Cleaning and restoring grout
Grout. Perhaps not the most exciting topic of conversation, until you find yourself the owner of tiles that no matter how much time and effort you spend cleaning, still will not look clean. Unfortunately, dirty looking floors can prevent your house from looking its best. Dirty grout can totally ruin the overall look of your floor. Grout deteriorates over time and you may not notice how bad it has got until you move a press and it looks like a completely different floor underneath.
What is grout for?
Grout is a thin mortar used to fill cracks and crevices in masonry. It is the substance you see between tiles, that holds them together. Grout is made of cement, which is a very porous substance. Unfortunately, dirt, grime and liquid can penetrate easily into grout, causing it to look discoloured. Grout can deteriorate and become discoloured quite quickly as it is not as resilient as your tiles.
What causes grout discolouration?
You may be surprised to learn that mopping your floor is the main cause of grout discolouration. As previously mentioned, grout is made of porous materials. As you mop, the water gets gradually dirtier, and this dirty water gets wiped over the grout and penetrates the pores. Even if your water is relatively clean, the cleaning solution will leave a residue that will build up over time and discolour your grout.
It’s not all bad news…
The good news is there are inexpensive ways of cleaning grout and many of these solutions involve everyday household ingredients that are gentle on the environment. However, as this is a hands-on approach, be prepared to put in a lot of elbow grease!!
Cleaning grout with vinegar and baking soda
What you need
- Baking soda
- a damp cloth
This method is ideal for ceramic and porcelain tiles, however if you have stone or marble tiles the vinegar will etch your floor. You can apply the mix without the vinegar, as the baking soda will not harm your marble or stone.
- Prepare a spray bottle of one-part vinegar and one part water.
- In a container, mix three parts baking powder with one-part water to make a paste.
- Spray the floor with the water and vinegar mix and then using a toothbrush rub in the paste (you will notice the mix bubbling).
- Let the mixture sink in for about 15 minutes, spray again with water and vinegar mix and then wipe down with a damp cloth.
Cleaning grout with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
What you need
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- A damp cloth
Again, do not use this method if you have a marble or stone floor as the Hydrogen peroxide will damage your stone!
- Mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide.
- Apply the mix to the grout and leave for 5-10 minutes.
- Using a toothbrush, scrub the grout aggressively.
- Wipe away paste with damp cloth.
- If you are not satisfied with the results, reapply the paste and leave for a longer amount of time before scrubbing.
We find these home remedies work really well and can really bring back the colour of your grout.
Marble floors with dirty grout joints restored by P Mac
When homemade cleaners don’t work
Sometimes, however, the dirt has been present for so long that home remedies simply don’t achieve the results you’re looking for. In this case, your other option is to contact a professional floor cleaning and floor restoration company, such as P Mac. We use industrial scrubbing machines to clean floors, these have special attachments to also get into the grout.
In most cases, our clients are amazed at the transformation and at how well the grout comes up. Occasionally, the grout has deteriorated to such a point that it requires further intervention. There are two other solutions for this: grout replacement and grout colour enhancing and sealing.
Maintaining your grout once it’s clean
Once your tiled floor is clean, preventative maintenance should be carried out. Firstly, ensure you do not mop your floors with dirty water. It is vital to frequently change your water while cleaning your floors.
Most detergents lift up dirt particles and this is when dirt gets trapped in your grout joints as you are mopping the dirt into the porous grout joints. Use only the minimum amount of approved detergent, allow it to dwell and then mop off with a clean mop or cloth.
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As soon as you feel your grout is getting dirty or becoming discoloured, take out your baking soda, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and repeat the cleaning process described above.
For really problematic grout joints, we recommend you seal them with a special grout colour seal. This is a topical grout sealer that comes in various shades. It helps slow down the deterioration and discolouration process. It can be quite costly, as the sealer itself is very expensive and it is a very labour intensive process. Each grout joint needs to be treated by hand. However the results are stunning, it will totally transform the look of the entire room and it can last up to 10 years with the correct maintenance!