Cleaning the grouts of ceramic tiles is
one easy way to improve the look of your ceramic tiles floor
immensely. Even when the grouts have been sealed, chances are that,
over time, dirt particles have adhered to the rough surface of the
grouts. You want to remove them as easy as possible, but without
de-coloring anything! Enters oxygen bleach, a powdered substance,
that mixed with water and applied generously to the grouts, will
dissolve stains almost magically without damaging any surrounding
areas. To be on the completely sure side of cleaning, always refer to
your tile and grouts manufacturer's recommendations and test any new
cleaning solution first on a discreet and less visible area. This is
valid especially if your ceramic tiles floor sports colored grouts!
And / or if you have some exotic sort of ceramic tiles that differs
from the more average ones. Grout and tile cleaning has always to be
seen together as it is virtually impossible to avoid that the
cleaning solution used on one touches also the other. Make sure that,
whatever you use to clean, is safe for both, your tiles and grouts!
Cleaning a ceramic tiles floor and its grouts is a several steps process:
First, remove all loose dirt with the
help of a broom or vacuum cleaner. If you use the later, make sure
that you use it with the brush and not with the beater bar, as the
later can easily damage your floor tiles.
- Second, give the whole floor a good
wash with all purpose floor cleaner and a microfiber mop to avoid to
"wash" the dirt into the grouts.
- Third, let the floor dry thoroughly. Forth, decide if you need to clean all grouts or if a bit of "spot cleaning" will do the trick.
Spot cleaning your grouts
If, after having cleaned the floor, you discover that there are only a few stains, you might just want to spot clean your grouts instead of the "full monty". Always do the stain removal on dry tiles and grouts as any water will dilute the stain remover further and might prevent proper cleaning action.
Here some tips for specific stain types:
Unknown and general stains
Use the above mentioned solution of powdered bleach in water only in the spots necessary. White grouts (and only these!) can be also cleaned with a 1.5-3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. Apply generously on the stains and let soak for maximal 15 minutes. Rinse well with clean water. Never use hydrogen peroxide or normal household bleach on colored grouts as it will bleach the color out of them! Try normal shaving clean instead for colored grouts (always test first!)
Old hairspray stains
Mix fabric softener / conditioner and water 1:2 and let the stain soak well, scrub, rinse and repeat if necessary.
Black stains caused by growth of mildew, mold or mould
A weak bleach and water solution will do the trick on white grouts. (Do not use this on colored grouts!) Let the solution soak for a few minutes and rinse with clean water, scrub with a soft tooth brush if necessary.
Grease and oil
Mix washing soda with water to a paste and apply on the stain to "soak up" the grease.
Only for white grouts: Nail polish is obviously best removed with proper nail-polish remover, apply directly and in small amounts to the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Then simply scrub the softened nail polish away.
An old saying goes like this: "Prevention is better then healing!" Therefor everything what you do to prevent your tiles and grouts getting dirty in the first place, will help you to spend less time on cleaning. So place door mats before all outside doors and encourage people to remove their shoes when entering. This way less dirt will enter your house or flat. Keep floors and tiles dry by heating and ventilating rooms adequately, this prevents the grow of mould in the grouts. If you live in a very humid climate, consider buying a dehumidifier. Clean drips, drops and spills up immediately, before they can harden and settle. Seal tiles and grouts after you have cleaned them thoroughly, avoid sealing in dirt!
Disclaimer: All precaution has been taken to verify the information in this article, but no responsibility can be taken for what you do with it!