that will make your home a lovelier and healthier environment. All you need are some ingredients that you probably already have on hand and a little bit of initiative to get the task going!

Some homeowners love the idea of a steam mop as a way to keep that tile floor looking clean. But how does one choose the right steam mop for tile? We’ve got your back with a few steam mop model suggestions.

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