How to Clean Dirty Grout
LESLIE: Donna in Florida has been neglecting your tile work. What’s going on?
DONNA: Well, not really neglecting. We just moved in here and this is …
TOM: Somebody else was neglecting it, huh?
DONNA: Yes, badly. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And the …
LESLIE: We love it.
DONNA: The grout has been badly neglected. It’s kind of a light putty in the clean areas. But for the most part, it’s very dirty and grungy. And we would like to know the best way to clean it without, you know, messing it up to where we have to reseal it and everything. (Bird squawks)
LESLIE: Do you have a bird? What’s going on over there?
DONNA: Yeah, I do. I have seven birds.
TOM: Oh, man. (Tom and Donna chuckle)
LESLIE: Are they talkers?
DONNA: I have an amazon that’s quite a talker.
LESLIE: They’re so funny. And when they learn to talk they actually start speaking in the same exact voice as whoever they’ve picked it up from.
DONNA: Yeah, pretty much. She does sounds a lot like me. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: That is so funny.
So you’re pretty sure that the grout is just dirty. It’s not like we need to scrape it out and start all over.
DONNA: I don’t think so. It’s just dirty. Because a few places my husband has cleaned, he got some stuff called Krud Kutter.
TOM: Right, that’s pretty good stuff.
DONNA: And actually we got it to get the tile – well they painted the woodwork and got it on the tile. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Oh, boy.
DONNA: So he’s using that all the way around the house …
DONNA: … to get the stain off the floor. And he’s tried it on the tile and it actually works pretty well but to do the whole house with that would be a mess. (chuckling) I don’t think he can do it with the – it’s a spray bottle of, you know, stuff. So …
TOM: Well, there’s usually two levels of grout cleaner. There’s grout cleaner and there’s grout stripper. Grout stripper is a lot tougher than grout cleaner and you can buy both in the home centers. And really, trying to get that grout clean is a big job but, I mean the idea here would be to mix it up and do it once.
DONNA: Someone told him not to try to mop – like when he puts something on there, not to try to mop it up because all it did was move the dirt around and put it back into the tile. And they told him to use a wet/dry vac.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t suck the excess cleaner up because you don’t know what’s in there and a wet/dry vac …
LESLIE: And it could be volatile.
TOM: Yeah, it could be volatile. Exactly. So I wouldn’t do that. But I think if you use a lot of fresh water then that shouldn’t be an issue.
DONNA: So any kind of the stuff you buy in a home …
TOM: The grout strippers, I think, are better than a grout cleaner. OK?
DONNA: OK, grout stripper?
DONNA: OK, great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.