Wednesday, March 19, 2014

83 Monthly Clean Home Challenge: Scrub Grout

Welcome back to the Monthly Clean Home Challenge daily task!  I am on a quest to maintain a clean and organized home in less time and the goal is simple; four daily tasks, four weekly tasks and one additional quick task each week day. 

In no particular order, here are the individual tasks I am tackling each day this month:
  1. Make cleaning supplies
  2. Cycle clean appliances
  3. Clean out cars
  4. Clean out microwave
  5. Wipe down cabinets/appliances
  6. Wipe down trim/doors
  7. Clean out one drawer
  8. Clean out fridge
  9. Clean out freezer
  10. Vacuum under furniture
  11. Vacuum mattresses
  12. Clean oven
  13. Clean out one closet
  14. Wash out garbage can/recycle bin
  15. Wash windows
  16. Scrub grout
  17. Clean out one cabinet
  18. File paper piles
  19. Purge bathroom toiletries
  20. Clean out pantry

Today I am chatting about the extra task:  Scrub Grout

In all honesty, as much as I love to clean and organize, scrubbing grout is one of my least favorite tasks.  Our lower level bathroom was tiled about eight years ago.  It was the first room we had ever used tile in, and we innocently selected white grout.  It has been on our list to update for years now but always falls low when prioritizing our projects {or basically just forgotten about all together.... until grout cleaning day}.

Because cleaning the white grout is a thorn in my side, I try to at least mop the floor once a week to increase the time in-between grout scrubbings.  It seems to help, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if it just spreads the dirt around into all of the grout lines.

Today's task is not something I would expect anyone to do frequently, but I thought I would share a way to keep the white grout sparkling.


I use two different homemade solutions for cleaning our grout.  In a spray bottle I combine approximately:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide

In a bowl, I create a paste out of baking soda and warm water.


I always start out the grout scrubbing process with a clean slate by running over the tile with a vacuum and mop {mop solution of 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water}.


As you can see the grout still shows dirt, even after the mopping session.  In fact, these floors have been mopped multiple times since the previous grout cleaning, they just naturally absorb dirt over time.


Using a grout brush, I use it to spread the paste over each line.  The key to making this obnoxious process a little easier, is to keep the paste moist by adding a few drops of water here and there.  If it becomes too dry, it just crumbles.  The entire time I am doing this, I am thinking of all the things I would rather be doing and how I can possibly write a post expecting anyone else to want to do this.  To the tune of that sweet little blue fish named Dory, "Just keep whistling, just keep smiling...."


After all of the grout is covered in the paste, I mist the water/lemon juice/peroxide combo over the lines.


Then I walk away for at least an hour and let the magic happen.

When I return back to the tile, I can already see results which encourages me to continue.  I give the floor one more spray down and use the grout brush to scrub the individual grout lines.


Most of the baking soda is completely gone by now, however, I go back over the floor one last time with the mop to call it good.



I seriously have to high five myself every grout scrubbing day.  Sure, I avoid it like the plague and question if I would ever put tile anywhere in our home ever again.  Not to mention it is a bit gritty, time consuming and putsy... But the results astound me each and every time!  The magic combination of baking soda paired with the peroxide and lemon sure does the trick!  We once again have beautiful white grout! 



Looking for something?  Check out my favorite cleaning products below:



83 comments:

  1. That is a great tip! Do you think it will work with old grout that has been dirty since we moved into this house? I am going to give it a try. So far, nothing has worked, and I have white grout in my master bath. If you can even call it that. It is so dirty looking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would think it is worth a try! Might need a couple of sessions or to let it sit and work its magic for a little longer, but fingers crossed it works out for you! Maybe try it in a section before spending too much time going over all of it, just to be sure it will lift the years of dirt.

      xo!

      Delete
    2. I think it would work. I recently cleaned the grout in our bathroom (we rent) with just bi carb and vinegar. The house is quite old, and the grout was BLACK.
      it was disgusting. But, by the time I was done, it was white! I didn't even need to use lemon juice, just bi carb and vinegar and let the paste sit there and break it down, then go back and scrub.

