How to Clean Grout and Keep It Clean
Grouted Tile floors and walls are common in commercial and residential settings. Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are the most common grouted tile used in commercial restrooms. While the tile is well suited to commercial settings due to durability and cleanability, the grout between the tiles can be a major challenge to get clean and keep clean.
This blog post explains why grout is so hard to clean and offers recommendations how to get ugly grouted floors back to a like new condition. While the procedures are focused on bathrooms, the methods can be equally applied to grouted tile surfaces outside of bathrooms. We also offer some practical advice on keeping your newly cleaned grouted surfaces looking good day in and day out.
Why is Grout So Hard to Clean?
Grout is porous, if you looked at the cross section of a piece of grout, you would see something that resembles the structure of a sponge. Like a sponge, liquids and stains penetrate grout.
Grout is recessed below the tile level, so it can be a great collection point for soils and stains that make grout look ugly.
Grout can be a breeding ground for odor causing bacteria. Odors resulting from Urine residues are an example of bad odors that can be hard to get rid of in grouted tile bathrooms.
How do I get ugly Grout looking like new?
An intensive deep cleaning method can get grout back to a clean, hygienic appearance. It takes some effort, but follow the procedure below to bring grout back to a “like new” condition, then read on to learn how to keep it looking good.
Restorative Grout Cleaning: This is a 2 step method that has proven to deep clean and restore grout to a like new condition.
This procedure uses two Multi-Clean products, Ultra Stripper and Double-O-Seven that are thoroughly described below with additional information links. Here is the step by step restoration process for grouted tile floors.
- Dilute Ultra Stripper 1:8 parts with COOL water. Note this stripper also is a highly effective deep cleaner for grout. No worries if it is used in a confined space like a bathroom, there are no harsh odors (the product is actually Green Seal Certified).
- Apply Ultra Stripper solution generously to the floor, allow to stand 2-5 minutes, then scrub with a floor buffer equipped with a brush, scrubber, or a stiff bristled deck brush. Pick up solution with a wet dry vacuum.
- Dilute Double-O-Seven at 6 oz per gallon of cool water. Apply generously to the floor, wait 2-5 minutes, scurb and pick up just like step #2 above.
- Rinse the floor with plain water, allow to dry, then Admire the RESULTS!
ULTRA STRIPPER: Why use a stripper? Solvents used in strippers are highly effective at penetrating porous grout and lifting out dirt. The beauty of Ultra Stripper, is the solvents are non-toxic and have virtually no smell. LEARN MORE ABOUT ULTRA STRIPPER
Double-O-Seven: This products is a hydrogen peroxide fortified all purpose cleaner. This product is Green Seal Certified. The peroxide product helps power out stains, plus it brightens surfaces, particularly light colored grout. Finally, hydrogen peroxide is a natural deodorizer, so it kills odor causing bacteria that might be lurking in grout. LEARN MORE ABOUT DOUBLE-O-SEVEN
Now that it is Clean, How do I keep it Clean?
After expending a significant amount of effort in getting the grout clean, you will want to work to keep it looking good day after day.
Before discussing the cleaning chemistry that will work best on your grouted tile, consider tools and equipment that might make the process of cleaning and maintenance of grout easier.
EQUIPMENT and TOOLS FOR GROUT CLEANING
- Use a dual chamber mop bucket. If you are mopping floors, including grouted tile floors, one of the simplest investments in tools is the dual chamber mop bucket. Rather than having a single reservoir to wet your mop and wring it out, the dual chamber mop bucket has a divider for clean solution and dirty solution. This helps your solution stay clean longer and avoids using soiled solution to mop your floor.
- Use an EZ-Mop 360 Microscrubber: These highly maneuverable machines apply solution, scrub, and pickup soiled solution. Easier than a mop and it produces superior results.
- Consider a Restroom Cleaning Machine: Applies solution at high pressure with vacuum recovery.
- Try a Small Scrubber: Small microscrubbers with counter rotating cylindrical brushes dig deep into grout to lift out soils.
