TIPS FOR GROUT UPKEEP AND CARE
When grout is not properly maintained, even the most beautiful of tiles can appear dirty and ugly. Thankfully, the soiling of grout lines generally doesn’t happen overnight and can be easily prevented with a good maintenance plan.
Initial maintenance for grout is usually done by the installer and consists of cleaning the grout off the surface of the tile and sealing it with a penetrating sealer or impregnator. By doing this at the offset, grout lines have a much better chance of repelling moisture and soil. Even so, continued cleaning is essential in keeping your grout looking great.
Grout can be tricky to clean because it is porous. On tile floors, crumbs and dirt can be left behind after sweeping and as grout is often deeper than the surface, simply wiping over tile surfaces may not be enough.
The trick to keeping grout and tiles in their best condition is prevention. If you have recently installed new tiles or grout, start cleaning early. Don’t wait for grout to become discoloured before you bring out the scrubbing brush.
The best way to gently clean your grout is using household products such as baking soda. If you have no discolouration, simply make a paste using two parts baking soda to one part water and after a quick wipe down of the area, apply the paste using an old toothbrush. (For a really good clean, try using an old electric toothbrush.) Once you have covered all the grout, leave for a minute before rinsing with clean water.
If your grout has already started to see some discolouration, replace the water with vinegar and apply the same process. A good idea, however, is to test a small area to ensure the acidic vinegar won’t damage your tiles. Another option is to use hydrogen peroxide, a less acidic solution.
When maintaining grout, be aware of any trouble areas and inspect them regularly. Trouble areas in the bathroom include the rim of a bathtub, taps, tap covers, shower windows, soap dishes, shower doors and the shower base. It is recommended to check these areas at least once a month for any missing or cracked grout.
Trouble areas in outdoor grouting including anywhere that is consistently damp, areas near water features and grouting in the corners of adjoining walls. If you do notice grout damage, attend to it right away. A small crack in the grout can lead to a large hole, which can result in an expensive repair.
When checking your trouble areas, also look out for any leaks. A drip can wear away grout causing wall/floor damage, mould or hard to clean mineral deposits, so get any leaks fixed right away.
Clean as you go
In the bathroom, wiping down walls with a towel can remove water and soap scum before it dries. Remember, without moisture, mould can’t grow. Another good idea is to keep a squeegee hanging in your shower to dry walls after every use.
Apply a disinfectant
For indoors only, once a month spray all your walls with a tile cleaner and allow to soak for several minutes. Wipe over with a sponge and then rinse with clean water. Not only will this add years to the life of your tiles and grout, it will also disinfect the area.
Purchase a steam cleaner
Steam cleaners are perfect for cleaning stubborn floor grout and are quick and easy to use. Even better, steam cleaning means no harsh chemicals, making them ideal for families with young children.
Steam cleaning your indoor and outdoor tiles is a better option than using a regular mop, which can sometimes work against you. Sponge mops tend to push the liquid down into the tile grout, causing the grout to become soaked.
By applying these tips to your grout, you can lengthen the life of your grout and tiles and ensure your grout remains fresh and sparkling.