Grout care: how to keep it clean and lasting longer

Taking care of your shower grout, and what to do to keep it looking great.

While everyone loves to stand back and enjoy the satisfaction of a sparkling clean bathroom, there’s one common unsightly feature that may cause concern: the grout. Without correct maintenance it can become discoloured or mouldy, which is not only a blemish to the eye, but can have a serious impact on you and your family’s health.

Grout can get dirty very quickly, so it’s important to stay on top of cleaning it. Here’s how to keep those tiles (and what’s in between them) clean as new.

What is the purpose of grouting

What is the purpose of grouting?

Grout is in many areas of your house – just think of your kitchen splashback, bathroom and toilet floors. Grout holds your tiles to your wall and provides waterproofing, so wet spaces don’t damage the dry walls behind them. It can create a clean and seamless look to your bathroom, adding design elements and character to tiled areas.

Being used in wet areas, grout is vulnerable to collecting dirt and grime, growing mould and taking on other damage from foot traffic. When grout starts splitting, cracking or falling away from the tiles, water can seep behind the tiles and cause major damage.

How to clean grout - small steps will save time in the long run

How to clean grout – small steps will save time in the long run

Keeping your grout clean and waterproof starts with simple day-to-day maintenance, which doesn’t need to be difficult. Before you leave the shower, take a moment to wipe your tiles and grout down with a cloth or chamois. This small daily step will help your grout to dry, meaning that grime won’t have a chance to collect, and mould will have less of a chance to grow. There are other simple things you can do, even before the “cleaning” of grout begins:

  • Wipe down wet tiles with a sponge
  • Leave the bathroom exhaust fan on after you leave the room
  • Don’t wait for the grout to become dirty before you clean it
  • Steam cleaners are a safe alternative to harsh chemicals
Tricks that work – some of the best homemade tile grout cleaner hacks

Tricks that work – some of the best homemade tile grout cleaner hacks

Once a week, your shower and grateful grout will benefit from a good clean! Using an old toothbrush and sponge, gently scrub the grout using water to wash away any dirt. A little elbow grease can go a long way!

Vinegar & baking soda to the rescue!

If your grout is particularly dirty, combine a mixture of one-part water and two parts baking soda to make a paste, then scrub with the toothbrush, wiping the tiles with the sponge. For stubborn stains, substitute the water for one-part vinegar to make a stronger paste. An electric toothbrush with an old head will also save time and a lot of effort!

Toothpaste magic for clean shower grout

Did you know that toothpaste can make an effective tile grout cleaner? Toothpaste is mildly abrasive, so it’s great at scrubbing tough stains, yet it’s gentle enough that it won’t scratch delicate surfaces. You’ll also get the added benefit of minty freshness. To remove dirt and grime from tile grout:

  • Squeeze some white toothpaste onto the grout
  • Scrub with a toothbrush or grout cleaner tool
  • Have a small glass of water nearby to rinse the brush
  • Creating a paste will help to clean the grout
  • Leave the paste to soak on stubborn stains
  • Wipe the area with a cloth, using liquid dish soap and water to remove any excess toothpaste.
The best grout cleaner approaches for hard-to-clean stains

The best grout cleaner approaches for hard-to-clean stains

Your shower tile grout will benefit from a more intense clean at least once a month – twice is better. Simply spray your tile walls with an all-purpose antibacterial cleaner, which will kill 99.9% of germs, including Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus & Enterococcus to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Wipe down the surfaces, scrubbing any grout that needs further attention. This is will also help to keep it smelling fresh, and you can change the scent every month.

If you need a more intense clean for stubborn grime that’s tough to remove, hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as a mild bleach in laundry detergents. Hydrogen peroxide is seen as an environmentally safe alternative to chlorine-based bleaches, as it degrades to form oxygen and water and it is generally recognized as safe.

To clean with hydrogen peroxide, mix half a cup of baking soda, one quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Apply this paste onto the grout and wait 5 to 10 minutes for it to deep soak. Scrub and thoroughly rinse the area. Remember to use rubber gloves, and always use cleaning products in a well-ventilated area. Read the instructions on the product’s label, and always keep out of reach of children.

Other grout cleaner products to restore and maintain your grout

Other grout cleaner products to restore and maintain your grout

Homemade grout cleaners are extremely effective, but for professional cleaners or particularly stubborn stains or grime, opting for a specially formulated product and well-designed grout cleaning tool can be a smart choice.

A quick search online will show you a huge range of grout cleaning machines – motorised scrubbers to ease the pain of cleaning and reduce the time involved. For those with injuries or disabilities, grout and tile cleaning scrubbers are a lifesaver.

There are definitely great tools, products and services out there that can make the headache of looking after your grout a walk in the park, and the team at Rila Tiling & Waterproofing can give you targeted advice depending on the tiles and grout you have in your home.

When to get help – is it time to consider regrouting showers, bathrooms, laundries or kitchens

When to get help – is it time to consider regrouting showers, bathrooms, laundries or kitchens?

Grout needs care and attention to keep it clean and looking new, so deep clean your grout at least twice a month to prevent the growth of mould and keep stains away.

However, even the best laid plans with good intentions can go pear shaped. Did life get on top of you and your cleaning routine? Perhaps you bought a house, and you inherited months of neglected maintenance; or your tenants vacated from your investment property, leaving their dirt and grime behind for you and your scrubbing brush.

Remember, sometimes it’s best to start fresh! Signs that your grout needs retouching or replacing include if the grout has started to flake and break off, or some of the tiles are starting to come loose, which is due to water seeping in through broken grout. Once you have new grout, you can make sure the same thing doesn’t happen by following this regular maintenance advice.

If your grout is continuously discoloured, mould grows back, the grout is cracking away from the wall or is beyond your DIY cleaning, we can re-grout your tiles professionally and have your bathroom sparkling clean again. With 20 years’ experience in all aspects of tiling, waterproofing and bathroom renovations, we can get your bathroom back to being your pride and joy.

Servicing the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle areas, contact us on 04 3576 3797 or fill in our online contact form – one of our friendly team members will be in touch with you as soon as possible.