      Delete
    3. I second the "it will work" comment! Our home was a foreclosure that sat on the market for over a year. We later learned it was rented before we purchased, so our travertine tile and grout needed serious TLC - ours was black as well. I found a recipe on pinterest that called for a "watery" solution of baking soda and peroxide. We used toothbrushes and scrubbed until we could see the original cream color of the grout, IT WORKED!!! The only difference for us - we didn't let it sit long, once we got to the original color, we wiped clean with a damp towel and moved to the next spot. Now we feel like we have a new home! We do this every six months or so, but this last maintenance scrub wasn't nearly as tedious as the very first scrub! Good luck! I promise, it's worth it!!

      Delete
  2. I just want to say that my home has become so much more organized since I have been reading your blog. Thank you so much! Also, have you guys ever considered staining your grout? When we were going through our kitchen reno we too selected the wrong grout color. After our initial panic I found grout stain at Lowe's and after the painstaking process it turned out great! After a year and a half it's still going strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! That makes me warm and fuzzy to hear!

      We actually have some Grout Renew sitting in the bathroom as we speak, but we have been a little hesitant to try it since we have read mixed reviews. I am hoping to find a way to test it before completely committing...

      What type of grout stain did you go with if you don't mind me asking?

      Thanks again!

      Delete
    2. Sure! We used Mapei Grout Refresh from Lowe's. Tracey

      Delete
  3. Looks great, I love cleaning results that are so obvious! Is your grout sealed? Once we did ours, cleaning it became a breeze.

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    Replies
    1. It never was, and we have been worried that since it wasn't to begin with, that we probably should wait until it is updated to seal it for good. Happy to know it will help with the cleaning process!

      xo!

      Delete
    2. I second staining it. And then seal it -every year. My parents stained theirs and it turned out pretty well. I dont know what they used though. If it didnt turn out right, you could probably use acryllic paint on it -and then seal that? A friend of mine hated her grout so much they cut it out with a circular saw and re-grouted!!

      Delete
    3. I was going to say sealing it would help. ;) We tiled our laundry room and half bath last summer and sealed it right away. It is really inexpensive and easy to do.

      Delete
    4. I sealed the grout in my kitchen and bathrooms after about a year, the product I used was a clear sealant that came in a bottle with a roll-on applicator. Very inexpensive and easy to use, makes cleaning way easier.

      Delete
  4. Sooooo, we put white subway tile in our shower surround seven years ago. The grout was cocaine white on day one. Not so much anymore. I HATE how dingy it looks. Do you think this mixture/spray combo is thick enough to work on walls?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can decide on the thickness of the paste just by how much water you add to the baking soda, so it could definitely work on walls as well. :)

      xoxo!

      Delete
  5. Our grout could really use a good cleaning, too! How often do you have to do this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just do it when I start noticing that it is still looking dirty, even after a mopping. Every couple of months or so.

      xoxo!

      Delete
  6. I LOVE that you just posted all the things you use! I want to copy everything! haha! :) I hear ya on the grout thing! It's amazing how much you made it sparkle though! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Would this process work on shower tile? Or would everything just fall off/run off?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can decide on the thickness of the paste just by how much water you add to the baking soda, so it could definitely work on walls as well. :)

      xoxo!

      Delete
  8. Ooooh I hear you! I have about 6 square feet of tile in my house and when I clean the grout I feel like 6 square feet might just be 6 square feet too many! Our home was a new build so thankfully ours started out nice, fresh and white but over the last few years it's become a bit icky. A few months ago I whipped up a baking soda paste and slathered it on - left it on, sprayed with lemon juice and it was a total flop! I found my tiles were super gritty and it didn't get any of the stains out. So sad! After reading many posts it sounds like I might be the only person who has messed this up. I'm hesitant to give it another go but your post has encouraged me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura!

      I think the key is the peroxide. I would be sure to add that and I bet you will really notice some results. Good luck!

      xo!

