Monday, May 20, 2013

Get Grout Magically Clean — Stains and All

by Meg Padgett

If your grout is grossing you out, this deep-cleaning method will help it look new again
Tile — whether it's used as flooring, in the kitchen as a backsplash or for counters, or in the bathroom — has one great downfall: grout. Since grout is porous in nature, unsealed grout absorbs all kinds of stains, from mildew to coffee and everything in between. To say it's a headache to keep grout clean is an understatement.

Here's an example of grout that was never properly sealed, so it soaks up stains like crazy. It makes the kitchen feel gross and grimy, even if it was just cleaned. If replacing the counters with a solid surface like quartz is not in your budget — try this foolproof method that will lift most household stains from that pesky grout.

What you'll need:
Oxygenated bleach (like OxyClean)
Warm water
Coarse scrubbing brush (like an old toothbrush)
Grout sealer

Tip: Cleaning colored grout should be done with special care. Bleaching agents (like chlorine bleach) can discolor and harm the colored grout. Fortunately, oxygenated bleach does not contain corrosive chemicals and is safe to use on all grout.
1. Clean the surface thoroughly, removing any surface residue or debris. Let the grout dry fully.

2. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of oxygenated bleach in 2 cups of warm water. Wet the brush in the mixture and apply it to the grout. Let it soak in, then scrub the grout in a circular motion, which will loosen the stain more effectively than a front-and-back motion. If needed, dip the wet brush into the oxygenated bleach to make a paste. Wipe clean, then let dry.

Tip: To lift extra-dark stains, squeeze lemon juice onto the stain, let it soak in, then scrub, wipe clean and let the grout dry. Use lemon juice sparingly, since it can damage some tile finishes.

Note: Be wary of using too much lemon juice with marble, since it can etch or damage the stone if left on too long. Hydrogen peroxide can be a safe alternative.
3. Spray the tiles and grout with an ecofriendly cleaning spray and wipe them clean. Let the grout dry fully before making a final decision on whether your hard work paid off — damp grout looks darker than dry grout.

4. Apply grout sealer after the grout has fully dried to avoid any future stains. Be sure to reapply it each year.

The stain on this grout, which is visible two photos above, came out pretty easily with the steps described here.
This coffee stain, on the other hand, took a bit more elbow grease, a longer soaking time and a few repeated attempts before it was sparkling clean again.
Still having trouble getting that grout clean? For those impossible-to-remove stains, you might want to consider:
  • A commercial tile and grout cleaner
  • A coarser brush (avoid using metal bristles, though, as they can erode the grout)
  • Grout Renew
If after you've tried all three, the stain is still hanging strong, you may have to resort to removing the old grout and replacing it with new.


Cabinet-S-Top, 1977  Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256

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