Cleaning Tips & Guide: How to Clean Tile Grout

Why You Should Be Cleaning Your Tile Grout Regularly

Cleaning tile grout is important because it helps prolong the life of the grout by preventing water, dirt, and grime from becoming trapped inside of it. Maintenance and cleaning is also better for aesthetic reasons, as dirty grout can spoil the appearance of an entire tile floor, kitchen backsplash, or bathroom shower.

First off, what is tile grout?

In its most basic form, tile grout is a type of paste that covers the gaps between tiles on floors and walls.

Tile grout comes in two forms; sanded and un-sanded. It is used as a hard filler that is placed between each tile to help secure it in place. It typically contains cement, pigment, lime, and sometimes sand, depending on the type of grout being used. 

Grout mixture normally comes in a powder form to which water is added during the application. It is then left to cure and forms hard lines between the tiles.

Think of tile grout as a super fine cement mixture.

Where is tile grout usually located?

Tile grout is located anywhere that tiled floors appear, typically in kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways. 

What does tile grout do?

Tile grout maintains the integrity of a tile floor by offering stability each time as it holds it firmly in place. It also performs the very important duty of maintaining a smooth, cleanable surface so that dirt, debris, and contaminants don’t get stuck in the cracks.

What are some common contaminants of tile grout?

There are several types of contaminants that can discolor, clog, or stink up your tile grout. They include: 

  • soap scum
  • hard water deposits
  • pet urine
  • sewage remnants
  • bacterial contamination

What are some of the risks of not cleaning your tile grout regularly?

It is important to know how to clean tile grout because of the bacterial contaminants that can make you sick. There are many bacterial contaminants found in bathrooms and kitchens that can cause illness:

  • Salmonella
  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus
  • Escherichia Coli
  • Campylobacter

What are the benefits of keeping your tile grout clean?

  • Clean tile grout maintains the beauty of a tile floor
  • Clean tile grout enhances the area where you spend the most time
  • It eliminates dangerous bacterial contaminants and mold growth
  • Clean tile grout makes tile floors last longer

Tile Grout Cleaning Tools & Supplies

In order to effectively keep your tile grout clean, you’ll need a specific set of tools and cleaning supplies, including: 

  • A stiff brush is used to scrub the grout cleaner into the dirty tile grout
  • Mold remover solution is used to remove any residual mold that appears after the tiles have been cleaned
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Shop-Vac is used to clean the remaining water and cleaning solutions (These instructions should be followed whether you are learning how to clean bathroom tile or kitchen tile)
  • Grout cleaner solution
  • Mold removal solution

Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Your Tile Grout

  1. Begin with a clean floor, backsplash, or tile wall that has been swept and mopped, or wiped down to remove any debris
  2. Apply the premixed grout cleaning solution to the tile grout (or you can make your own with 2 parts baking soda to 1 part hydrogen peroxide). Be sure to cover all the discolored and affected areas with the solution
  3. Wait ten minutes or longer, then use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the grout. Be sure to scrub vigorously as you won’t damage the grout or tile in the process
  4. Re-check for mold and apply mold removal solution to any areas that show signs of contamination. Repeat the process.
  5. Dry your tile surface with either your microfiber cloth or — for larger areas — you can use a Shop-Vac to remove excess water and moisture

For consistent maintenance, you’ll want to regularly spray your tile surfaces with a cleaning solution and wipe them down every few days. That will help keep your tile grout clean and sanitary.

Is there a difference between cleaning wall tiles and floor tiles?

For the purposes of cleaning, there isn’t that much of a difference between floor tile grout and wall tile grout. 

Wall tile grout inside a shower or bathtub area should be soaked prior to cleaning. This can be achieved by closing the doors and running hot water for a few minutes. This loosens the grime on your wall tiles.

Floor tile grout should be cleaned as outlined in the previous section above. Regardless of the grout color, the same products can be used so long as they are gentle and do not contain bleach.

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