The Best Way To Clean Grout Without Damaging It

Nov 22nd 2020

The Best Way To Clean Grout Without Damaging It

The Best Way To Clean Grout

One thing is certain; if you’ve got tile, you’ve got grout, and that means you’ve got a whole new cleaning challenge. Whether between your porcelain floor, slate, or glass backsplash tiles, the grout used to cement in and protect the edges of your tiles does require cleaning and some special care.

Tile Type

It’s important to consider the variety of tile that surrounds the grout work because each variety has its own unique characteristics. What may clean the grout perfectly could harm the tiles it holds. 

Bob Vila’s blog is just one of many sources available with tips on cleaning tile. The home repair expert and former host of “This Old House” recommends a vinegar and water mixture for most porcelains, regardless of the texture or glaze.

What works well to clean the tile surface and protect its glaze or texture may do little to nothing to clean the grout between, however. Any long-time tile owner will attest to this fact. So, how do you protect the beauty of your tile and keep the grout looking good as well?

Do Not Bleach

Most grout is white and it’s very tempting to grab that over-the-counter bottle of bleach cleaner for bathroom and kitchen to bleach dark spots and mildew away. However, that bleach can strip the glaze or discolor your unglazed tiles. 

To try Vila’s recommended method, try grabbing a multi-use vinegar based cleaner, or just make your own instead instead. Spray it directly on the grout and use a stiff bristled brush (available at most home stores specifically for cleaning grout) to loosen any dirt, then rinse with water.

If the vinegar solution doesn’t cut the grime, try making up your own homemade batch of grout paste. Mix baking soda with some vinegar and lemon juice until it has a pasty consistency and spread the paste onto the affected areas of grout. Let the paste dry, and then scrub it gently with a stiff bristled brush before rising. 

For small spots, or in a pinch, an old toothbrush can stand in for a grout brush.

Porcelain is the most popular tile type, but these tips work well for glass tiles too. By avoiding bleach sprays to clean your grout you will preserve the beauty of your tile for years to come.

Try These Tips

  • Fill a cup with warm water.
  • Add the baking soda to the cup to give the mixture grit.
  • Add a few drops of the dish soap to the cup. Mix everything together.
  • Pour the vinegar along the edges of the grout. Don’t do too much at once or the floor will be really wet and more difficult to work on.
  • Pour the mixture on top of the vinegar along the grout lines.
  • Scrub the grout lines with the stiff scrub brush.
  • After scrubbing, let the mixture sit for about five minutes. Then, scrub it again with the brush.
  • Wipe off the excess vinegar mixture with a sponge. Allow the floor to dry. It could take about 45 minutes.
  • If that doesn’t work, try gently scraping the top layer of the grout with a grout knife. They’re meant for removing grout, so do this carefully.
  • Apply the grout sealer along all the grout lines.
  • Allow the sealer to dry for 3-4 hours. Then apply a second coat.
  • Repeat this sealing process every year, especially for light colored grout.

Check out our entire selection of tile and grout, sealers, and cleaners at Surplus Building Materials!