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Tiles can enhance a bathroom or kitchen in a variety of different ways, with flooring and back splashes just a couple of the options available to you.
The great look delivered by tile can quickly be tarnished, though, if dirt is allowed to develop in the grout between the tiles. The good news is that keeping your grout looking clean is not as difficult as you might think, and all you really need is the right cleaning solution.
What makes grout so dirty?
If you know exactly why grout gets dirty to begin with, you will have a much better chance of choosing a cleaner that gets the job done right. Dirty grout usually happens as a result of mold or mildew accumulation. That said, grout used in kitchen tile could potentially also become dirty due to a variety of different factors such as food stains and household traffic. When you make your first attempt at cleaning grout, start out with the least acidic solution, regardless of the causes of the dirt. If the milder cleaning solutions don’t do the job, you can them consider moving up to come of the harsher cleaners.
What are your cleaning options?
Simple stains might easily be cleaned up with regular household products. You may need to move up to heavier chemicals if your grout stains are that much tougher to get out. Since there are several different options open to you, it’s better to know them all before you get started.
There may actually be some items in your kitchen cupboard, such as baking soda or vinegar, that may serve as effective grout cleaners. You can either mix equal parts vinegar and water, or perhaps make a paste of baking soda and water to use as a cleaning solution.
In order to use either of these solutions, you are going to need a stiff brush in order to apply them to the affected areas of grout. Rather than rubbing up and down with the brush, try moving it in small circles. If there is any moisture left over, use paper towels or a sponge to clean it up after rinsing the area off with water.
Generic Grout Cleaners
Check the shelves of your local supermarket and you will find a wide variety of generic household cleaners, many of which are powder-based, that may be good enough to get the job done. When using these types of cleaners, you basically follow the same process as you would with the household cleaners mentioned above. Another method that you can use is to employ a steam cleaner on the affected areas. The steam cleaner applies a level of pressure that will shift the dirt and stains that other cleaning methods cannot.
Commercial Tile Cleaning Products
If you have tried both of the above methods and still find that your grout is not as clan as you would like it to be, it may be time to try a commercial tile cleaner. You can find these products at any location where home cleaning supplies are sold, but be sure to look for a cleaner that is pH balanced, as the grout will not end up becoming eroded when you use the cleaner over an extended period of time. For best results, spray your commercial cleaner onto the affected area and allow it to sit for a few minutes before you use the scrubbing brush. There should be detailed instructions on the label of the product you are using, so pay attention and follow them to the letter.
Heavy Duty Grout Cleaners
Heavy duty stains are far more stubborn than some of the ore common spots and marks that generally attack grout. If you want to get those out, you are going to have to turn to stronger products such as chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These are items that may not be on the shelf at your local supermarket, and which are more likely to be stocked in hardware stores or janitorial supply outlets.
It is imperative that you follow the instructions on the label exactly as they are described when using these types of heavy duty products.
Steer clear of bleach as a cleaning option for colored grout, as it can affect the overall look. Heavy duty cleaners should only be used very sparingly, and for the toughest of stains, as using them as your regular cleaner can result in the grout becoming damaged over an extended period of time.
When using a heavy duty cleaner, particularly if you are doing so in a smaller space, you need to employ some form of protection from the chemical fumes. The room should have some type of ventilation, and you should wear protective gloves, eyewear, and possibly even a guard for your nose and mouth. Never mix two different types of products together, as this can lead to a chemical reaction that can burn the skin and deliver noxious fumes.
Tips for Any Kind of Room Tile
A stiff scrubbing brush is an essential cleaning tool, regardless of the type of cleaner that you choose. Many people use a toothbrush for the job, but quickly find that it just isn’t tough enough. Skip those, and also stay away from metal brushes, as those can erode the grout over time.
When you start the process, test the cleaner on a small out of the way piece of grout, just to ensure that the cleaner you have chosen will not cause any type of damage. This is a crucial step if you are working on grout that is already old or partially eroded.
Maintain Your Clean Grout For A Long Time
Once you have finished cleaning and you have grout that looks as good as new, apply a coat or two of grout sealer to help keep it looking fresh. This is something that you should consider doing on a yearly basis, but just make sure that the type of grout sealer you choose is one that is made for a specific room or type of tile.