Grout serves multiple purposes of holding tiles to a surface, keeping water from getting behind tiles, and is sometimes also a colorful design feature. While tile is naturally resistant to dirt and stains, grout is prone to staining because of its light coloring and porous composition.
If you're cleaning floor tile grout, the likely grime-culprits are dirt and mud, while cleaning countertop grout usually involves dealing with countless food and drink spills. Mold and mildew are most likely what you're dealing with if you're cleaning grout in the shower.
Highly caustic or acidic cleaners like vinegar will stain and slowly corrode grout and tile finishes. Additionally, chlorine bleach will leach color out of tinted grout. Contrary to popular belief, the grout cleaner combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a reaction that cancels out the cleaning power of both ingredients, leaving you with about the same level of dirtiness you had prior to cleaning. Dish soap and soap-based cleaners are not recommended for cleaning grout, as they may leave a film on the surface. Lastly, waxy or oil-based cleaners can leave behind a film that will attract more dirt and grime.
Restoring stained grout to like-new brightness doesn't require harsh chemicals like bleach or vinegar. Even a steel bristle brush can work against you, scratching and damaging grout lines, and inviting stains and dullness, leading to diminished appeal of your floor. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner's non-toxic formula reaches deep into the tiny pores of your dirty grout to eliminate stains at the source without damaging the grout itself.
A good deep clean of your tile floors should be done monthly. A weekly wipedown will keep countertops looking new, while a spray-and-wipe routine after a bath or shower should help you maintain clean bathroom grout.
Directions for Cleaning Tile Grout:
- Sweep. If you're cleaning tile floors, sweep the area first to remove surface dirt.
- Wet. Spray or damp mop the grouted area with water to help the Simple Green sink into the dirty spots.
- Mix your Simple Green cleaning solution. Mix 2 tablespoons of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner with 1 cup of water in an empty spray bottle.
- Apply. Spray the grouted area one section at a time. Let the solution sit for a few minutes.
- Scrub the grout. Use an old toothbrush or soft-bristle brush to scrub any stubborn stains.
- Apply paste, if necessary. For extra dirty areas, mix a paste of baking soda and a little Simple Green to pull deeply-embedded dirt to the surface. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the mixture to soak into the grout.
- Rinse. Wipe each cleaned section with a damp, non-abrasive cloth or damp mop if you're cleaning floors.
- Dry. Dry as much as possible with a clean towel. Dirty water or cleaner residue settles into the concave grout lines. Once the liquid residue evaporates, dirt will be left behind.
TIP: Regular cleaning isn't usually enough to prevent stains and dirt. After cleaning and air drying, use a grout sealer. The sealer will need to be reapplied every two years, or more frequently if the grout is in a high traffic area.