What's the best way to clean tile grout? Our new house has a very lovely tiled kitchen, but the grout is stained. I'm thinking bleach, but it's so harsh on your skin and clothes! If there's a better way please suggest. Thanks in advance!
Jenni, there is a new product made just for your job. It's called Clorox Bleach Pen and can be used on tile and grout.
Directly from the above site: Take your Clorox® Bleach Pen™ Gel into the bathroom & kitchen for an easy way to remove stains on tile, grout, caulking, and porcelain.
Clorox® Bleach Pen™ Gel wipes out even the toughest of stains, like mold & mildew, coffee, tea, berry juice and red wine.
Instructions for Household Use 1. Shake before use 2. Unscrew cap on chosen tip (fine point or broad scrubber). Do not have both caps off at same time 3. Gently squeeze to apply. Replace cap after use 4. Rub stain 5. Rinse or wipe clean
Posts: 9193 | Location: Atlanta, GA, USA | Registered: 06-03-02
I've seen that Georgia and I thought about it. It's a fairly large floor and the tiles are somewhat smaller. I was thinking it was a great idea, but I'd probably need a dozen of those pens to get the entire floor done. I do like that the pen is so neat. I always end up ruining a shirt when I use bleach. I'll keep that pen in mind though. Thanks Georgia!
I’ll put this in the order of easiest to most complicated. Since I do not see your floor I have no idea of what kind of staining we are talking about, I do not know the over all condition of the grout, I do not know what kind of tile you have – I assume its ceramic glazed tile (shiny in appearance) and not a stone or flat finished ceramic. With each chemical treatments I strongly urge you to test on a hidden tile, let the product sit for a few hours on the grout and on the tile, then clean up and inspect the tile and the grout for loss of material or damage. Even the safest method (baking soda and vinegar) will leave a residue which will continue to work at the grout and tile and could, over time, lead to damage to the grout and/or tile.
The safest chemicals to use are Baking soda and vinegar:
Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda like you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly. To clean grout, put 3 cups baking soda into a medium-sized bowl and add 1 cup warm water. Mix into a smooth paste and scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dispose of leftover paste when finished.
Vinegar: (White or clear vinegar) Vinegar is an acid, it will eat through many things however being a weak acid it takes a long time for it to dissolve a lot of things. I would start off with a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 4 part water (1 cup vinegar 4 cup water) and pour a little bit on the tiles and let it sit in the grout for a minute or so, the vinegar will penetrate the grout. Then rinse thoroughly – OR – instead of rinsing the vinegar away, follow with the baking soda paste – there will be a bit of fizzing as you mix the acid and the alkali. Then rinse with clean water. I reckon it’s like the Ph level in my pool, I add an alkali to reduce the acid – thus following the vinegar with the baking soda would cancel out the acidity of the vinegar.
This method requires a lot of time, and of course test in a hidden area before going to the middle of the floor.
Kick it up a notch: There are several commercial and industrial products (harsh chemicals) out there which are designed specifically for cleaning grout. Home centers have them, places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. However lets face it either they require you to get down on hands and knees and put the material on the grout, or they require a lot of applications and elbow grease – all come with their fair share of warnings about certain types of tiles being damaged by the product.
Bleach may be the worst possible thing you can do if it is a colored grout, (other than white and grey) it could strip out the surface coloring leaving your grout mottled in color, or grey.
The problem is not the surface dirt, the problems is that grout is porous – meaning full of small holes, thus dirt and debris and material gets into those holes staining the concrete. Ideally the rout should have been sealed soon after it set; practically we end up spending a lot of time on hands and knees scrubbing the grout lines.
So it is that I bring you to the next “solution” and that is to forget trying to save the old grout or restore it to its natural color. There are several products on the market which stain the grout an even color, say dark brown, dark grey, black, etc. The downside to this is if the dirt is really dark in places, the final product will have that mottled appearance, the darker stains, grease stains will be different shades.
Personally I would not use a light colored grout in high traffic areas; I would go for a dark color that compliments the tile. The exception would be in a shower stall or a formal, occasional room area where I know that daily dirt and grime would not be tread into the grout. White Grout is absolutely the worst to place in a kitchen, bathroom or any room floor simply because it would show every single grain of dirt.
The problem with staining a grout to a new or darker color is that you can never be 100% certain what the final color would look like different grouts have different properties and accept color differently. Thus the age of the grout must considered, new grouts contain latex/plastic/rubber compounds which resist staining/coloring. If you are fortunate to have a bit of tile and grout under the stove or refrigerator or similar where you could stain the grout and see it against the tiles themselves I would suggest testing any product there first. After staining you MUST seal that grout, or you will have it losing color or have more staining take place.
Taking that up a notch means having the old grout removed and new grout put in then SEALED. The last is the most expensive, however it can be the most practical if the tile it worth saving and you can not bear to lose the tile.
I think that covers all the options.
Posts: 4146 | Location: Neither here nor there | Registered: 06-03-02
Wow! That's a lot of information! Unfortunately, the grout is white. And the tile is kinda of a pinkish white. I vowed to never again have a white kitchen floor after the house we're in now, but this new floor is real tile and not the junky linoleum that's in the old house. Guess I'll just have to live with it!
Thanks for all you help David! We'll see how it goes!
Hard to believe but the best thing to clean grout with is listerine. Try it it works great. Another cleaning item I use faithfully is Dow bathroom cleaner on everything for many years. My husband says I should take stock in Dow because I use it it for an all purpose cleaner for everything. You'll be amazed. People try to get different things cleaned & can't. I tell them to use Dow and they're amazed. It works...
Wow, Listerene? If you do use bleach Jenni be careful to not let it sit on your skin, when my brother moved into his house the master bath was huge and I decided to get on the floor and use a ton of bleach, it soaked through my jeans and since I was on my knees scrubbing like mad for quite some time I didn't really notice anything until I was done that it was burning by the time I got home and peeled of the pants they were stuck to my kness and I ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree burns...it hurt like hell for a couple of weeks and still five years later I have scars.