      Delete
    2. My attempt failed as well. I used the 6% peroxide I had available. Maybe it needs to be the 35%. Bit disheartened too

      Delete
  9. Jennifer, SEAL YOUR GROUT! It's nice and clean now, but you know it doesn't last long, that's just the nature of white grout, especially if it's unsealed. Do yourself a major favor and just seal it. You will be so thankful later. Trust me on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guess I have a project for this weekend. :)

      Delete
  10. Hi Jen! The bathroom tile is beautiful. Bummer that you have to keep cleaning the grout. Until you decided to refinish the bathroom, may I suggest giving Grout Refresh a try. It comes in a variety of colors (including white), stain proof, and it is sealed. It can be purchased at Lowes for about $15 for a bottle that will be more than enough to do your bathroom. All that is needed is a rag and a narrow toothbrush. :) I used this stuff in my laundry / mudroom (about a year ago) and the grout looks as good as the day I did it.

    By the way, thank you for you wonderful organizing post each day. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip! We actually have a bottle of that siting in our bathroom as we speak. I have read some mixed reviews on it, so I had been a little hesitant to just do it. We are going with a slightly grey color, I just need to find a small area to test it first to be sure I really like it before committing. Glad to hear it was a win for you!

      xo!

      Delete
    2. Since it will wipe off of the tile itself, you could put just a little bit on one of your tiles to see if you like the color. My house is about 11 years old and last summer after delivering my 3rd child, I invited Stanley Steemer to steam clean the tile and grout and color seal all of the grout in my home. The look that I use and has been recommended most is to use the grout color that is predominant color of your tile. Another tip that I have used is to just buy premixed sanded grout and touch up as necessary. I have approximately 1000 sqft of tile in my home. I could never see myself scrubbing it myself unless I really need to take out some frustrations.

      Delete
  11. What about tiles on a vertical surface? One entire wall in my (rental) kitchen is tiled, and I think the grout is supposed to be light gray, since it is in some parts. But other parts (like near the stove) it is a dark charcoal gray. Nearly black, really. I think the people who lived here before us never once wiped down the wall, let alone scrubbed the grout.

    On the floor you can leave the paste there to "soak," but on a wall? How do I do that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi April!

      You can decide on the thickness of the paste just by how much water you add to the baking soda, so it could definitely work on walls as well.

      xoxo!

      Delete
  12. We recently moved into our new home and we know have a big open plan kitchen/ dining/ sun lounge area with a tiled floor. One of the first things when we moved in was sealing all the grout with a sealant spray -especially made for this purpose- so the grout doesn't absorb any dirtiness/ liquids. I can't recommend it highly enough! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. ack! I totally need to do this and am dreading it completely.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh no, that reminds me of cleaning my apartment :( haha

    cheers from Vienna,

    www.stylesandbox.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. So helpful!!!
    aboutdrama.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have to admit I have a cleaning lady come every two weeks but your posts continue to inspire me. She does a fine job, but I don't see the results you're getting with baking soda and peroxide!! Wow! I went to Costco and got a huge bag of baking soda and I have since cleaned my dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and my garbage can/recycle bin. I also have a long list that I may not finish this month but I am going to keep at it. I noticed wood floors are not on your list - do you have something you'd recommend to get them nice and shiny and eliminate a waxy buildup? I love that you're using green products too…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't have any wood floors in our home currently, so I just use basic vinegar/water combo on our laminate. If any readers can chime in for wood floors, that would be great!

      My pal Becky shared this recipe on her blog: http://www.cleanmama.net/2013/04/diy-homemade-cleaners-hardwood-floor-cleaner.html She has many great cleaning solutions, so I would guess it is worth a try!

      xoxo!

      Delete
    2. We have faux wood floors throughout our home and we just use steam mop to keep them clean and shiny. I *think* that would work on real wood floors, too, but I'm not positive. I like the steam cleaner so I can avoid chemicals. Plus I hate traditional mops!

      Delete
    3. I was instructed to go over our wood floors with a mop and plane water-as little as possible. I use a sponge mop so I can get as much water out of it as I can. Once it dries, go over it again with a Bona spray and mop which I believe protects it. We've been in this house for 6 months now and I think it works great. They sell the Bona mops at Target I believe.

      Delete
    4. A steam cleaner will ruin real hardwoods!

      Delete
  17. Love that, Jen! Can we have a side by side before and after?

