Monday, February 14, 2011

Cleaning Grout

I've been neglectful, really neglectful. I haven't cleaned my floor grout in two years. Face it, I'm lucky to keep the food cleaned up off the floor. The floor that our youngest grand daughter keeps decorating with the food that was intended for her to eat. Oh the joys of two year olds, grugg.

I've taken a scrub brush to the kitchen floor trying to clean the grout and get the dried on food off but the grout has just gotten grungier. I didn't realize when Kirk and I put this tile flooring in that it would require grout maintenance. I thought that twenty year sealer kept me from having to do that. It was expensive. But alas, not so it seems.

Surprise, the floor may not need waxed but it does need some extra attention beyond the mop. Actually, I scrub my floors on my hands and knees. They get cleaner that way. Maybe it is because I'm near sighted. What do you think?

But as I looked at the floors this week I knew I just had to do something. So I went where? Yup, the Internet. I swear I should be a spokes person. The first advice recommended making a paste of vinegar and baking soda and it took only ten minutes before I was to scrub. But -na da, zip, zilch, nothing. So much for the tile companies advice. This time, I used the same cleaning agents so I didn't strip the sealer off, but applied it in a new way and for a longer period of time.
With someones advice, I can't remember who, I dabbled the baking soda on along the grout lines and then applied the vinegar with a spray bottle, spritzing the lines. I let it set for over an hour before using the scrub brush, a nylon stiff bristled one like they recommended.

Lastly, I washed it all off and studied the results.

What do you think? A definite improvement, huh, for this is what it use to look like. Well, that spot anyway for most of the floor still does resemble this picture. With trying to keep three little ones off the treated area, I have to do a small section at a time. Will probably take me a few days to get the job done, but that's how most things are accomplished around here.

If you need to clean your tile, I recommend this method. If you want to put in tile flooring, you should know a few things. No, yo do not have to wax it and shouldn't. Yes, it will last a very long time, so I recommend choosing a fairly neutral color. My step-mom's tile is turquoise. I wonder how long that will be in style before it will look really outdated -maybe it already is. The drinking glass you drop will disintegrate into a zillion pieces so if you're nickname is butter fingers, don't buy tile. Then again if you want something with a more natural look, will last a very long time, and is more upscale than linoleum , tile is a good choice. It also increases the value of a home. Carpet and linoleum do not. Keep in mind though some on your hands and knees work will have to be done to clean the grout.
After seeing the results I'm determined to do a better job in the future now of keeping the grout clean. It will definitely save time in the future as I won't have such a build up to clean. But lest you think I'm a terrible housekeeper, I have granite counter tops and I do use the monthly sealer on them.
I also have leather furniture and I use a leather conditioner once a month on it. Love how easily they wash up. And yes, I admit it. I like things that last a very long time and I don't like a great deal of change. Good thing for I can't afford new things as I've saved up for ever for what I have.
Just in case you are wondering how to clean your grout, give the above method a try.
I found a few more tidbits of advice I haven't tried yet. They recommend alcohol to kill the mold on grout walls in the shower. They also say just spraying vinegar on and letting it sit works too for dirty grout. That might be extra handy on shower walls. My new tile bathroom walls don't need anything yet. The grand kids don't shower but bathe but I'm sure that will soon change. As for Kirk's and my bathroom. Well, it is in bad need of being gutted and remodeled. We have part of the supplies needed but haven't gotten started yet.
As for those of you that I've written to telling I'd post family pictures, I will but right now I've got a little Daisy girl scout to pick up.

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