The tile in your home only looks as good as your grout does. When you place new tiles in your bathroom, kitchen or another area of your home, you must use grout to fill the joints in between the tiles to prevent water penetration. Using the wrong cleaner can begin to deteriorate and discolor your grout. So what are some grout cleaning solutions that you can use to maintain your grout?
How to Clean Grout with Acidic Cleaners
Acidic cleaners contain either sulfamic acid or phosphoric acid. These acids are relatively safe to use around the house, and you shouldn't worry about your kids or pets. As long as you keep them out of the room until you finish the cleaning process, you won't have any problems. Acids clean grout by etching into the surface. This means that when you apply the grout cleaning product, it slowly eats away at the top portion of the grout. These acidic products open the pores in the grout, which helps sealers penetrate into the grout. While you can find these cleaners from many stores, you should keep in mind that acidic cleansers will break down the grout, which can reduce its lifespan.
How to Clean Grout with Alkaline Cleaners
Alkaline cleaners are bleach based cleaners that work well especially if you have white grout to remove most mold and mildew stains. You can use ordinary household bleach, but many recommend diluting it with a small amount of water. The best ratios is 1 Part Bleach to 10 Parts Water. When working with bleach, you should also open the doors and windows and use a respirator to keep the fumes from overwhelming you. If you don't rinse the grout thoroughly to remove all traces of the bleach, you might notice that it dries into a white film over the grout.
Tile Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide
Nearly every household has a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on hand, and this liquid does a great job of cleaning grout. You should mix the peroxide with equal parts water and oxygen bleach, creating a liquid with the power of bleach. Unlike bleach, this substance doesn't leave any residue on your grout. You apply the mixture directly to the grout with a brush or cloth and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then use a soft bristle nylon brush to agitate the grout. Depending on the severity of your stains, you might need to reapply the mixture multiple times before it begins working.
Many steam cleaning companies now offer grout cleaning. This is a good option for dark stains or if you want to clean and sanitize at the same time. The company should use steam cleaner specifically designed for grout and tile and not a carpet cleaner. Carpet steam cleaners are much too powerful for tile and grout, and the cleaner can actually damage or break the grout lines. Look for companies that have use a steam pressure of less than 100 PSI for the best results and more that 270 Degrees.
Cleaning your grout will make your tile look fresh and new. Depending on the type and color of stains on your grout, you might try products you find in local stores or professional cleaning.