    Sarah

    www.sarahsdaybook.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Woa! I'm convinced you used witchcraft. Haha. That was awesome. Do you use this for inside the shower as well? My apartment has tiled shower walls and the grout gets really moldy and gunky very often. And while I manage to get most of it clean, some of that stuff just won't go away. I'm gonna have to give this a shot and see if it helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would definitely give this a try! I am always so impressed with the results. Good luck Corley!

      xo!

      Delete
  19. We have the exact same tile and white grout in our kids bath (three little boys and a potty training girl; take a moment to imagine the nastiness of the grout around the toilet). I could scrub that grout twice a day and it always looked dirty. I heard of Grout Renew from Domestic Imperfection and gave it a try. That stuff is awesome. I used Ashley's technique of application which worked great. However, with the white paint/sealer you really have to lighten dark stains first to keep them from showing through. I used a tan color on other tile and didn't have this problem. It has held up great to FREQUENT cleanings and significant use (abuse). I wish I had done it years ago as I love our tile foors now and no longer daydream of ripping them out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for letting me know that you are happy with the Grout Renew. We purchased some in a shade of grey and have just been waiting to use it as I am having some commitment issues, lol.

      Delete
  20. Whoever invented white grout should be drug out into the street and flogged!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am loving this series!
    But I am stuck on distilled water. Do you buy it or make it yourself?
    If so, how do you do it? And is it crucial or can I use tap water?
    Thanks---

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Clare!

      I purchase it. We have hard water so I purchase it and use it in my coffee machine and for our iron. I have also read that tap water can inhibit cleaning and I figure the distilled will also reduce the risk of build-up forming on my cleaning bottles.

      xo!

      Delete
  22. Where do you find food grade hydrogen peroxide? Great tutorial, because the grout in our master bath really needs this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jill!

      It is just the basic peroxide that you can purchase in the medicine aisles at the grocery store or Target. :)

      xo!

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much! I look forward... Well, maybe not look forward to... But I'm definitely going to be cleaning the out soon ;)

      Delete
    3. I was wondering this same thing. After I read the post I got out our hydrogen peroxide but it says nothing about food grade. I really want to use your method to clean our tiled kitchen counters, which I HATE and which get so gross, so I am super excited about this post! So the regular old hydrogen peroxide is really the same as "food grade" and would be safe to use on kitchen counters?

      Delete
    4. Hi Amy!

      It may depend on the finish of your counter. Some natural cleaners are not great for stones, so you may have to look into that before committing to anything. :)

      xo!

      Delete
  23. Thank you so much for posting this! I've been meaning to clean my bathroom grout for ... um ... the last year since we moved into our new house. But I didn't know where to start - now I have some instruction and motivation to get my grout sparkly white!

    ReplyDelete
  24. There is a grout sealer that you can buy and brush into the grout so that it stays cleaner a little longer. It is a clear liquid. (The brush is on the bottle.) You can buy it at any big box store. I use it for the grout in the kitchen and bathroom. Spaghetti stains on the grout in the kitchen wipe clean.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Where do you get 35% hydrogen peroxide? Jen thank you so much for all your hard work to make our lives easier. Your the BEST!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jaclyn!

      It is just the basic peroxide that you can purchase in the medicine aisles at the grocery store or Target. :)

      xo!

      Delete
    2. Hi Jen,
      In Australia, the basic peroxide we have available in stores is 3-6%. 35% is hard to get a hold of and more expensive. Do you really need the 35% food grade or will the 3-6% do just as well? Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Hello! I am definitely no expert as far as if that will be an OK supplement, maybe see if you can find any Australian cleaning forums on the subject. It also could be a unit conversion difference between the U.S. and Australia? Sorry that I can't be of more help!

      Delete
    4. Definitely not the one you can find at Target or grocery stores. They are all 3%. I've tried to find it online and it's CONSIDERABLY more expensive so, pretty sure it's not just the 'basic peroxide that you purchase...'. The pharmacist at CVS looked at me like I had two heads when I asked where to find it.

      Delete
    5. Thanks for clarifying Niki! I thought I had read somewhere they were the same. I just purchase mine at Target and it works great, I will be sure to update the post asap! I appreciate you letting me know!