Grout Cleaning Chemicals
When it comes to daily cleaners for grout, there are a number of choices that can be effective.
- Peroxide Fortified Cleaners: Products fortified with hydrogen peroxide are excellent for daily cleaning of grouted tile floors. They can be used in the dual chamber mop bucket or with the equipment highlighted in this post. Benefits include cleaner, brighter grout and removal of odor causing bacteria.
- Disinfectant Cleaners: It is common to use a disinfectant on floors in restrooms. These products can be effective cleaners and used properly will kill odor causing bacteria and any harmful pathogens.
- Bio-Enzyme Cleaners: A newer way to clean, all purpose cleaners fortified with beneficial bacteria and enzymes can be highly effective at removing soils and can real be a problem solver in restrooms that have persistent odor problems. The beneficial bacteria use urine and other organic residues as a food source, where they odorlessly consume organic waste and neutralize odors.
Consider a GREEN Chemistry Approach: Both peroxide based cleaners and bio-enzyme based cleaners are available with third party green certification. Disinfectants on the other hand do not have green designations.
Should I seal my Grout?
It may be beneficial to apply a grout sealer to your newly cleaned grout. These sealers help plug some of the pores in the grout making it more difficult for soils liquids and staining agents to penetrate.
While grout sealers can help protect your grout, proper cleaning methods for grouted tiles surfaces is what will really make your grouted tile floor stand out.
WARNING: Don’t apply a floor finish (sometime referred to as a floor wax) to grouted tile floors. These types of product will not adhere to most ceramic and porcelain tiles.
Special Problems on Grouted Tile Floors
Odors that don’t go away: Sometimes odors in bathrooms simply don’t go away with normal cleaning processes.
Classic example is URINE odors which just hang on day in and day out. In this case, a special peroxide product can solve this problem.
PP-Gone is a ready to use urine odor and stain remover. It has 10 times more peroxide than dilutable products. To use on grouted tile to brighten grout and get rid of persistent foul orders, follow these simple steps.
- After cleaning the restroom including floors, spray PP-Gone around the base of all toilets, including behind the toilets on floors and walls.
- Now spray around the outside wall surfaces of each urinal, and underneath the urinal and directly on the floor area under the urinal. DO NOT RINSE. Allow to air dry. This typically will eradicate urine odors.
- Repeat this process at least once per week to prevent urine odors from returning.
Mold and Mildew: Visible mold and mildew odors can often be found near water collection points in showers or tubs with grouted tile walls and floors.
A common way to get rid of visible mold and mildew is with bleach or bleach based cleaners.
While bleach based product are effective, they can also be hazardous. PP-Gone uses hydrogen peroxide to effectively remove mold and associated mildew odors.
Spray PP-Gone on surface, wait 1-2 minutes, then scrub with a brush.
Click Here for more information on PP-Gone Urine Odor & Stain Remover
For more information on the products mentioned in this blog post and the complete line of Multi-Clean brand cleaning and floor care products, please visit our website at www.multi-clean.com
Amazing tips! I think most of the people did not know about grout cleaners.
Thanks for telling us about the importance of solvency. Keep sharing this post more and more.
The DIY is very well made, extremely informative and the directions are easy to follow.
I’ve been deep cleaning our bathroom lately and I realized I couldn’t clean the dirt off the gaps in between tiles. This article is really helpful in teaching you how to clean those unsightly grouts. It’s really interesting to know that a lot of chemicals are used to clean it, I had previously thought that it was impossible. Unfortunately, I don’t have the proper chemicals and tools to perform proper tile and grout cleaning myself since there are quite a few things you’ll need to acquire. I think my best option will be to hire professionals to do the cleaning for me, that way I can rest assured that they know what they’re doing.
The process is so easy and convenient. Crazy to think that we’ve been slaving over the floor for so many years, but this DIY cleaner makes it look so effortless. Thank you for sharing this guide.
Thanks for writing such a piece of valuable information.
Simple and easy to understand.