Bathtub Refinishing Basics: How Do I Get My Grout White Again?

shutterstock_256670116Grout is highly porous, which means that it stains easily. Soap scum, mildew and mold all take their toll and lead to unsightly discolorations. Luckily, whitening and refreshing your grout is one of the quickest and most effective tub refinishing projects you can take on. With a bit of effort and a few simple ingredients, you can make your bathroom grout look good as new.Starting Simple

The first tile and grout cleaning solution you should try out is warm water and a stiff-bristled brush. Use a spray bottle or a handheld shower head to wet the area, then scrub using a circular motion. In many cases, this action alone will remove soap scum and discoloration. After that, there are a number of solutions you can try that utilize items you most likely already have around the house.

Natural Clean with Vinegar

If plain water doesn’t work, try using regular white vinegar on the stains. Simply fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Spray the vinegar solution on the grout and let stand five minutes before scrubbing with a stiff cleaning brush.

Whitening with Baking Soda

A paste of baking soda and water can often remove tougher stains. Apply on grout lines, let sit for around five minutes, then scrub and rinse. Baking soda is abrasive. If you are worried about scratching your tile, try this in a small concealed area before applying it to all of the grout.

Peroxide Solution

Hydrogen peroxide can be used on its own or in a paste with baking soda. When using it alone, simply spray on and scrub off.

Lemon Fresh

This is a method of tile and grout cleaning Orlando residents should love, since it uses a local product that is in abundance throughout the winter months. Take the juice of one lemon and mix with cream of tartar to make a paste. Together, these can remove stains from grout, as well as stains on porcelain in your bathtub. Cream of tartar can be found at the grocery store in the baking aisle.

Bringing Out the Heavy Artillery

If natural and mild cleaners don’t work, it may be time to try more dramatic solutions. When using harsher cleansers, always make sure that you are working in a ventilated area and that you spot check treatments.

Oxygen Cleaners to the Rescue

Cleaners that use oxygen bleach, such as OxiClean or Biokleen, can often handle dirt and stains that milder cleansers cannot. Only use oxygen cleaners if your bathroom is well-ventilated. Add water to make a paste then apply to the grout. Let the solution do its work for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves to avoid irritation.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach, whether in liquid form or as an ingredient in a bathroom cleaner, can be used sparingly to lighten and remove stains. Make sure you use gloves when using a cleaner with chlorine, as it can irritate your skin. Apply the cleaner, allow it to soak and then remove with a damp cloth. Do not use chlorine bleach in an are where you are also applying ammonia-based cleaners. Do not use this often, as it can erode grout when used too much.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaners use heat and pressure to steam out dirt, grime, mildew and mold. Use care to avoid burning yourself during use, as the water jet gets extremely hot. A quality steam cleaner will set you back at least $100 and needs to be stored in between uses. If you have other items in your household that can benefit from steam cleaning, it could be a worthwhile investment. Professional cleaners can also come to your home to steam clean your grout if you don’t wish to go the DIY route.

Acid-Based Cleaner

Cleaners that use muriatic acid — also called hydrochloric acid — are available from any hardware store. These cleaners are harsh and need to be used carefully. Make sure that you wear gloves, safety glasses and clothing that keeps your arms and legs covered. Dilute the acid according to package instructions, usually one part acid to five parts water. Because of the harsh fumes, muriatic acid should be mixed outside. Always add the acid to the water instead of the other way around. Apply with a nylon scrub pad. Remove using plain water. Test this in an inconspicuous area first if you are concerned that it will damage your tile. Use infrequently, as acid can wear down grout over time.

Keeping Grout Clean in the Future

One of the most effective paths to white grout is to prevent stains from setting in in the first place. Many experts recommend grout sealer to keep your grout from picking up stains from dirt, mold and mildew. When seeking tub refinishing Orlando professionals, let them know that you want grout sealed as part of their service.

Grout sealer should be applied after you have any tile work done and reapplied every 6 to 12 months. There are a number of products on the market. Look for one specifically meant for the color grout and tile you use in your bathroom.

Regular maintenance can also cut down on grout cleaning chores. Spray down the shower about once a week with a vinegar solution. This can discourage mildew and mold, which are the main issues that cause grout staining. You can also try wiping the grout down with rubbing alcohol if you are having issues with mold.

Make sure that you open a window or run the fans in your bathroom after showering. Reducing moisture in the room can also keep mildew and mold at bay.

By reducing the odds of discoloration in the first place, you can better assure that your grout will stay shining white and stain-free.