Though a brand new coat of grout looks beautiful and shining white it may only last just a few months before you start seeing the tell tale signs that the grout needs a good cleaning. |
The bathroom tile grout typically starts to grow mold and mildew because the bathroom is usually a wet and damp environment. The water droplets that are left behind on the counter after you brush your teeth or the beads of condensation that arise during a steamy bath or shower settle into the grooves between the tiles where the grout is and can give way to growing mold and mildew.
Most of the time, killing mildew and resealing the grout will cure the problem. But if the mildew persists or the grout is really shot, it's time to repair the grout.
It will become apparent when the grout begins to get dirty because it wil be spackled or stained with green, black or brown spots and stripes. There is no need to worry when this begins to appear on your bathroom grout because it happens to all grout when it is close to water. There are various ways that the grout in between the tiles can be cleaned but it must not be ignored. The longer the problem is put off, the worse it will get and it is much easier to do a light grout cleaning every month or so rather than waiting for several months before cleaning the grout. If you wait to clean it the problem can get out of control and almost impossible to clean.
Attack the mildew first: bathrooms are veritable petri dishes for growing this ugly stuff. Many household products are specifically designed to kill mildew, so choose a tile cleaner with mild chlorine bleach or phosphoric compounds. Don't use full-strength bleaches, however; they can actually damage the grout. But whatever you use, be sure to wear rubber gloves and always scrub the cleaning solution away from your eyes. A sponge with a scrubbing strip is best for this job.
If you have grout that's discolored but otherwise intact, you can often restore it with a grout colorant. In addition to brightening the grout, it helps seal against water, mold, mildew and stains. Grout colorant doesn't scrub off, and you can use it on large areas or for small touch-ups. After thoroughly cleaning and drying the grout, apply the grout colorant according to the directions on the package.
While you're cleaning tile grout, take a careful look to assess how the stuff is holding up. If you see a lot of cracks and missing pieces, it may be time to replace it. Better to do it now before liquids seep through and start rotting out whatever is underneath the tile.
For those who do not mind using household cleaners to get cleaning jobs done there are basic bathroom cleaners that can easily remove grout from in between the tiles. Check the back of the chemical bathroom cleaner labels to make sure that it is safe to use on porcelain tiles or whatever type of tile is in your bathroom. If it is safe to use on tile and the cleaner is made for removing "soap scum" it will usually effectively remove mildew stains on the grout as well. A typical scrub brush with stiff bristles does a great job and removing grout stains but stay away from softer spongier materials that may just slide over the surface. When you are cleaning the grout with this type of cleaner it is important to always wear cleaning gloves to protect your skin and to keep all of the windows open in the room and a fan out the open window as well to keep fresh air circulating in and the chemical laden air flowing out of the room.
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