Solutions to Get it Looking New Again

How to Clean the GROUT on your floor – Tile/ Porcelain Tile/ Stone
No one enjoys cleaning grout, particularly when the grout contains many old stains that are difficult to remove. By following the steps below, your grout will look as clean as it did on installation day.

Cleaning grout from tile, stone and porcelain

Using Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is a cleaning product that is made of hydrogen peroxide and soda ash. The product is activated when it is mixed with warm water. The oxygen ions in the bleach attach to stain molecules, breaking them down into small pieces that can be wiped away with little effort.

1. Mix one cup of oxygen bleach with warm water in a bucket according to package directions.

2. Pour the solution onto a dry floor so that your grout lines are completely saturated.

If you’re worried about the liquid spilling over onto other floor surfaces like carpet or wood, line the perimeter of your flooring with white dishcloths or old towels.

3. Gradually add more solution as the water soaks into the grout. The floor shouldn’t be flooding, but the level of water should fill in the lines of grout.

Gradually add more solution as the water soaks into the grout. The floor shouldn’t be flooding, but the level of water should fill in the lines of grout.

Keep adding solution for at least 30 minutes.

4. Scrub the grout with a nylon-bristled brush after 30 minutes have passed.
* Pour new solution onto the grout during the scrubbing process.
* Start from one corner of the flooring and work on a small area at a time.
* Once you’ve scrubbed the first small area of flooring, wipe it up enough for you to be able to walk over it without slipping and move onto the next section of floor.
* Rinse the floor with clean water. Repeat the steps if needed until the grout is clean.

Using Chlorine Bleach and Baking Soda

If oxygen bleach is ineffective, then chlorine bleach is your second alternative for grout cleaning. However, this solution should only be used on white grout because the bleach will ruin colored grout.

1. Pour one cup of baking soda into a small bucket.
Pour 1/2 cup chlorine bleach onto the baking soda. Stir the baking soda using a paint stirrer until it reaches the consistency of a paste. If you don’t have a paint stirrer, you can use a wooden spoon that you will discard after use.

2. Dip the bristles of a toothbrush into the paste.

3. Use the toothbrush to scrub grout between tiles. Work on a small section at a time.
Allow the bleach paste to cover the grout for 15 minutes. Rinse with clean water and mop up any residue.

Using a Steam Cleaning Machine

A steam cleaning machine provides an effective cleaning solution when neither oxygen bleach nor chlorine bleach prove to be effective.

Rent a steam cleaner from a home improvement store or purchase one for long-term use.
Connect the steam hose, the extension tubes, the steam nozzle and the detail brush according to your model’s instructions.

1. Fill the reservoir with water as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Turn the steam cleaner on and allow it to heat to the proper temperature, generally about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C).

Start in one rear corner of the floor area. Move forward, pushing the detail brush along the floor in a forward direction.

Choose either a nylon or brass brush for your steam cleaner, depending on the durability of your tile.
Apply a grout sealer when your floor is sparkling clean. The sealer will help to prevent future staining.
Maintain the floor’s clean appearance by mixing oxygen bleach into your mop water whenever you mop your floor. Leave the solution on the grout for 30 minutes. Then, rinse the floor with clean water.
Work on stains when they are fresh for best results.

The Secret to Cleaning Grout in Tile Floors

By Tim Carter,April 03, 2009

Q: DEAR TIM: Cleaning a tile floor is my next big project. The grout lines are filthy, and I haven’t discovered an easy way to restore the tile. Is there a magic product that will clean floor tile? Once the grout is clean, what’s the easiest way to keep it that way? Should I invest in a cleaning machine? – Michelle S., Corvallis, Ore.

A: DEAR MICHELLE: We had a boatload of tile floors in our last home, and cleaning them was a nightmare. To make it worse, we had brilliant white tile with light gray grout in our kitchen and breakfast area. I knew when I was installing it that it was going to be a challenge to keep it clean. Add to the mix three small kids, and soon the grout around the refrigerator, stove and kitchen sink was nearly black.

It took me years to discover how to clean tile floors in a way that was easy and that didn’t harm my family, pets and the colored grout. I finally settled on using powdered oxygen bleach. Little did I know that this choice would put me way ahead of the current green movement.

Oxygen bleach is nontoxic, doesn’t produce harsh fumes, and is color- and fabric-safe. It removes all food and grease stains with no or minimal scrubbing. The oxygen ions attack the stain molecules, breaking them into pieces that rinse away with little effort.
To clean floor tiles, mix any high-quality oxygen bleach with warm water and stir it until it dissolves. Then pour the solution onto the floor tile so the grout lines are flooded with the solution. It’s best to apply the oxygen-bleach solution to dry grout so it soaks deeply. Let the solution sit on the grout for at least 15 minutes. If it completely soaks into the grout, add more solution, making sure there is always plenty of the cleaning liquid on the grout.

