Just Floored: How To Clean Grout

If you have tile anywhere in your home, one of the cleaning challenges you face is keeping the grout between your tiles looking clean. Grout is a porous substance and, if not sealed properly, can absorb stains.{{more}} This makes even a recently cleaned area look dingy and grimy. Don’t give up hope! There are simple, inexpensive ways to clean that stained grout. All you need are a few common supplies and some elbow grease.

Unsightly, stained grout

To start, you’ll need a powdered, oxygenated cleaning agent, such as OxiClean. Unlike bleach, OxiClean is safe to use on colored grout. You’ll also need an old toothbrush, warm water, a soft, clean towel, and a couple of lemons.

Tools for cleaning grout

A word of caution: If you have marble tile, use the lemon juice sparingly. The acidic lemon juice can damage marble finishes.

First, completely clean your tile surfaces to remove any surface dirt or dried on debris. Let the grout dry fully after this step.

Next, stir two tablespoons of the oxygenated cleaner into about two cups of warm water. Dip your old toothbrush into this mixture, apply to the grout, and let it soak for a few minutes. Then scrub the grout thoroughly using a circular motion. You may need to dip the brush into the powdered cleaner to make a paste for removing more stubborn stains. After scrubbing, wipe the area clean with a towel and allow the grout to dry completely.

Scrub grout with a toothbrush or other coarse brush

If you have darker stains that resist the oxygenated cleaner, squeeze a little lemon juice onto the area. Let it soak for a bit, scrub, and wipe clean.

Once the grout is totally dry (wet grout appears darker and may hide some stains), inspect the area for any stains that weren’t removed. If the grout is stain-free, you should consider applying a sealer to help maintain that clean appearance. Reapply the sealer once a year to help prevent future stains and keep your grout looking great for many years.

Stain-free grout allows the tile to look its best!

In a larger area, such as an extensive tile floor, a commercial steamer may simplify your grout-cleaning job. Sometimes, however, old fashioned elbow grease is the best tool you have. Tackle a big job by working on one manageable area at a time.

Extremely stubborn stains that resist any cleaning method may indicate that the grout in that area needs to be replaced. Your best bet in this case is to consult a professional who will ensure the correct color and type of grout is used. If you want to replace the grout yourself, a dremel tool can be used to remove the old grout. Mix and apply the new grout according to manufacturer’s directions. You will need to let the grout cure before applying a sealer, so be sure to read all instructions on the grout mix carefully.

Annamarie Amore is the owner of the A.A.I. Flooring Specialists. She can be reached at amoreinteriorsllc@yahoo.com