Tile can look very beautiful in a home, and it’s easy to clean.Sometimes the grout requires a little extra attention.Whether it is light or dark in color, grout is quite porous and can easily get stained.
When an entryway has tiles, grime and dirt are common culprits of grout, though spills are more likely to cause staining of kitchen grout. Mildew, mold and soap can all make it hard to clean grout in a bathroom.
There Are Some Easy Methods That You Can Use to Get Rid of Grout Stains
And if this is not a project you want to take on yourself, a commercial tile cleaning service, like Fresh N’ Dri in St. George, Utah, can help.
As with any cleaning project, it’s a good idea to try to use the mildest solution you can first. If it doesn’t work, progress with alternatives. If you’re not sure if a cleanser is going to work, feel free to locate tile that’s hidden from use, such as under an appliance. Use that hidden tile as a test surface for the cleaning solutions you want to use.
What is Grout?
Grout around the sink and tub or around the tiles is a mixture of cement, sand and water. It is softer than tile and designed to fuse together the tile and dry quickly. When it is dry it feels like hard cement. It comes in many colors but stains can turn it an entirely different color than you want.
The stuff that looks similar to grout and seals out the moisture is known as caulking compound, better known as caulk. If you aren’t sure of the difference, know that caulk looks more like toothpaste when applied, and it is still a little soft and rubbery when it dries, unlike grout. Caulk comes in long cartridges in a caulking gun or in a small tube that can be used manually.
Caulk and grout are similar in another way too: Mildew and black mold like to grow on them, and both need the same course of treatment. It’s not just ugly, but it’s dangerous to live with these growths — it’s time to get started cleaning.
How to Clean Grout
The mildest method is the most natural method, and it’s also the most inexpensive of all. All you’ll need is a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, which costs less than a dollar in most stores, and a spray bottle to apply where things have gotten moldy.
- Pour half a cup of the peroxide and mix it into one cup of water.
- Put that into an empty spray bottle and apply it to the dirty grout.
- Don’t rinse it off.
- Regularly spraying this mixture on the grout will keep the mold from forming again, so consider having a bottle already made and waiting for after your showers.
Vinegar seems to work well as a preventative measure too. You may have heard that bleach is good for this, and that’s true, but it’s a pollutant that can stain grout yellow, so it’s better to try peroxide or vinegar first.
If peroxide wasn’t enough to kill off all the mold, it might have grown enough that you need to get a toothbrush and a chemical solution. The toothbrush won’t harm the surface of the tile, but it will break apart the mold. If the project seems lengthy, it might be worth picking up an electric toothbrush to save your elbow some repetition.
When purchasing a cleaning solution, it’s important to be mindful of the active chemicals. Several cleaners are advertised as grout cleaners, but using environmentally unfriendly ones or two different chemicals at once can result in undetectable poisonous gases.
Another natural method to try before looking for commercial tile cleaning services in St. George, Utah is an herbal one. In this case, mix 2 tablespoons of tea oil with 2 cups of water. Some people report success with this method, but it’ll work best when the problem is mild.
Preventing Grime on Grout
As stated above, it is a good idea to regularly spray a natural mixture to tiles to prevent mold growth. It’s also a good idea to add an exhaust fan to remove moisture that builds up, especially in the bathroom.
Removing and Replacing Grout
After cleaning off grout, it’s important to check to see how the mixture is holding together. If you had to scrape off several pieces and many cracks run in between tiles, it is most likely time to replace it with fresh grout — otherwise, the moisture is likely to rot the walls beneath the tiles, and that’s a much more expensive problem.
It’s actually simple to repair broken grout. Grout repair kits are available in hardware stores and online, using inexpensive tools to quickly apply new grout.
After cutting away the old grout, or sanding it out with a dremel, you can start applying its replacement, patting it down with a covered finger. If your work area is significant, try adding some latex additive in order to make it more waterproof.
Apply a rubber float after the grout sets for three minutes. This will help push the mix further into the depths of the joints. Using a damp sponge, wipe the area and then apply some silicone caulk along the first layer of tiles. While latex can be used, silicone has a stronger grip, so it won’t come off as quickly as latex would.
Finally, after giving the grout enough time to cure, it is time to apply a grout sealant. The reason is to prevent dirt and mold from getting through the caulking and the grout, which makes your job of cleaning it considerably easier.
What if Mildew Keeps Forming?
If you barely have a chance to breathe before the mold returns, it might be a deeper problem than you’ve realized. It is possible the mold is already behind the tile. The only way to be sure is to remove a couple of tiles or cut by the adjoining wall. The bigger the mold problem, the bigger the treatment, so you’ll need to call in an expert for this one.
Caulk carries this same warning too; if it’s developing mold quickly, check for breaks. If the mold is underneath, you must remove this caulking.
Another problem exists for cleaning grout, especially in the case of careless children. One problem that you might find is colorful stains that come from crayons, ink, blood, hair dye, and similar. Mineral spirits and the like may remove the stain, but it might be safer to just replace the grout or apply a stain to cover it up.
Professional Cleaning Services
Plenty of modern workplaces have more than just carpets and fancy furniture. More companies are opting for tiles and hard surfaces, which inevitably builds up dark stains from constant grime and dirt movement. With a professional cleaning service, you can get these tiles cleaned and freshened up, restoring new life into the workplace without the cost of having to completely replace all the tiles.
First, the floors must be inspected to determine which course of action is necessary. Following that, trained technicians will use special cleaning tools to apply a power clean to grout and tiles. These tools combined with the superior expert training of our technicians mean we can provide a faster, better cleaning solution for your tile and grout cleaning needs.
If you are ever in need of commercial tile and carpet cleaning or services for your home in St. George, Utah, give us a call at 435-767-1950.