How to Clean Grout

Extend the life of your tile and make it look clean by following these tips for removing dirt and grime from grout.

The secret to clean-looking tile floors, walls and counters? Clean grout. Tile resists dirt and stains but grout is porous and absorbs dirt and spills, so it stains easily. In an entry, dirt and grime stains the grout. In a kitchen, spills are to blame for dirty grout. Soap, mold and mildew make dirty grout in a bathroom. Here’s how to clean grout in any part of your home.

First, wipe down the grout with hot water to remove surface dirt and grime. Next, spray a cleaning solution on the grout. You can mix your own by putting a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Spray on the grout, let stand for five minutes and then scrub with a soft brush. Use a toothbrush or other small scrub brush to scrub the grout. For extra scrubbing power, use an electric toothbrush. Don’t use a metal brush as it will scratch the tile and could knock out pieces of the grout. Rinse thoroughly with hot water when you’re done. 

You can also use commercially prepared grout cleaners or diluted bleach. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean floor grout. Use these caustic products sparingly, because regular use will erode the grout.

For stubborn grout stains, mix a paste of two parts baking soda and one part water. Apply it to the stain, let it sit overnight and then scrub with a nylon brush. Rinse thoroughly with hot water when you’re done. 

If you have coarse or porous tile like marble, use a less acidic solution because vinegar can stain the tile. Try mixing one-part peroxide to two-parts baking soda and scrub the grout with a soft brush. Knowing how to clean stained grout in stone tile will keep you from damaging your floor.

You can also use sandpaper to remove stains from grout. Fold the sandpaper and work the creased edge back and forth along the grout line. You can also use a pencil-top eraser. Rub it back and forth across the stained grout line. Rinse thoroughly with hot water when you’re done.

Once you’re done cleaning, let the grout air dry, for 24 hours, then put on a silicone-based grout sealer to resist future stains and dirt. You’ll need to reapply the sealer every two years, or more frequently if the grout is in a high-traffic area.

Knowing how to clean dirty grout improves the look and extends the life of your tile.

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