      Delete
  26. Hi Jen,

    I have been drawing inspiration and ideas from your posts and trying to implement them in my home. We currently live in a 700 sq ft 1 bedroom apt just outside of NYC. We are both full time working parents with an 18 month old who is all over the place. We can't do much in a rental but baskets and bins have been my new best friends so far. Anyway, I was wondering if there is a way to bookmark your individual posts, so I can refer to them later when I really want to take up that task.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you use Pinterest at all? That may be the easiest way? Otherwise, most browsers at Bookmarks for that purpose as well. :)

      Delete
    2. I often use Evernote for this purpose. You can access it on your smart phone as well as your computer. A huge time saver for me. You can read the post directly in your Evernote account files, or click the links in your files to go back to the original post. It is particularly awesome if you are at the store trying to remember what to buy for a project or recipe you saved.

      Delete
  27. Wow...this makes me glad our bathrooms have linoleum! LOL! Kudos to you for the patience this job must take though!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Our bathroom grout needs to be scrubbed so bad!! I hate doing it too, but always love the end result. I'm definitely going to try your cleaning solutions/method for this. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am ready to rip my tile floor out. We moved into the house and the bathroom floor tile is just gross (different shades of blue mosaic tiles that were put in crooked- annoying to look at) and the grout is black and grey and a yucky yellow cream color. I have scrubbed with bleach and anything else I could think of and wanted to give up. I will try this combination of stuff and hopefully get it clean enough to handle. I hate even going in there so if it will come clean I will feel better until I can re-tile later this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm concerned about the use of some natural products on natural stone. We have slate (a lot of it) in our kitchen, den & one bathroom, but I've read that using vinegar, peroxide, etc. can etch the stone. Same with granite countertops. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melena, it is true. Vinegar, lemon juice, peroxide, etc are all acids and will not only etch natural stone, the sealant on the stone and the grout will deteriorate over time. Use prodocts that are ph balanced to protect the stone and to protect the grout from cracking. This is particularly important for tile in the shower as the moisture will get behind the tiles and cause mold over time.

      Delete
  31. As other people said, seal it, once every year. It is a easy step and you don't need to scrub for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What kind of mop do you use? Its not listed on your list of cleaning essentials. I LOVE your blog btw! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Here is the link to the mop: http://amzn.to/1pgVUNJ

      xo!

      Delete
  33. I recently used Polyblend Grout Renew on some bathroom tile. I wanted to change the color from once-white grout with white tile to gray grout with white tile. The Polyblend is amazing! I just used a small craft paintbrush and wiped the excess with a damp old shirt. My bathroom is about 4 ft X 4ft and it took about two hours in total, including cleaning. The great thing about Polyblend is that it has a sealer in it. So easy and totally worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I tried ths on a small area of my kitchen floor and was shocked at the results. I didn't even let the mix sit very long, and my grout became white! Incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Can I just say, I love this series? I feel like I didn't learn a lot about cleaning growing up, so I've been working on it since I got married and sometimes it's just so helpful to have everything explained. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks sweet Hillary! I appreciate hearing that!

      Delete
  36. Wow!!! You really know how to clean those sturdy dirt. I will try this out. Thanks for sharing this great tip.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I just wanted to add my two cents. Do not use any vinegar or lemon if you have stone floors. I have marble (biggest regret ever! ) and I have spots that won't go away in the kitchen from using lemon while cooking. I actually ordered a grout cleaning product safe for marble called Finazzle.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Does anyone have any experience with Finazzle? I have thick grout lines. Bane of my existence. I scrub it when I get a chance (once every few months) using baking soda and dish soap but I need something stronger. Hoping Finazzle will work. I may try your solution upstairs in my regular tiled bathrooms. Thx

    ReplyDelete
  39. awesome post. i have just recently become interested in using natural products to clean with. Bookmarking this for the next time I do major grout cleaning!

    rae of lovefromberlin

    ReplyDelete
  40. What is the pink item in the photo with the flower print?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Did you ever seal your grout and if so, how long ago and did it keep your grout clean and which sealer did you use?

    Thank you for your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patricia!

      Back in June of last year we used a grout renew/sealer, which I blogged about here: http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2015/06/four-week-wait-no-more-organizing_25.html

      I love it! It looks the same today as it did the day we finished it.

      xoxo!

      Delete

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