Even after mopping, a tile floor with dirty grout may still look untidy. Make your floor look like new by cleaning the joints between the tiles as well. Depending on the type of tiles and the color of your grout, there are different cleaning methods to get your floor looking clean again. Whether you opt for chemical cleaners or natural methods, it takes little effort to perfectly clean your tile grout again.
Method 1 of 4: Using baking soda and vinegar
Step 1. Make a paste of baking soda and water
Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to make a thick paste. This versatile cleaner cleans grout of all colors, but vinegar can damage some types of natural stone, such as limestone or marble.
- Apply the paste to the joints with your finger.
- Baking soda won't harm you, but wearing rubber gloves can help prevent scratching or irritated skin from the abrasive grout and baking soda.
Step 2. Make a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle
Spray the baking soda paste you previously applied to the joints with the vinegar mixture. The mixture should start bubbling right away, letting you know that the natural cleaning process has begun.
Step 3. Wait until the mixture stops bubbling
The bubbling is actually a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar, and generally takes a few minutes. After the bubbling has stopped, the chemical cleaning process is complete.
Step 4. Scrub the tile grout with a brush
Use a toothbrush or nylon bristle scrub brush to scrub each joint. Pay close attention to corners and edges and clean these areas as well.
Step 5. Mop the floor with plain water
Use a mop and water to remove the baking soda and vinegar residue. Rinse your mop often and change the water regularly while cleaning so you don't keep spreading the residue all over the floor.
Method 2 of 4: Cleaning with oxygen bleach
Step 1. Dissolve two tablespoons of oxygen bleach in 500 ml of warm water
Prepare the mixture immediately before cleaning for best results. Make sure to mix the ingredients thoroughly so that the oxygen bleach is fully activated. The bleaching properties of the oxygen bleach can affect colored tile joints, but it is mild enough for all tile types.
Step 2. Test the product on an inconspicuous area of a joint before cleaning the entire floor
Some tiles or grout may become lighter or discolored due to the oxygen bleach. Apply a small amount of the oxygen bleach mixture to an inconspicuous area to test color fastness.
Step 3. Pour the mixture onto the joints
Pour enough onto the joints to cover them completely. Always clean part of the floor at a time, so that your entire floor is not wet.
Step 4. Use a nylon bristle brush to scrub the oxygen bleach mixture into the joints
For best results, allow the mixture to soak into the joints for several minutes.
- Scrub back and forth over the joints with a brush.
- Be sure to scrub in corners and around the edges of the floor as well. This is because dirt and grime often accumulates there.
Step 5. Dip the brush in the oxygen bleach powder for better cleaning
If you see a stain that is darker or more noticeable, you can make a stronger bleach mixture by dipping your wet brush directly into the oxygen bleach powder.
CAUTION: Pour a small amount of the powder into a separate bucket to prevent water from entering the powder package
Step 6. Rinse the floor with water and dry it
Pour clean water onto the tile floor and dry it with a towel or clean mop.
Method 3 of 4: Clean tile grout with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap
Step 1. Make a paste
Mix 225 grams of baking soda, 60 ml of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. This highly effective paste cleans joints in three ways:
- The baking soda is a natural abrasive that scrubs the grout.
- The hydrogen peroxide reacts with the baking soda, releasing oxygen ions with a bleaching effect.
- The detergent helps to loosen dirt and remove grease.
- Note that the bleaching effect of the chemical reaction can affect colored joints. Test it on a hidden corner first before cleaning the entire floor.
Step 2. Apply the paste with a nylon bristle brush
A toothbrush or a scrub brush with nylon bristles will work just fine. Make sure to apply the paste to all joints and also along the edges so that the entire floor gets evenly clean.
Step 3. Let the mixture soak into the joints for 15 minutes
You may see the mixture bubbling as the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide react with each other. Give the paste time to soak into the joints so that it completely removes all stains.
Step 4. Rinse the joints with warm or hot water to remove the entire mixture
Pour a small amount of water on the tile floor to rinse the mixture from the grout.
Be careful as a wet tile floor can be very slippery
Step 5. Use a cloth to wipe the joints and remove any residue of dirt and paste
Remove the paste residue from the joints by gently scrubbing the floor with a towel. You can do this by standing on the towel and shuffling along the floor with both feet or by crawling on the floor and scrubbing the joints you come across.
Step 6. Mop the floor with clean water
Make sure no soap or other residue remains by mopping the floor thoroughly with a cotton mop or sponge mop. Rinse the mop often and change the water regularly so that the floor is completely clean.
Method 4 of 4: Cleaning tile grout with a steam cleaner
Step 1. Rent or buy a steam cleaner
With a steam cleaner you can effectively clean and disinfect all types of grout and tiles, because no chemicals are used. Visit your local hardware store to rent or buy a cleaner. Make sure the steam cleaner you choose has the right tools for grout cleaning:
- steam hose
- Small brush attachment
Step 2. Follow the manufacturer's directions when connecting the parts and filling the steam cleaner
Read the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the material.
Step 3. Using the instructions for use, fill the reservoir with clean water up to the fill line
Do not add chemicals or cleaning agents to the steam cleaner reservoir.
Step 4. Turn on the steam cleaner and let it heat up
The instruction manual of the steam cleaner states how long you have to wait before you can clean after turning on the steam cleaner.
Step 5. Move the cleaning brush back and forth over the joints
Start on one side of the room and then work your way to the other side of the room. The steam will loosen dirt and grime from the joints and also kill any mold in the joints.
Step 6. Use a towel or mop to wipe up any excess moisture after cleaning
Be careful as the floor may be slippery after the steam condenses into water.
Step 7. Note:
A steam cleaner removes all the sealant material from the joints. So only use a steam cleaner if the sealant material is old and needs to be replaced.
- Always test a new cleaner or cleaning mixture in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won't damage your grout or tiles.
- When using a baking soda or oxygen bleach mixture, don't prepare more than you need. These mixtures quickly become less powerful.
- After cleaning the joints, apply a sealant to keep the joints clean for longer.
- Do not use a brush with stiff bristles such as a steel or iron brush, as these can damage or tear your joints.
- Do not use vinegar on real marble, granite, travertine or other natural stone floors, as it could scratch the surface and cause permanent damage to your floor. The joints in these floors may only be cleaned with a cleaning agent that is pH neutral.