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How to Clean Dirty Grout in Ceramic Tile

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Debbie in Illinois is on the line with a cleaning question. How can we help you?
    DEBBIE: My question is about ceramic tile. What is the very best way to clean the grout? We have a house that’s been – it’s about nine years old and I just need to clean my grout.
    LESLIE: So what color has the grout turned? Do you think it’s like a mold or mildew situation or do you think that it’s just dirty?
    DEBBIE: I think it’s dirty, just dirty, yeah.
    LESLIE: And was it white to begin with?
    DEBBIE: No, it was tan. And it’s just a little darker tan. The ceramic tile is tan and so it’s just – it was a coordinating tan that went with the tile.
    TOM: So there are a couple of options. You can get grout cleaner or grout stripper, which are commercially available products. And the stripper is a little more aggressive. And you can put it on, let it sit and then you work it with a brush until you get the grout to the color that you want it. But the key, final step is to make sure that once you get it clean and it’s really dry – is to seal it at that point, because that will keep it cleaner longer.
    The sealers are silicone-based and they sort of soak into the grout and they stop it from being quite as absorbent. And they help you shed some of the dirt and grime that will follow.
    DEBBIE: OK. So, I’ve also seen it advertised that a steamer is a good way to do that. Would you not recommend a steamer on it?
    TOM: I don’t think a steamer is going to help you by itself. Warm/hot water and steam is not going to make the difference. What you need is the right product to lift the dirt and the debris out of the grout that’s there.
    DEBBIE: OK. And would you recommend a certain type of grout stripper?
    TOM: You might want to take a look at the products by TileLab – Tile-L-a-b. Those are sold at The Home Depot.
    DEBBIE: Alright. Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Debbie. 

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