Even after mopping, tile floors with dirty grout may still look messy. You can make your floors look fresher by cleaning the grout between the tiles. Here are 4 simple ways to clean your grout.
Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water to make a thick paste. This versatile cleaner will work with all colors of grout, but vinegar can be harmful to some natural stones such as marble or limestone.
- Apply the paste to the grout lines with your finger.
- Although the baking soda isn’t harmful, wearing rubber gloves can help prevent scratches or irritated skin from the abrasive grout and baking soda.
Make a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the baking soda paste you applied with the vinegar solution. You should immediately see bubbling which lets you know the natural cleaning process has begun.
Wait for the solution to stop bubbling. The bubbling action is a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar. The reaction generally lasts a few minutes. After the bubbling has stopped the chemical cleaning action is done.
Scrub the grout lines with a brush. Use a nylon bristled scrub brush, or a toothbrush, to scrub along each grout line. Pay close attention to corners and edges to make these areas clean as well.
Mop the floor with plain water. Use a mop and plain water to remove the baking soda and vinegar residues. Rinse your mop and change the water often during the cleaning process so you do not continue to spread the residue around the floor.
Cleaning with Oxygenated Bleach
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of oxygenated bleach into 2 cups of warm water. Make the solution immediately prior to use for best results. Mix the solution thoroughly to ensure that the oxygen bleach is fully activated.The bleaching power of the oxygen bleach may damage colored grout, but is gentle enough for all tile types.
Test a hidden corner of the grout before cleaning the entire floor. Some tiles or grouts may be bleached or discolored by oxygen bleach. Apply a small amount of the oxygen bleach solution to a discreet section of the grout to test for colorfastness.
Pour the oxygen bleach solution onto the grout. Make sure to pour enough to fully cover the grout lines. Clean one section of the floor at a time to avoid having a completely wet floor.
Use a nylon bristle brush to scrub the oxygen bleach solution into the grout lines. Allow the oxygen bleach solution to sit on the grout for several minutes for optimum results.
- Scrub the grout with the brush back and forth.
- Be sure to scrub in corners and around the floor’s edges as dirt and grime tends to accumulate here.
Dip the brush into the oxygenated bleach powder to increase cleaning power. If you find a stain that is darker or more noticeable, a stronger solution of oxygen bleach can be made by dipping your wet brush directly into the oxygen bleach powder.
- NOTE Pour a small amount of the powder into a separate container to avoid mixing water into your main container of oxygen bleach powder.
Rinse the floor with water and dry. Pour clean water directly on the tile floor and dry it with a towel or clean mop.
Cleaning Grout with Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Dish Soap
Make a paste. Mix ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tablespoon dish soap. This highly effective paste cleans the grout in three ways:
- The baking soda works as a natural abrasive to scrub the grout.
- The hydrogen peroxide chemically reacts with the baking soda releasing bleaching oxygen ions.
- The dish soap helps loosen dirt and remove grease.
- NOTE: The bleaching action of the chemical reaction may affect colored grout. Test a hidden corner before cleaning the entire floor.
Apply the paste with a nylon bristled brush. A toothbrush or a nylon scrub brush work well. Be sure to apply the paste to the grout between all tiles and around the edges for a uniform clean look.
Let the mixture sit on the grout for 15 minutes. You may see a bubbling reaction as the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide interact. Give the paste time to work its way into the grout to fully remove any stains.
Rinse the grout with warm or hot water to remove all of the solution. Pour a small amount of water directly onto the tile floor to rinse the solution off the grout.
- Use caution as wet tiled floors can be very slippery.
Use a rag to wipe the grout to remove any leftover residue or dirt. Clean the remaining paste out of the grout by gently scrubbing the floor with a towel. This can be done by standing on a towel and shuffling the towel across the floor with both feet or by crawling and scrubbing as you go.
Mop the floor with clean water. Ensure that no soap or residue is left behind by thoroughly mopping the floor with a cotton or sponge mop. Rinse the mop and change the water often to get achieve a clean finish.
Cleaning Grout with a Steam Cleaner
Rent or purchase a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners can effectively clean and sanitize all types of tiles and grouts as there are no chemicals involved. Visit your local home improvement store to find a machine to rent or buy. Make sure that the steam cleaner you acquire has the proper attachments for cleaning grout:
- Steam hose
- Small brush attachment
Follow the manufacturer’s directions to assemble and fill the steam cleaner.Read the directions carefully to avoid damaging the equipment.
Fill the reservoir with clean water to the fill line according to the manual’s instructions. Do not add chemicals or soaps to the steam cleaner water reservoir.
Turn the steam cleaner on and allow it to heat up. The steam cleaner’s instruction manual will advise you on how long to wait after turning on the machine before cleaning.
Move the cleaning brush back and forth over the grout. Start at one side of the room and work your way towards the other end of the room. The steam will lift the dirt and grime from the grout and also kill any mildew that may be present.
Use a towel or mop to wipe up the excess moisture after cleaning. Be careful as the floor may be slippery after the steam condenses into water.
NOTE: Steam cleaning will remove all grout sealant, so only use a steam cleaner if your grout is unsealed or if the sealant is old and you are ready to remove it.
- You should always test a new cleaner or cleaning solution on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it is not going to damage your grout or tile.
- When using baking soda or oxygen bleach solutions, don’t make more than you need because these solutions can lose their potency quickly.
- After cleaning the grout, apply a sealant to keep it cleaner longer.
- Do not use a hard bristled brush like a steel or wire brush because this may break and damage the grout
- Don’t use vinegar on any real marble, granite, travertine, or other natural stone because it might etch the surface and cause permanent damage. The grout used with these surfaces should only be cleaned with a ph neutral solution.
Things You'll Need
Nylon bristled brush