Keeping the grout lines in between individual tiles clean is an extremely important part of having a clean home overall. Clean tile grout can make any room seem brighter, larger, and more inviting. Since grout is a porous substance it can get dirty very easily and there are many things to know about this important home cleaning project. First, you should understand why it is important to have clean grout. Once you understand the reasons behind it, you will be more motivated to clean tile grout. Second, you need to think about the best tools for grout cleaning. Having the right grout cleaning equipment can mean the difference between spending one hour and an entire day cleaning your bathroom. Finally, there are a few grout cleaning tips that will make the job easier for every homeowner.
Why Tile and Grout Cleaning is Important
There are three main reasons that you should want to keep your tile grout clean. Even if not all of them are important to you, there should be at least one that concerns you enough to pay attention:
Aesthetics – Clean grout just looks better than dirty grout. In general, you will be more attracted to a clean room than one that is dirty. Even if the room is free of clutter, your eye can still see the difference between a room that is sparkling clean and one that is not.
Resale Value – Your home will be able to sell for more if your grout is clean that if it is dirty. Clean grout lines tell a prospective home buyer that you take care of your home and it will make the bathroom and kitchen look better. Everyone knows that the kitchen and bathrooms are the most important rooms a home buyer considers when shopping for a new home. If your grout lines are dirty it might send a message to a buyer that you do not even care enough to keep the parts of your house that are in the open in good condition. It might make them doubt that you care for parts of the home that are not as obvious.
Health – Dirty grout lines are not always just because of dirt, some of those black stains are because of mold and mildew. Many people have allergies to both of these substances and constant exposure can make your quality of life go down. Some people have severe enough reactions that they have trouble breathing. In addition, other bacteria and germs can populate dirty grout lines. If you have children or pets that are constantly touching the ground and then sticking their feet or paws in their mouths then you want that grout to be as clean as possible.
How to Clean Grout
To clean grout effectively, you need to use a scrub brush with medium hard bristles and preferably ones with the bristles in the center being as long as or longer than the bristles on the edges. If the bristles are too soft, then they will not be able to penetrate the porous grout to remove dirt and grime. If they are too hard, the bristles will chew up the grout rather than just removing dirt. If the bristles in the center of the brush are shorter than the ones on the edge, they may not be able to penetrate into the grout. The longer bristles on the tile will prevent you from scrubbing deep enough.
When using your brush, go in circular motions. It is tempting to scrub along the grout lines in a back and forth motion. However, that will be contradictory to what you are trying to accomplish. The forward motions will dislodge dirt, but the backward motion will just deposit it back into the grout. Circular scrubbing motions dislodge he dirt and then push it away from the grout lines onto the tile. Of course, using this technique means that you will need to wipe the tile clean when you are done, but it is worth it for clean grout lines. Of all the grout cleaning tips I have received over the years, I think this one is the most important.
It is also important to choose the right grout cleaning agent. You want to choose the least harsh chemical that will get the job done. Home remedies sometimes work the best. A paste of baking soda and vinegar will do a great job because you can spread it on the grout lines, let it sit for several minutes and then scrub away. Rubbing alcohol is another common home remedy used for killing mildew. If these homemade grout cleaners do not work, then you might want to try over the counter cleaners from your grocery store meant for bathroom cleaning. If over the counter cleaners are not working then you might want to try industrial strength cleaners that you buy from janitorial supplies companies or oxygen bleach. Although a bleach product, it is not as toxic as chlorine bleach and it is quite effective.