Grout lines make or break the look of your tile, and everyday blemishes can be an enormous headache for any homeowner. When you’re dealing with mildew, grease, and other stuck-on grout stains, it’s easy to reach for the toughest stain remover in your arsenal to get your tile looking fresh.
But even though your tile may look great afterward, you could be causing severe damage without realizing it. Abrasive cleaners degrade grout over time, and although they’ll get the stain out, they’ll also leave you with a hefty repair job.
It takes a little extra care, but you can strike a balance between effective cleaning and a gentle touch with the right products. If you’re concerned about protecting your tile during your next cleanup, we’ve got you covered with this quick guide on cleaning stained grout.
How to Remove Grout Stains
Some materials, such as epoxy grout, will hold up against most tile cleaners. But if you’re doing your own grouting, you’ll likely use more DIY-friendly varieties like sanded grout. They’re effective, but you need to be careful in how you manage them.
When you’re grouting, there are solutions like Grout Easy that you can buy now to avoid having to use acids later during the tile cleanup process. Not only does it make it easier and faster to finish the project, but you also avoid damaging your brand new tile and grout.
But even when the grout is set, you still need to keep it safe from harsh materials. Vinegar is a popular multi-purpose household cleaner, but its acidic consistency will seep into and erode the grout over time. At the same time, bleach and ammonia can also break down grout and make it harder to clean.
So how do you clean grout stains then? There are three ways you can approach the problem — water, hydrogen peroxide, and oxygen bleach.
If you have light staining, you should start with the mildest cleaner and work your way up to more aggressive options until one works. You can start with warm water and a stiff brush. Apply water to the stain and scrub in circular motions to work it out.
For harder stains like mildew, you can replace the warm water with hydrogen peroxide. Spray it on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. If it doesn’t come out completely, repeat the process until the stain wears down.
If hydrogen peroxide isn’t quite getting the job done, you can upgrade it to oxygen bleach. When compared to chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is nowhere near as caustic but is equally effective at removing stains.
You may see oxygen bleach sold under brands like Oxi-Clean, but you can also make a homemade blend with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
Make a paste by mixing 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup baking soda. Use a small brush or toothbrush to scrub the paste into the grout. Let it sit for several minutes, and then give it one last scrub before rinsing it off.
Take Care of Your Grout
Tile gets all the love, but your grout is the unsung hero keeping it all together. It deserves your attention, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you give it the treatment it needs. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to get rid of grout stains and keep your tile protected for as long as possible.
For more tricks, tips, and advice on better homeownership, check in on our daily news and updates.