Cleaning tile floors with grout can be a tricky topic. The tiles may seem to wipe clean, but grout on floor tile holds grudges. Dirt and debris cling to this material, making us scrub and scrub while scratching our heads. The trick is knowing how to clean grout off the floor tiles without damaging it or driving yourself crazy.
There is no specific method, so instead, we can talk about many different ways to find solutions that leave us with a sparkling clean tile and its grout.
How to clean grout on floor tile
The first step in understanding how to clean grout off floor tile is to understand the different types of grout. Many types of grout require slightly different methods because they react differently to various chemicals or cleaning products.
- Sanded Grout: this type of grout is gritty and usually used for larger sections like ⅛ to 1-inch fillings. It’s a cement filling that is commonly used for high-trafficked floors.
- Unsanded Grout: is also a cement filling but is usually used for more narrow types of jobs. Typically trying to clean this grout is easier than sanded.
- Epoxy Grout – this grout can be found in areas that may be exposed to water. Potentially mudrooms, bathrooms, or outdoor rooms. Arguably this is the easiest grout to clean.
We can look at how to clean grout with a few different methods based on some of these products.
How to clean floor grout without scrubbing
Because floor grout can sometimes disintegrate when it’s gritty by scrubbing, it’s better to avoid this process at times. This method requires ⅓ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide. Next, add a teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
The secret is just applying this to grout. Let this sit for five to ten minutes without doing anything to it. Then, using a towel or sponge, wipe off gently and let the grout dry on its own. Most people are inclined to try and scrub the material while it’s on, but this is not necessary.
Baking soda helps remove tough dirt, while hydrogen peroxide is a safer alternative to use than bleach on your floors.
How do professionals clean grout?
Not everyone can hire a professional cleaning service to wipe away the dirt. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want our homes to look just as clean. So how do professionals clean grout? If they are not using the formula above, you may be surprised to read what they do next.
- Gentle brush (toothbrush)
- Spray bottle
That’s it! Cleaning grout can be simple, and by using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to the water, professional cleaners often just spray it on and use a gentle toothbrush to loosen the dirt. They may also use a non-shedding lint-free cloth to wipe up some of the solutions but not to scrub away the dirt. It’s important not to use excessive solution, especially with non-water resistant grout.
How to clean grout without damaging it
As mentioned before, there are different types of grouts. Some are more susceptible to damage because the grittier it is, the more friction it will encounter when you scrub it. Ultimately it will wear away and cause the cement to come up.
The best way to avoid damage is to revert to the non-scrubbing method. This is your bleach alternative by using a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t implement a few more tips.
- Do not use high friction brushes, sandpapers, or other materials to try and scrub away the dirt. Especially no scrapers!
- Stick to homemade cleaners, as many store-bought products have harsh chemicals that can break up your grout and damage your tiles.
- Always dab with a sturdy cloth when working with too much liquid on the grout. Even with water-resistant grout, it’s best to clean up excess cleaner.
With these simple tips, you can have clean grout and undamaged surfaces. Ultimately, it’s always better just to proceed with caution. if you did damage your grout, you would have to spend more time replacing it.
Now, we have shared a few different cleaners, but those aren’t the only options. In addition, there are a few different tricks of the trade that you can experiment with to see which secret sauce works best for you!
If you want white grout, check out this wild ingredient list that really does the trick.
- Mix one teaspoon of cream of tartar sauce with a squirt of lemon juice.
- This won’t create a lot of mix, but it’s best used as a spot treatment.
- Apply to specific areas of dirt and spread accordingly. Always make sure it’s a runny toothpaste texture.
- Leave on for a few minutes and wipe it up gently with a slightly damp cloth.
If you are not into being a scientist in the kitchen, you can always use Castle Dish Soap. It’s plant-based, so there is nothing to worry about regarding harsh ingredients.
Grout cleaning hacks
Just because we have talked about some of the best ways to clean your grout doesn’t mean we are out of cleaning hacks. Cleaning grout is one of those things that really looks simple, but suddenly you find yourself digging a crater into your kitchen floor. It can be frustrating to try all these different things and feel like your floor is no cleaner. The whitening method above is one of the best hacks, but we have a few more.
- Try our Epsom salt dish soap recipe. It’s ½ cup of baking soda, 1 cup of Epsom salts, and one and ¼ cup of liquid dish soap! Mix together and use it as a solution to lightly scrub the area.
- Using a stiff brush for grouts that don’t disintegrate quickly can be an excellent way to get rid of the collected dirt. Ultimately these are grouts that are not brand new but relatively new in flooring. The older a floor is, the more likely it has wear and tear.
- The best idea is to avoid using paper towels, toilet paper, or any disintegrated cloth when wet. Instead, use a sturdy microfiber lint-free cloth and can get into the creases without ease. You can even line a scraper with one to protect the grout from being dug up.
Cleaning grout with bleach
Ok, so we haven’t mentioned any use of bleach yet, and you are likely wondering whether cleaning grout with bleach is off the table. The answer is no, not entirely. One of the ideas behind not using bleach is sometimes the potential impact the harsh chemicals can have or just the fact that some people don’t like using bleach in their household at all.
To do this properly, you want to follow the next steps:
- Take three tablespoons of powdered bleach (Oxiclean works) and mix with warm water in a bucket.
- We always suggest working with gloves to keep your hands well protected and never touch your face or eyes.
- Fill the grout lines with the solution and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to really get all the dirt up.
- Rinse your grout lines well with water and a cloth or sponge to get the bleach up. This is especially important for pet owners.
How to clean grout on tile floors with hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda produce an oxygenated bleach and also provide a safer, homemade option. It’s also one of the most highly effective methods of cleaning grout. This is because it’s a natural neutral cleaner.
You can clean the floors by applying the paste to grout and leaving for 10-15 minutes before wiping it up.
Cleaning grout with baking soda
Baking soda can go in a number of the recipes we listed above to find the right kind of cleaning solution or paste. Baking soda is a little more aggressive in terms of getting dirt up from porous surfaces like grout. This would be one of the solutions that we would recommend not scrubbing if possible because it can possibly cause damage.
A Madness of Methods
It can be tricky when it comes to getting the dirty spots up between the tiles. Grout is a gritty kind of material that often makes for a more difficult clean-up. Some cleaning products can also be temperamental, using homemade options is never a bad idea. That’s why we have given many alternatives starting from more to less aggressive.
When it comes to the actual application and cleaning, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and try not to scrub. Scrubbing with the wrong products can cause the grout to loosen and come up.
It can take a few tries to find the best method. We encourage you to try a few of the homemade ingredients listed above.