No matter how clean a bathroom floor is, dingy-looking grout can spoil its appearance. Because of its rough texture and positioning in between tiles, it’s virtually inevitable that grout will end up on the receiving end of a lot of nicks, dings, and stains. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your tile and grout lines looking good.
The first thing to remember about tile and grout maintenance is that a relatively thin layer of water-repelling compound is all that stands between clean grout and stained, mildewy grout. Chemical products designed to keep them looking good often do so at the expense of their longevity– while a commercial cleaning product may make grout look bright again, it also often damages its ability to repel water. The same goes for harsh scrubbing.
Instead of spending money on specialty grout-cleaning products, it’s best to keep grout looking new by allowing it to dry thoroughly between showers or baths. When it’s time to clean it, use some white vinegar or ammonia diluted in water. This will remove soap scum, mildew, and hard water stains, but protect the integrity of the tile and grout themselves.
If grout is already stained and damaged, the right cleaning might not be enough. Old grout that is discolored but in otherwise good condition can be colored with commercial staining products, then sealed to keep it looking good. Grout that’s too far gone, however, will have to be completely removed and replaced using either a professional’s help or a do-it-yourself kit.
Even if tile and grout are properly taken care of, grout will still need some regular maintenance to keep it in good condition. If grout is more than a year or so old, odds are it has lost some of its sealant and may be absorbing water. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to re-seal using a do-it-yourself sealing compound. Tub and shower enclosures that are heavily used will require more frequent re-sealing than those that don’t get much use.
Clean, fresh-looking grout can go a long way to boosting a bathroom’s looks, but proper grout maintenance is more than just a visual concern. By keeping grout clean and sealed, you can prevent water from seeping between tiles and ruining the subflooring underneath. All it takes is the right cleaning products, a little extra effort, and occasional re-sealing to help keep your bathroom looking beautiful for years to come.