How To Clean Grout
If you never really have to think about grout, consider yourself lucky; grout is a composite material used in virtually all tile projects and works well for what it does, which is to fill seams and voids, except that grout is porous. Grout and tiling get dirty, and when the conditions are just right, the porous nature of grout is a magnet for the spores that cause unsightly and unhealthy mold and mildew.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who is right now having to think about grout, you’re probably wondering, ‘How do I clean grout?’
How you clean grout depends on whether you are doing a general cleaning for removing soap scum build-up and grime or whether you are trying to remove mold and mildew.
Most likely, you are having issues with mold and mildew in your bathroom or kitchen. Mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist conditions with minimal airflow, and the porous nature of the grout used in these projects is an especially ideal spot for mold growth.
Let’s tackle this subject head-on and look at ways to clean grout in your home with some very common products that you most likely already have that are safe and effective.
How do you Clean Grout?
There are many products out there that you can spend a lot of money on to clean grout. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on expensive, harsh cleaning products, have a look around your home and see if you have any of the following items:
- White Vinegar– Vinegar is 5% to 8% acetic acid. The Ph level of acetic is moderately strong, and it can stop the growth of many microorganisms like mold.
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3%– A chemical compound H2O2 that oxidizes the surface of mold(s) and causes it to decompose.
- Baking Soda- acts as a mild abrasive that ‘lifts’ dirt and grime from porous materials.
These items do a great job cleaning your home safely, so you don’t need to worry about using harsh chemicals, spending a lot of money on cleaning supplies, or using valuable storage space for different cleaners.
Before we look at using these everyday household products to clean and disinfect grout, we need to discuss mold and how it takes hold in your grout.
- Mold is a fungus that spreads through spores. When cleaning grout with mold and mildew build-up, using a product that eliminates the mold spores is vital.
- Many cleaners can remove unsightly mold but do not deactivate the mold spores. These cleaners will work well to clean off soap scum, grime, and surface dirt.
It’s very important to differentiate between general grout cleaning and the deep cleaning that mold and mildew need to be eradicated.
So, now that we have some basic information, let’s look at how to clean your grout.
General Grout Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Grout brush, scrub brush, or a toothbrush
- Spray bottle
Mix vinegar and water in the spray bottle 1:1 and spray the tiles and grout. Let stand for 5 minutes. Next, make a paste with baking soda and water and apply this mixture to the grout.
The vinegar causes the baking soda to bubble up and removes soap scum, mold, and grime. Since vinegar is a disinfectant, it will help to prevent many molds from reoccurring.
Once the mixture stops bubbling, scrub the grout.
Wash down the work area thoroughly.
If you’ve tried this process and you still have mold and mildew on your grout, here’s another method to get your grout looking bright and clean.
Cleaning Stubborn Mold and Mildew From Grout
- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
- Dish Soap
- Mixing Dish
- Grout brush, scrub brush, or toothbrush
Combine ½ a cup baking soda with ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dish soap in your dish and mix. Apply to the grout.
Hydrogen peroxide whitens, brightens, and is powerful in removing mold, mildew, and mold spores from your grout.
Let this mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then brush.
Rinse and let dry.
You can repeat this process for stubborn spots.
This mixture and process are excellent for cleaning and brightening grout and tile, and the disinfectant properties of hydrogen peroxide are very effective in inhibiting mold spores.
Ways to Maintain Grout Between Cleanings
Getting your grout to look brand new isn’t difficult using the right combination of cleaners. And as unsightly as mold and mildew build-up is, consider a few things that can keep mold at bay between cleanings.
- Create airflow– Getting as much airflow as possible on and around your tiled surfaces will help remove condensation build-up and dry the grout and tiles so that the environment isn’t conducive to mold growth. Opening windows and doors, turning on fans, and ventilating the area as much as possible will help circulate air.
- Wipe down the area after use– Removing the moisture from the grout and tile creates a dry area. Mold spores prefer damp areas.
- Use mildew and mold-proof shower curtains– A modern miracle, shower curtains that inhibit mold and mildew growth means you don’t have to fuss with replacing or continually cleaning curtains and liners.
- Hang damp towels outside of the bathroom– Damp towels add to the moisture level. Removing them is one less item adding to the humidity level.
- Consider a mold-inhibiting spray– between major cleanings, use a natural spray made with vinegar to quell mold growth.
If you regularly clean your tile and grout and maintain it between major cleanings, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to having your bathroom and kitchen look sparkling clean — maintenance is the key when it comes to dealing with mold and mildew.
If you have grout anywhere in your home, keeping it clean doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Cleaning grout is pretty simple. If you have mold and mildew issues on your tile and grout, making some adjustments to your cleaning and maintenance routine will make all the difference.