Cleaning Tile and Grout

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated May 19, 2014)

Chances are good that your bathroom is covered in tile and grout—that's just how most bathrooms are now. The tile and grout plan can look great on a bathroom floor, walls, and shower, but you do need to be aware of how to effectively clean it. Face it: the bathroom is not a room that stays clean easily. The bathroom needs to be cleaned regularly and frequently for it to be clean to any degree. While you may not have to clean the tile and grout as often as, say, you might want to clean the toilet, if you want your tile and grout to stay clean and looking great, then you need to clean it on a regular basis and use the right techniques.

The tile itself is super easy to clean, and doesn't take too much scrubbing. If the tile is on the floor, you just need to mop the floor with soapy water and let it air dry. With backsplash or shower tile, you just need to use a rag instead, and make sure that you really wipe down the tile surfaces to remove any stains or mysterious substances.

There is something to keep in mind, however, as you clean your tile. When you clean your bathroom, it's advisable to use bleach so you can kill any lurking germs, bacteria, mold, or anything else not so great. If you do use bleach, be sure to rinse off the tile surfaces really well, because if you don't, then you'll get a powdery bleach residue which could pose a health hazard to you and your family. So, just make sure that you rinse off all of the bleach, and if there's a film after the tile dries, then rinse it off again. (This usually is more of a problem when cleaning tile in showers and around bathtubs.)

Cleaning grout, unlike cleaning tile, is more of a project, and takes some special tools and techniques. First thing to do is to acquire a pair of rubber or latex gloves for you to wear while you're cleaning; you'll be coming into contact with some abrasive materials and want to keep your hands nice and clean! If your grout is especially dirty or grimy, you'll want to invest in a more heavy-duty grout cleaner. If your grout isn't that bad, then you can get away with just some heavy-duty bleach-based cleaner.

Spray the cleaner onto the grout, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then take a stiff scrub brush or a grout brush and scrub away at the grout. Something you'll need to remember is that you very well might have to spend a lot of time scrubbing a small section of grout to get it completely clean; don't settle for semi-clean grout, but rather persevere until your grout is completely clean.

After you've done the initial scrub, rinse the grout then spray hard-to-clean spots with an intense bleach cleaner and let it sit for about ten more minutes. This makes sure that the mold, mildew, and bacteria are completely killed. Finish off the job by doing one more intense scrub with the scrub brush, rinse, and you'll be good to go! If you want to keep your grout clean and sparkling, then apply some grout sealant to protect it and do minor cleaning touch ups every now and again to make sure that the grout stays fresh and clean.

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