June 8, 2016
The Down and Dirty of Cleaning Tile and Grout
Do you have a love/hate relationship with the tile in your home? Love the way that it looks but irritated with how quickly the grout goes from white to gray? Or maybe you inherited some not-so-clean looking tile in your current home from the previous owners. Regardless of how old or new your flooring is, it doesn’t take long for tile to get grimy, especially in those high traffic areas like the kitchen, mudroom or entryway. There are several different methods and cleaners that can help you clean your tile and grout well. Try one of my suggestions out and see what you think!
One of my favorite DIY recipes to help brighten grout is a simple combination of cream of tartar and lemon juice. This method takes a little more elbow grease but it works really well to remove some of those surface stains in the grout as well as naturally lighten the grout. This works especially well on colored grout. Here is what you need:
Lemon Grout Cleaner:
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- lemon juice
Combine the cream of tartar with the lemon juice to make a thing paste the consistency of runny toothpaste. Apply to the grout and use a small stiff bristled cleaning brush to scrub the grout. Rinse and wipe dry. If you don’t have lemon juice, try a little water to make a paste.
- put a sprayer on top of a hydrogen peroxide bottle and spray white grout to rid it of mold and mildew. Reapply if necessary, scrub and rinse.
If your grout is past the point of cleaning and has stains that you cannot remove no matter what, then a commercial product may be right for you. Home Depot carries a fantastic product called Grout Renew by PolyBlend. It comes in a variety of colors to match any grout color and works as a stain and sealer on grout lines. While it can be time consuming to apply, it is ideal for when no scrubbing or cleaning works to remove stains or brighten your grout. It also works well if you’re looking to update the look of your grout.
My favorite way to clean our tile floors on a weekly basis is by using a steam cleaner. Steam cleaning is about as simple as it gets and uses just water to clean. My favorite steam cleaner is the Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop. All it requires is a quick initial vacuum or sweep to remove dirt and crumbs and a couple minutes to heat the water.
If you prefer using an actual solvent based cleaner, I have several DIY recipes that are perfectly suited for tiled floors. Both contain readily available household ingredients and are safe to use on any sealed tile floor. The Lemon and Peppermint Tile Cleaner is mixed and sprayed while the Citrus Tile Floor Cleaner is intended to be used for mopping. If you prefer not to use essential oil or don’t have any on hand, you can certainly eliminate them as they are mostly intended to just add scent.
Lemon and Peppermint Tile Cleaner:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 3 drops peppermint essential oil
Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to combine. Spray thoroughly on tiles and allow to sit for 5-15 minutes. You can scrub if necessary, rinse and allow to air dry or dry using a clean cloth.
Citrus Tile Floor Cleaner:
- 1/4 cup Borax
- 1 gallon hot water
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops orange essential oil
Mix the Borax, water and essential oils in a mop bucket, stirring to dissolve. Mop as you normally do. Rinsing is usually not required. If your floors are extra dirty, you can add a drop or two of castile or dish soap to help cut the dirt. You may want to have a bucket of clean water on the side to rinse instead of using the cleaning bucket water. This will help eliminate streaking.
If you are looking for a new method or a more natural approach to cleaning your tile and grout, try one one these recipes or products out. Let me know what you think!
Please note: If you have marble, granite, or travertine tile you should not use vinegar, lemon, or anything acidic to clean them because the acid will etch the stone. Steam cleaners work well as does this recipe.