Does tile and grout cleaning get you down? If so, you’re not alone. A recent Good Housekeeping poll named tile and grout the most hated cleaning task in the home, as a part of the dreaded bathroom cleaning process. Naturally, because it’s so difficult to deal with, this area seems to attract the most dirt and grime. Ceramic tile provides a beautiful and durable finish surface in your home, but unless you can figure out an easy way to clean the tile and grout joints, it won’t look its best. Here are some tips from the pros for tackling this dirty job.
Cleaning Tile Grout Lines
Grout, made of portland cement, color pigments, water and (sometimes) sand, is the perfect all-purpose product to keep tile in place and watertight. Unfortunately, it’s extremely porous and thus prone to staining and mildew. The lighter the pigments (colors), the more noticeable stains will be. And once stains permeate the surface, they’re particularly stubborn and difficult to remove.
Some purists say that the best way to clean grout is with hot water and a toothbrush, but that’s a laborious and time-consuming approach. Tile, Grout and Glass Restoration Products Baking soda and white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide make for a safe and relatively effective cleanser, as the chemical reaction does a lot of the work for you. For the worst cases of stubborn grout stains, you can use oxygen bleach, chlorine bleach or commercial grout cleaners. However, these generate potentially toxic fumes and can burn your skin. Avoid using these products unless absolutely necessary, and then only with chemical-resistant gloves and good ventilation.
Effective Methods for Cleaning Ceramic Tile
Before attempting to clean your ceramic tile, it’s important to know what not to use. Avoid abrasive products, as these can scratch the tile’s surface. Products containing bleach can alter the color of your tile, as can ammonia. Most tile manufacturers recommend a mild soap solution applied with a rag or chamois, then wiped dry. Don’t use a sponge mop on the floor or you’ll simply deposit the dirt directly into the grout lines. Be sure to sweep the floor well prior to cleaning, because sand and dirt left behind can scratch the tile.
Prevention Helps Lighten the Burden
Once you’ve restored your tile and grout to their former glory, take steps to help keep them looking good. If your tile is glazed (a liquid glass coating baked into clay), it’s already stain-proof. Unglazed tile should be sealed using a penetrating sealer. No matter which type of tile you have, sealing grout lines will prevent stains and make cleanup a breeze. You can purchase sealer kits at your local hardware store. Once you’ve sealed the surfaces, avoid using stiff brushes or abrasive cleaning tools, as you’ll remove the sealer and be right back where you started.
Most tile and grout surfaces require a deep cleaning every four to six months. If that’s too arduous for you, consider hiring a professional house cleaning company to handle this unpleasant task for you. They have the products and equipment to do the job right and you won’t have to spend hours on your hands and knees, scrubbing for all you’re worth. Professional cleaners are the safest and easiest way to ensure that your tile and grout cleaning is hassle-free!