Grout is the material between tiles that fills the space to keep water and other substances from seeping between the tiles and into the subflooring. Over time it will inevitably become dulled by dirt and grime and possibly develop black stains. A floor grout cleaner is necessary to keep the grout clean and attractive and extend its useful lifespan. There are several products one can use to effectively combat dirty grout, including mild cleaners, standard household cleaners, commercial cleaners and professional cleaners. Understanding the differences between the various options will help one decide which floor grout cleaner will work best for his needs.
Choosing a mild cleaner tends to work best on grout that is slightly dirty but not severely stained. Vinegar and lemon juice work well because of their acidic nature, and many people already have these around the house. To use either of these cleaners, pour one into a spray bottle and then apply to the dirty grout. Allow the solution to sit from 10 to 15 minutes before using a brush with plastic bristles to remove the grime. Follow this by rinsing off the cleaner with a moist sponge or rag.
A household floor grout cleaner works well for situations involving slightly worse stains. The best option for white grout is to combine one part bleach with three parts water in a spray bottle. Again, spray, allow the solution to sit, remove the dirt with a brush and then clean with a sponge or rag. Keep in mind that this should only be used on white grout, because it is bleach and can fade colored grout.
A commercial floor grout cleaner is usually the best solution for more severe stains. These help to remove mildew in addition to cleaning off substantial dirt and deeper stains. There are multiple products available that can be purchased at most grocery and retail stores. The application and cleaning process is similar to that of the previous options, but one should always follow the specific directions on the back of the product for best results.
The final option is to use a professional floor grout cleaner, which should only be used in the most severe cases. If the previous cleaners have not adequately worked, then these can be used as a last resort. Professional cleaners contain extremely harsh chemicals and are usually only available at hardware and home improvement stores. Hazardous fumes mean these grout cleaners often require a safety mask and gloves to use safely. When dealing with these, one should follow the directions completely and try to circulate the air in the room by opening windows and turning on a fan.