Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources
Super Simple DIY Solutions for Whiter, Brighter Grout!
If you didn’t already know, grout is the fine (sometimes unnoticeable) lines between your tiles. It helps to fill in the gaps between your tiles and seal any spaces or joints. For newer homes, you will notice how clean and white the grout is which gives the floor a neat look. Unfortunately, your grout can’t stay white forever, and once you notice the dirt or discolouration on it, it’s hard to ignore it.
Grout (except epoxy grout) is not waterproof. It is extremely porous, and therefore, tends to absorb humidity and moisture which then leads to mould and mildew growth. It also causes dirt and scum to stick to the grout, making it look off-coloured or yellowish over time. At this point, the appearance is the least of your problems because all of this can lead to severe grout damage.
Apart from cleaning your grout regularly, it is important to check the seal for damage as this is what serves as a barrier between moisture/scum and the raw grout. To test the porousness of your grout, sprinkle a few drops of water on the line; if the drops soak into the grout, it’s time to reseal it.
With that aside, if you’re looking for ways to whiten grout, we have compiled a few simple-to-use methods for cleaning and achieving those bright white results! Read on.
Things to Consider When Cleaning Your Grout
Find a narrow, hard-bristle nylon brush that helps scrub off dirt. Another simpler option is to try using a toothbrush. If getting down on the floor is a tedious task, consider getting a special grout cleaning brush, which features the brush attached to the end of a long pole (no bending or crouching required).
IMPORTANT: Do not use a brush made of metal or wire as this can damage your grout.
When scrubbing grout, try scrubbing in circular motions as well as back and forth along the lines.
After cleaning your grout to whiten it, allow the grout to dry well by first using a microfibre cloth (preferable to a squeegee as it will allow you to dry the gaps), and then air dry with adequate ventilation.
How to Whiten Grout Using Different Methods
There are several cleaning and grout whitening options that you can try at home to get the desired outcome. However, the ones mentioned below are tried and tested, and therefore safe to use on sealed grout.
#1 Using Soap and Water
If your grout is mildly dirty and does not have heavy stains, you can make a warm water and washing detergent solution, spray it on the grout, and leave it on for a few minutes. Subsequently, scrub the dirt away using a narrow hard-bristle brush. Ensure to rinse the grout well with clean, warm water, and dry appropriately.
#2 Using Distilled White Vinegar or Cleaning Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a safe and eco-friendly way to clean, whiten, and lighten your grout. Vinegar, which is acidic in nature, is a great natural disinfectant that dissolves soap scum, dirt, and grime.
You can use undiluted distilled white vinegar, or a solution of vinegar and warm water in equal ratios. Simply pour the vinegar or solution into a spray bottle, and dampen the grout with it. Allow the solution to stay on and penetrate the dirt for approximately 10 minutes, then scrub the lines to clean the grout. Wipe clean to remove dislodged dirt, and rinse the area with water.
WARNING: Vinegar can damage material made from natural stone so avoid using it to clean the grout lines of marble or other natural stone tiles.
#3 Using Baking Soda
Baking soda or Sodium Bicarbonate is alkali and not very abrasive, therefore, it will not damage your tiles or grout. It is also a safe and natural way to remove mould and dirt, and helps to whiten the grout.
To use it, make a thick paste of baking soda and water by mixing half a cup of the powder with a few spoons of water. Apply this paste along the grout lines, and leave for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Then scrub using a brush. To further activate the baking soda, you can spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to create the fizzy bubbly reaction that works effectively at dislodging dirt. After the solution settles down, wipe clean with warm water.
#4 Using Toothpaste
Toothpaste is another excellent hack to clean grout. Be sure to use a thick white toothpaste that is not gel-based. Gel toothpastes tend to be transparent/translucent in nature, and can contain dyes. Similarly, you should avoid using any coloured toothpastes as these may stain your grout.
Apply the solid white toothpaste to an old, wet toothbrush, and start scrubbing along the grout lines. Rinse the toothbrush and repeat if necessary. Then rinse the area well with clean water, and dry.
#5 Steam Clean Your Grout to Whiten It
Another natural way to whiten your grout is to steam clean it using a steamer. The pressured heat from steam cleaners removes dirt without the use of any cleaning agent. You can use a brush to dislodge dirt, if needed, before wiping the area clean and leaving it to dry.
#6 Repaint Your Grout
To brighten and whiten old grout, one option is to repaint the grout with grout colourant or grout whitening pens. To paint grout, consult the professional at the hardware store for the ideal type and colour of the grout paint you want to use. Also look for long lasting grout paint that won’t come off easily and is more durable. Whilst choosing a grout colour, consider the colour of your tiles. Consider off white or light grey to blend with darker tiles instead of pure white grout paint. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on applying it, ensure that the grout is free from dirt, oil, and moisture to allow the paint to stick to the grout.
Tips to Keep Your Grout Clean and Long Lasting
The ideal way to prevent your grout from getting mouldy and grimy is to keep it as dry as possible. The cleaner your grout remains, the less frequent you will need to whiten it all over again.
Here are some handy tips for that:
- To ensure your grout stays stain-free, it is best to clean it on a weekly basis. Consider spraying the grout with the above-mentioned vinegar/water solution a few times a week, and rinsing clean.
- When tiles and grout get wet, be sure to wipe them dry with a cloth or dry mop.
- Allow for proper ventilation in the rooms by opening doors and windows, and having the fan on when damp.
- Grout needs to be sealed to protect it from mould, dirt, persistent exposure to water, and stains. Sealants provide an extra layer of strength and protection to your grout and help reduce its wear and tear. You might want to consider resealing your grout if it is wearing thin.
- When getting new grouts laid in, consider the colour of grout you wish to add. Whiter or lighter colored grout makes the overall room look cleaner and brighter, but the drawback is that it can make dirt or stains more obvious.
Whitening your grout can have a major impact on the overall look and feel of your home. More importantly, it ensures that you are cleaning the grout lines and removing mould, dirt, bacteria, and other nasty contaminants that are harmful to one’s health. So, do yourself and your home a favour by using one of the methods above to whiten your grout, and enjoy the bright results!
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