Beautiful tile may make your bathroom look lovely, but one of its downsides is the grout, which does the job of keeping the tiles together, but – because it’s porous and light-colored – it’s prone to staining and can be damaged by water. Without proper maintenance, it’s easy for grout to become stained and mildewed, quickly making it less attractive. It can even crack, allowing water to seep behind the wall and cause major damage. To keep your grout clean and extend its life, here is your guide to grout cleaning and maintenance.
Wipe and spray your tiles every day after your bath or shower to keep them clean and prevent premature staining and damage. Yes, it’s a chore, but it’ll save you work (and money) in the long run. For this task, you’ll need a good squeegee and a mild daily shower cleaner (make your own by mixing a 4:1 solution of water to vinegar).
In addition to the daily cleaning, it’s important to give your shower or bath a deep clean at least every week (or, at worst, every two weeks). These cleanings will require the use of water and baking soda paste. If the grout looks a little more stained than usual, use hydrogen peroxide instead of water – just be extra careful with it and be sure not to mix it with vinegar. If your daily spray contained vinegar, make sure it’s rinsed off thoroughly before you apply any hydrogen peroxide.
If your grout has somehow become seriously stained and/or grimy and your daily shower cleaner or baking soda paste simply doesn’t cut it anymore, it’s time to break out the bleach on those stains. One easy way to apply it is with a bleach pen, but this is more for spot treatment. For overall disinfection and stain treatment, try a product like OxyClean or, for especially stubborn stains, a chloride bleach spray. Just be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, keep the area well-ventilated, and rinse off with clean water.
When to change grout
When your grout begins to flake and break, and tiles start to come off, it’s time to change it. You can try grout renewal first, which adds a layer of color and protection against future staining, but if this isn’t effective, it’s important to change the grout because not doing so can allow water to seep into the wall and cause serious damage. You have the options of either changing your grout yourself or having a professional do it.