Grout serves a noble purpose. Much like mortar, it creates a bond, fills voids, and seal joints. Bonding tiles together, grout makes floors and countertops stronger. Grout repels water and protects the edges of tiles from chipping. The color of your grout contributes to the look of your tiled surfaces. But, grout is porous. It is susceptible to staining, can discolor, and attract mildew. When grout troubles begin, it’s time to take action.
Keep in mind that a stain is a discoloration, but not all discolorations are stains. Most common stains can be removed. Keep in mind that a true stain is always darker than the surrounding material, in this case, the grout. If the discoloration is lighter than the grout itself, it is not a stain but surface damage that cannot be removed with stain removal techniques.
If your grout is not too badly stained, here are some at-home solutions that work well in small areas. For larger areas, or for grout lines that you can't get clean, give us a call.
Cleaning Dirty, Stained Grout
- Fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and warm water, spray the stained grout, then scrub with a stiff brush. Rinse. This applies to grout with porcelain or ceramic tile only. Remember, DO NOT use vinegar or any acidic solution on natural stone. If you have natural stone, skip to number 3, or call us.
- If the stain is bit stubborn, create a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the grout. Follow-up with the 50-50 vinegar spray, which will cause the paste to foam. Scrub and rinse.
- Tough stains can be cleaned with peroxide-based products, like OxiClean. Remember, anything that contains peroxide will bleach your clothes, and any other fabric for that matter.
- Bleach is an alternative solution for cleaning grout on occasion as long as it is rinsed well. Note that continued use of any harsh chemical will eventually erode grout.
After cleaning grout, re-sealing is recommended. Watch this short video, The Advantages of Grout Color Sealing, to see the dramatic difference our color sealing services can make for your grout lines.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PRO Partners.