One of the projects on my fall to-do list for this year was to get to our tile grout and clean it up well. While tile is a wonderful addition to any home's flooring plan, it can also come with its challenges.
Take my home for example: there is a large amount of tiled flooring in the kitchen, the guest bathroom, and the master bathroom. While the tile itself has been wonderful, keeping the grout clean has been less than optimal.
You see, our original owners (we did not build the home) decided that the most clean and crisp looking grout would be a WHITE color. While I would wager that they were correct during the first few months, it is likely that they quickly realized that white tile grout was a big mistake.
So, these days, I find myself mopping weekly to maintain a clean tile grout surface, but still have the need to get down on my hands and knees annually and give it a good scrubbing.
EDIT: IT LOOKS LIKE I'VE BLOGGED ON HOW TO WHITEOUT THE GROUT BEFORE:
I have searched high and low for ways to clean the tile's grout while standing instead of from the ground and also for ways (bleach pen) to clean it without a lot of manual labor, but I have failed and realized that for my grout, scrubbing and being on the ground are both necessary evils.
So, here is how to clean your white tile grout the good old fashioned way and get it white and crisp for at least a year at a time. Unfortunately, I cannot make it stay clean for a long time, but I would highly recommend that once cleaned, you call your local handy-man and have the grout re-sealed to make the cleanliness last a bit longer.
Here is how to clean it up:
1) Comet bleach mixed with water in a bucket.
I have personally found Comet powder bleach to be the most effective of all cleaners (yes, even special tile-grout cleaners) in cleaning white grout.
Take about a quarter-cup of Comet and mix it in with approximately one gallon of water in a smaller bucket that holds enough water yet allows you to cart it around from place to place.
2) Libman (brand preferred) hand-scrubber brush.
I chose a Libman brand brush just because it is a reputable brush and broom company, it is quite reasonably priced (you can find them at your local grocer supermarket), and because the bristles on the brush are solid, sturdy, and are up to the task of some serious scrubbing.
3) Volleyball style knee pads.
Pretend you are laying tile down for the first time on your floor: that is how long you will be on your knees while cleaning dirty white grout. So, make sure to get yourself a QUALITY set of volleyball knee pads: after about twenty minutes, you will realize how much you really needed them.
This is the worst part of it all: actually getting down and scrubbing the grout. While it may seem like it does not take a long time, it is definitely no small task. Scrubbing tile by tile will most likely take you about 30-45 minutes per 100 square feet.
Whilst that timing may not seem too bad, keep in mind that 500 square feet of tile floor or more is going to take a solid afternoon of tedious scrubbing. I hate to make you dread the job, but get ready for some hard-work and some good old fashioned elbow grease here.
5) Wiping the floor down.
Scrubbing will get the tile grout nice and clean, but what it will also do is expose the dirt to the rest of the tile. While this is fine and MUCH better than being trapped inside your grout, it does need to be cleaned up via mopping with a stand-up mop or by hand-towel.
At this point in the job, I am so used to being on the ground that taking a towel and cleaning up the dirt left behind from the grout seems almost inviting. I just take a couple rag towels and wipe the floor down until it is dry again and nice and clean. The dirt is gone from the tile!
The mopping can wait until the next week's duties / chores: at this point, it's time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
6) Have your handy-man re-seal the grout.
Do NOT skip this one if you want to preserve the rewards of your hard work and keep your grout clean for at least another year.
If you have the grout re-sealed immediately after cleaning it, and then you mop weekly to keep it up, you can expect your beautiful white grout to stay nice and clean for the coming year: bonus!
Time for YOUR ideas.
Here's where I need YOU. I NEED your ideas on how to clean dirty tile grout and would LOVE to hear how you do it because I need some ideas! Please help me! 🙂 Like this...
If you have some bright ideas on how to get the job done (such as the no knees stand-up scrubber pictured above) with a smaller amount of scrubbing, less time on the ground, or a quicker way, please share with everyone; I know I cannot be alone in this being one of the most feared and dreaded household tasks of the year.
I can't wait to hear what you have to say: comment away!