Tile is a popular floor and wall covering option in many homes because it looks nice and is relatively easy to clean. There is one aspect of tile that most homeowners dislike – grout cleaning; it looks great when it is new, but keeping it clean is difficult. House cleaning professionals offer some great tips to successfully clean grout!
New vs. Old
Experts who clean houses say there are differences between old and new grout that must be known in order to keep it clean. A sealant should be applied to new or resurfaced grout to keep dirt from getting into the grout itself; this will make grout no more difficult to clean than the rest of the tile.
Old grout requires cleaning with products designed to get the dirt out without damaging the grout itself. It can be quite an effort, but not impossible – provided the right products and cleaning methods are used.
Easy Grout Cleaning
After wiping tile with water and giving it time to dry, a basic cleaning method should be used before moving on to a stronger technique. Using a stiff scrub brush with plastic or natural bristles and a commercially available product for cleaning grout, gently scrub grout lines in circles, then rinse. House cleaning professionals say that vinegar and water often works well, as does baking soda and water or even a mixture of all three. If grout is still dirty or discolored, hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach and water can be applied to the rinsed grout and allowed to sit for a few minutes.
More Stubborn Stains
If none of the above methods work, there are other options. Many house cleaning professionals successfully use steam cleaning for grout. Steam cleaners can be rented at many home improvement, hardware, and grocery stores. There are also a number of professional-grade grout cleaning products available that homeowners can try; use with caution, as they contain very strong chemicals.
When All Else Fails…
Those who do not feel comfortable using strong, professional-strength chemicals or are not getting the best results with more basic methods can hire a professional house cleaning service to clean the grout.
Another – and perhaps the best – option to consider is resurfacing. Grout resurfacing is more tedious than difficult, as it involves gently removing the top layer of grout with a grout saw. The results are much better than continually scrubbing with chemicals, which can eventually cause the grout to break down.
By removing the stained and dirty layer, clean grout is exposed. Since some grout is also removed, it is necessary to apply a new layer on top of the existing grout to replace what was removed. The resurfaced grout is treated as new, and a sealant is applied once the new grout has dried and hardened. Again, house cleaning experts suggest this is the best way to prevent staining and keep the grout clean and bright indefinitely.
Grout cleaning can be time consuming and frustrating, making it one of those house cleaning tasks that tends to get moved to the bottom of the list over and over again. To avoid this problem, professionals recommend sealing new or resurfaced grout. If it is too late for that, one of the methods suggested above should do the trick and get tiles looking like they are brand new again!
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