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How To Clean Tile Grout

Stained and discolored grout can spoil the appearance of even an otherwise impeccably clean house. No matter how clean the tile is, grout that is discolored by mold, rust, product residue and other stains, is a highly visible problem. The following technique is affordable, easy, and particularly useful for vertically positioned grout like what you would find in back splashes and showers.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and set aside. Put about 3 TB of baking soda in a shallow dish. Use a clean toothbrush dedicated for cleaning or the corner of a sponge. Wet thoroughly with water, and dab in the dish of baking soda. Apply the resulting baking soda paste to the grout, concentrating on the stained areas and working a few inches at a time. Try to apply the baking soda paste in a wicking, rather than scrubbing motion. Keep in mind that baking soda may be too abrasive for silicone caulking and some coatings and glazes found on certain types of tile. Lightly spray the areas where baking soda has been applied with the vinegar/water mixture. Use a clean damp sponge wet with water to wipe stray vinegar from the tile surface. Removing excess vinegar will help make this technique more compatible for use on stained grout where the type of tile or glaze can be damaged with prolonged contact with vinegar.

Spraying a vinegar mix to areas of the grout where there the baking soda mix has been applied will result in a light foam. Allow this foam to sit for 5 minutes. After five minutes, repeat this process with the next section of grout so that it can sit while you are working with the previous section of the grout. Work the foam gently with a clean toothbrush or sponge lightly dampened with water to dislodge stain build-up. Wipe worked areas with a clean sponge wet with water. Repeat the process of applying baking soda and vinegar, allowing to set, and working gently until the entire area has been cleaned.

Once the entire area has been cleaned, rinse well with water. Use a squeegee to wick away extra moisture and avoid over-wetting and pooling that may damage your tiling and encourage build-up.

If the baking soda and vinegar method do not remove tough stains, substitute warm water and Oxy Clean powder. The powder can be abrasive, so use caution to avoid damaging tiles. The powder should be dampened enough to form a stiff paste. It is not necessary to scrub, simply allow the paste to sit for a couple of minutes, then thoroughly remove with a toothbrush or sponge. Remove all residue and rinse with clean water.

Once grout has been clean, it may prove beneficial to apply a a grout sealant to help resist moisture and stains. A sealant will also make future cleaning easier. Sealants can leave difficult to remove haze on tiles, so apply the sealant carefully to the grout, following the manufacturer's instructions.

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