I would like to know how best to clean the grout lines between my ceramic tiles. I have tried several cleaners and all involve heavy scrubbing with disappointing results. Any ideas? I've exhausted all mine. Thank you.
Lynn C. in Ontario, CA
There is a grout cleaning tool that you can buy for a few dollars at a Home Depot, etc. The head of it is a triangle shaped device. You just run it up and down your grout line, scraping off the old, discolored grout. It doesn't take very long, just a little time and you look good as new. Much cheaper and better than the cleaning solutions.
We used to have the same problem, until we realized that our problem was primarily mildew. My wife, who is a biologist, reasoned that that made the problem much easier to deal with.
If your problem is mildew, here's what you can do. There are a number of commercial products which you use by spraying down the shower after use. Reading the list of ingredients I noted that the number one ingredient in this "after shower" cleaner is alcohol. Now alcohol will kill mildew, and it is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying some name-brand commercial product. But the following suggestion is only useful for those who do NOT have very young children because of a serious accident that could occur!!
What you do is make your own "after shower" cleaner by purchasing a spritzer bottle ($1 at our local KMart) and fill it with rubbing alcohol. Then just like the expensive commercial product, you would wipe down the shower with your sponge and spray it with alcohol. Final result: NO MILDEW IN THE SHOWER!!! It also helps to open a window either after or during a shower since this removes moisture from the air. Mildew requires two things to survive: moisture and a LACK of air!!
I have a great solution, that saves time, although it does involve an investment. My advice is to buy the Black & Decker ScumBuster . It has a rechargeable battery and several attachments. I used mine on shower grout that had never been cleaned and it became white again. It retails for about $40, but is well worth it. It also cleans into groves and crevices with very little effort.
Lisa W. Edgerton, WI
I just discovered this one myself, so I'm happy to pass on a frugal, relatively simple way to clean the grout between ceramic tiles. Baking soda! I dampen the area (just wipe it with a damp cloth--nothing too tricky) and sprinkle baking soda over the grout. I let it set a few minutes and then use an old toothbrush to scrub it. It really takes minimal elbow grease and absolutely amazed me the first time I tried it. I keep baking soda in an old spice shaker and use it to clean my sinks as well.
Fill an empty spray bottle with bleach and water (1 part bleach and 1 part water). Just before retiring in the evening, after everyone is through using the room, quickly spray the grout with this mixture. The mold will disappear within 1 - 2 weeks. To keep the mold from returning, spray the grout with this solution 1 - 2 times per week. Also, make sure that your bathroom has adequate ventilation. Install an exhaust fan if you do not have one. Also, check the exhaust fan ducts to make sure that they are not clogged.
You may want to go to a janitorial supply house and look at their solutions. I use an acidic toilet bowl cleaner. I put it in an old squeeze-type mustard bottle and then squeeze it onto the grout. I then go back over it just brushing with a toothbrush. It has set a few minutes while I finished, so it is nice and loose. I then wipe it up with a rag. It is very painless and you can do it while you chat to a friend on the phone!! The solution comes in a gallon size and is about $8. But it lasts forever. I have found it is much less expensive to buy from the janitorial places in concentrate than in the stores.
I have a large home with 5 bathrooms, all have ceramic tiles, most with white grout. A 12-year-old boy gave me the tip I needed to keep the grout in great shape and EASILY as well as CHEAPLY--Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray it on, mop it on, or sponge it on. It works. If there is a build up it must be cleaned first, then use the peroxide. Do not wax, as this will cause grout in floor tiles to look dirty. I apply the peroxide, leave it 10 minutes or so, and then wipe off the excess. It disinfects too. DO NOT use with bleach. if you have stubborn stains, make a paste of peroxide and baking soda and rub. WORD OF CAUTION - peroxide will discolor fabrics, so be careful.
My husband is a ceramic tile setter. He says the best thing to clean your grout with is vinegar. Just put it on, scrub then rinse with water. It will clean better than any household cleaner. It's very cheap. As a added bonus--it isn't toxic.
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