Grout stains more readily than tile; here's how to get the stain out.
Most tiles clean up very well and continue to look good even decades after installation. Unfortunately, grout joints tend to collect dirt and stains and will quickly look grungy if not cleaned regularly 1. If you find a stain in the grout, try removing it with a scouring powder such as Bon Ami. Apply the powder with a nonmetallic scrubbing pad and rub the area gently 2. If at first you don’t succeed, cover the stain with a thick layer of wet powder, let it penetrate for 5 minutes to 10 minutes, scrub, then rinse thoroughly. Do not use colored cleansers, such as Ajax and Comet, as they can actually discolor or damage the grout over time.
If the grout has been neglected for a long time and is heavily stained, try covering it with a mixture of scouring powder and hot tap water. Rub the powder into the grout joints with a gloved fingertip, then let it sit for 10 minutes to 15 minutes 3. Scrub the area with a firm-bristle scrub brush or nonmetallic scrubbing pad 4. If this technique doesn’t produce success, you can use a stronger cleaner like sulfamic acid, phosphoric acid, or a liquid cleaner like Bright Glaze, but only occasionally; regular usage will eat away your grout. If the grout simply will not come clean, one alternative is to paint it with a grout recolorant.
|What can go wrong
Stay away from tile cleaning products that contain bleach and/or acids. Bleach will appear to clean your grout but that’s because it is actually removing the first layer of the material. Over time, you will have less and less grout, until you find you need to regrout the entire job.
Excerpted from Tiling Complete, 2nd Edition by Robin Nicholas and Michael Schweit.
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