I don't like using harsh chemicals to clean. There are a lot of things to consider when you reach for the bleach, like the impact on the environment and local waterways, the short and long-term damage to your family's skin and lungs, as well as the lifespan of your surfaces. That couldn't be more true of your bathroom tile grout. Harsh chemicals will eat away at the soft material, so even though you might be free from bathroom mould, your grouting will be falling way, meaning you'll be looking at the expense and bother of a complete re-do long before people using more natural detergents will.
Bathroom grout is especially prone to mould because of the humid environment, and naturally porous make up. You are also more likely to see the dirt and discolouration build up because most grouting is light coloured.
It not only makes your bathroom look unhealthy, that mould isn't especially good to be hanging out with.
Here are some methods for cleaning your bathroom tile grout starting with completely natural, right through to chemical. These will give you a chance to match the best solution to your lifestyle.
Steam clean the worst
If you have a steam cleaner use a pointed nozzle to steam the grout and loosen the grime before you get started on any of the steps below.
This step is not at all mandatory but it will help make things easier, no matter what your preferred cleaning method is.
All you need is a stiff bristled brush for this one and plenty of elbow grease. Simply put a small bucket in the shower with you to catch some warm water ready for scrubbing. To start with, scrub in a circular motion to loosen any build up and then follow the grout direction up and down to finish. While the mould will reform with this method, you can do it as often as you need with no fuss and bother.
Use bi-carb soda
Keep those chemical fumes out of your house and away from your kids and pets with a bi-carb soda solution.
This natural method using baking soda and vinegar will boost your clean and create a fizz that will impress the kids.
1. Make a bi-carb soda paste by adding water to bi-carb until it's thick.
2. Use a bristled brush to scrub it into the grout and cover it completely.
3. Wet the area with a mix of 50/50 white vinegar and water (a spray bottle here works well, and you can continue to use the spray for the rest of your home cleaning.) This will fizz and bubble, leave it do it's work for 20- 30 minutes.
4. Rinse with water.
5. Repeat one time if necessary
Use Hydrogen peroxide
If your grout has built up or is especially nasty then make a more potent paste mix using bi-carb soda and mixing a little hydrogen peroxide in place of water. Keep adding small amounts of peroxide until you reach a thick but not gritty paste.
Continue, using steps 2-5 in the bi-carb soda method above.
This is a great option if you are looking to impress at an open for inspection but might not have been an avid bathroom cleaner leading up to your home sale.
Use lemon oil
This is another paste mix with a bit more hit.
½ cup borax (you can find borax powder in the laundry aisle at the supermarket)
½ teaspoon lemon oil
Add the liquid soap to the borax and lemon oil a little at a time until you get a paste.
Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout in a circular motion.
Rinse with warm water.
For deep grime and discolouration, bleach might be your only answer. Do try the methods above first, but if nothing is doing on the natural cleaning front, harsh chemicals might be your last resort. If so, make sure your bathroom is well ventilated, open windows and keep the screen for the shower open as well as the door to the bathroom open when you clean and afterwards to help circulate the air. Most bathrooms have fan ventilation systems in which case turn yours on, if not, you might need to consider installing one to help reduce moisture build up and therefore reduce your bathroom mould.
Bleaching can only be used on white grouting.
Dilute your beach of choice with room-temperature water. A good ratio is around 1 tablespoon of bleach to 3.5 litres of water (roughly 1:30). If you are using a spray bottle it's roughly ¾ of a tablespoon of bleach to the bottle.
Spray the diluted bleach solution over the grout and scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse with room temperature water.
Of course, the best method is to prevent bathroom mould build up. So if you do find yourself caught out and needing a harsh chemical treatment, make sure you follow up with regular cleaning that doesn't use chemicals that will strip away your grout to keep your bathroom mould under control.
When it comes to our busy lives, especially if we are preparing a home for sale, it might be well worth the investment to get in professional cleaners. This is especially recommended if you don't have good ventilation and the natural products haven't worked for you.
Here are some quick tips to help maintain a mould free bathroom
-Turn your exhaust fans on before you shower and leave them on for 10-15 minutes after you have finished using the bathroom
-No exhaust fan? Open the window or door during and after your shower.
-Use a bathmat
-Squeegee your shower glass of air out your shower curtain frequently
-Wipe over your tiles with a towel
While bathroom grout can be messy and unhealthy, removing it doesn't need to be. Keep your bathroom clean and have long-lasting tile grout with fewer chemicals and more preventative treatments.