When we first choose something like new tiles for our homes, we look at the obvious things like size, colour, design, material and finish. Depending on which room you are looking to use them in, they might then see a lot of traffic, water spillages or kitchen/bathroom grime and dirt. Cleaning tiles is generally not so much of an issue. They can relatively easily be wiped clean to maintain their beautiful looks. When it comes to grout, however, the issue is just a little trickier and not quite as straight forward. But it’s not only worth it because we obviously want a clean home, but also from an aesthetic point of view; a wall or floor with fabulous tiles won’t look half as gorgeous if the grout between the tiles is greying and dirty. So, here are some tips on maintaining and cleaning grout to keep it white.
Grout is porous and will over time pick up dirt no matter how clean our home is. Seriously, no matter how much we clean, dirt will inevitably settle between the tiles and they will start to look less than perfect after a while. So, what to do and how to best clean and maintain them then? Well, short of painstakingly cleaning each and every single grout line with a toothbrush and then painting them over (there are special products on the market for this purpose), there are other ways of maintaining them in the first place and cleaning them when needed.
The first step to maintain the grout is to seal it (the sealant is added to the grout) whilst finishing your tiling job. Since (as mentioned above) grout is porous, it will easily pick up all the dust particles. These are especially ‘dirty’ in kitchens and bathrooms. Sealing the grout then means that there’s less chance of these particles being able to penetrate the grout and more chance of it being cleaned along with the tiles. Using a mild detergent and lots of clean water to clean your tiles and grout will ensure that they don’t suffer any damage from chemicals.
It is also advisable to clean any spillages and stains (on a splashback for example) as quickly as possible as they can be absorbed by the grout and will then be very hard to get out again. When it comes to the bathroom, check your products, especially your shampoo. If it has any colorants or dyes in it, then chances are the colour will over time settle on your white grout and discolour it. If you do use such products, then you should make sure to clean your shower walls with clear water straight after you shower and wipe them with a clean cloth.
If your grout really does need a clean, then going back to the good old toothbrush is one of the more time consuming but nonetheless good options. A toothbrush will easily get between the tiles whilst the bristles are soft enough not to damage the grout. Don’t use any harsh chemicals as these can strip the grout, make it more porous and this will inevitably lead to more dirt settling in. A mix of vinegar and water is both, more environmentally friendly and less harsh on the grout.
Of course there’s another trick that you can use from the outset and which will ‘disguise’ any greying grout: use black grout instead of white! I know, it’s a bit of a cheat’s solution and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your kitchen or bathroom (!!!), but it’s also a very fashionable and pretty cool look that is a little less maintenance intense.