The longer you let the solution sit on the grout, the less work you have to do cleaning tile flooring. The oxygen ions work for up to six hours. To get maximum cleaning results, it helps to scrub the grout lightly after 30 minutes. Always pour new solution onto the grout as you scrub.

An oxygen bleach solution will remove red wine stains in minutes. Beet juice is not a problem. I’ve not discovered one stain it can’t remove. Friends have tried the tile cleaning machines, but they say the oxygen bleach does a much better job. You have to always scrub a little, but that’s how anything gets clean.

Once you have clean floor tiles, you can keep the grout looking like new by adding oxygen bleach powder to your mop water. Apply a liberal amount of mop water to the floor, scrubbing the tile surface with the mop. But leave the mop water in the grout joints without rinsing the floor. The oxygen ions clean the light dirt in the grout without scrubbing. Come back 30 minutes later and rinse the floor with clean water. If you do this each time, you’ll never be on your hands and knees again with a scrub brush.

Tile Grout in the shower

Want another cleaning tip to help you clean tile grout? Well this homemade grout cleaner works great!

I’m pretty good at keeping our apartment at some general level of clean. The 15 minutes a day trick works really well for us. But there are some things that aren’t included in the daily 15 minutes that get gross every once in a while. So last week I went on a crazy cleaning binge!

I already shared my 5 minute microwave cleaning tip with you, but another thing that needed some attention was the tile grout in our bathroom. The grout wasn’t exceptionally clean when we moved in to this apartment, and it hasn’t learned to magically clean itself over the past year either.

So I did something about it!

There are tons of recipes out there for homemade grout cleaner, but I wanted the simplest one. I ended up using a recipe from Rachel at Accessorize and Organize. You can find it here. And it worked great!

Homemade Grout Cleaner

Here’s what you need:
* 3/4 C baking soda
* 1/4 C bleach
* an old toothbrush for scrubbing (please don’t use one you’re going to put in your mouth later!)

Mix the baking soda and bleach together in the bowl until it forms sort of a thick paste. Then apply the pasteto the dirty grout lines and scrub with your toothbrush.

I don’t have any pictures of the process, but it’s pretty simple. Just keep applying and scrubbing until you run out of cleaner or until you’ve done all your grout (or until you’re tired of scrubbing!)

Make sure to leave the paste sitting on the grout for 5-10 minutes before washing it off so the mixture can get in there and clean.

I scrubbed all the grout in our shower in one go, starting at one side and working my way around. So it was like 25-30 minutes before I went back to wash off the first bits I had done. But you don’t need to wait that long if you’re in a hurry, or just doing a small area. 5-10 minutes will work great.

To rinse the paste off, I turned on the warm water in the tub, used a cup to pour water over the tile, and used my hands to wipe away the pasty bits. My hands were already pretty gross from the cleaning and scrubbing part, so it didn’t bother me at all to wipe it down after by hand. But you can use a washcloth or rag if you’d rather.

Rinse everything off super well and you’re done!

Remember, grout does sometimes turn darker when it’s wet. So if you’re not totally impressed with how sparkling white your grout is right when you finish rinsing it, wait a few hours until it dries!

There were living, growing things in that corner! If I had let it go much longer we would have been attacked by some giant slime mold monster in the shower one day! It was imminent…promise.

And the rest of the grout wasn’t much better, but this recipe definitely did the trick.
I am so happy with how CLEAN everything is! And now we’re safe from slime monsters, so that’s a bonus!

Just a few important notes:

1. You’re using bleach. Make sure you are wearing old clothes or something you don’t care about. I figured it wouldn’t splatter so I didn’t change before doing this, and now my jeans have white spots all over them! There is a surprising amount of splatter, even if you’re careful. So just change first.
2. I didn’t wear rubber gloves, and that was perfectly fine. The bleach doesn’t irritate my hands at all, but if you have sensitive skin I might suggest some gloves to protect your hands.
3. And if you use a washcloth or rag to wipe the cleaner off, make sure it’s something that’s okay to be bleached.

How’s the state of your bathroom grout? Or in your kitchen, if you have tile on the floor or in your back-splash. I’m really liking these make-it-yourself cleaning recipes, because they work just as well and it means I don’t have 30 different types of chemical cleaners laying around! Have you ever made your own cleaning supplies and used them? I’d love to hear about it!