LESLIE: Now we’re going to go to Bill in Florida who has a tile cleaning question.
Bill, what can we do for you?
BILL: Well, I’ve got some light-colored grout – it’s actually salmon-colored grout – on the floor.
LESLIE: What color are your tiles?
BILL: It’s a Mexican-type tile.
LESLIE: It’s like a terracotta look.
BILL: The grout didn’t get sealed originally. It was one of those lived-in and not have time after you did the job.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Right, right, exactly.
BILL: Got some bad information on how long I needed to let the grout set. But now it’s in pretty bad shape and I’d like some pointers on cleaning it without spending a fortune.
TOM: OK, there’s a couple of things you can do. First of all, I understand that there’s two kind of levels of cleaning product for grout; one’s called a grout cleaner but the stronger one is called a grout stripper. And you probably need to pick up some grout stripper. It’s a concentrate. You need to mix it according to label directions. And when you apply it, you need to let it sit for a while because that tends to loosen up the dirt and lift it out of the grout as best as it can possibly be done.
LESLIE: Does it do any damage to the grout itself; sort of break off the top layer?
TOM: No, no. It doesn’t do that sort of thing. It really just gets in and – it’s actually an acid and it starts to loosen up all that dirt and it will act to lift some of that dirt out of the grout. And that’s probably the best thing for you to do right now. You usually have to apply it a couple of times; usually have to rinse. It’s a smelly, stinky job but it’ll come out pretty good.
LESLIE: And then after that, can you seal it?
TOM: Yeah, after that you can seal it, which is a good idea. You won’t have to go through this again.
BILL: What about odors in the house? Are there any problems with that?
TOM: Well, you need to work in a ventilated area. What I like to do when I’m using products like this is to open up two windows on opposite sides of the area I’m working in; so if it’s a bathroom, of course it could be a window in the bathroom that’s adjacent to it or the hall that’s adjacent to it or however you can get the air across. And if you have a window fan, you put it in one or the other and draw the air out of the house so you just get good cross-ventilation and that does a great job of keeping the fumes down.
BILL: That sounds great. Is that pretty readily available at home improvement stores?
TOM: Absolutely. You can pick that up at a Home Depot, for example.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.