LESLIE: Marie in Georgia needs some help with a cleaning project. What can we do for you?
MARIE: We bought a house that was built in the early 70s. The grout between the patio tiles is very dirty and also mildew-stained and the brick around the bottom of the house is clay-stained and also very dirty. We have tried several products and even a pressure washer on the patio and we haven’t had much results and we were wondering if you had anything to recommend.
LESLIE: Have you tried a – you know like store-bought grout stripper? It’s like a chemical-y product that you would get that would really strip off some off that top layer of the grout, which would probably get rid of a majority of that dirt.
MARIE: Oh, no; we haven’t. We just bought the general household cleaners; you know, lots of bleach and scrubbing and pressure washing. That’s all we did so far.
TOM: Yeah, I think that if you used a grout stripper, that would do a much better job of removing the dirt and the mildew. Make sure that when you apply it, you let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes to go to work; then scrub over that with a good, stiff brush and I think you’ll find that it’s going to come out a lot brighter this time.
MARIE: OK. And should I do the same thing on the brick? The brick is clay-stained – you know, around the bottom of the house – because there wasn’t anything to prevent backsplash from the water.
TOM: It may clean it but if it’s just brick that you want to clean, the other thing that you could use is trisodium phosphate, TSP, which will do a good job.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That should do a good job.
MARIE: (overlapping voices) OK.
TOM: That’s available usually in the hardware store in the paint aisle or in the home center in the paint aisle and that will do a pretty good job. You want to mix it up into a fairly thick consistency and, again, put it on and let it sit. I’m not sure that I would do both. I would do one or the other because I’m not sure how they would react to each other.
MARIE: Very good. Thank you very much. That was a big help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.