Grout cleaning is a joyless job, but it has to be done. Because of how porous grout is, it tends to collect dirt, grime and bacteria, which aren’t just disgusting to see but can also be harmful to our health.
We decided to tackle the tedious affair of grout cleaning one weekend. And instead of using unknown chemicals and exposing ourselves to more toxic, we scoured the Internet for natural DIY methods to see if they really work. Here are the results of our little experiment.
There were tons of natural grout cleaning methods online, but they basically revolved around these ingredients.
1. Baking soda
A common ingredient used in many natural cleaning methods. It is mildly abrasive, allowing it to remove stubborn stains. It is also used as a natural brightener.
2. Hydrogen peroxide
This transparent liquid is usually used as an antiseptic, applied on scraps and minor wounds to prevent infection. When used as a cleaning agent, it has disinfectant properties. Get hydrogen peroxide from your local pharmacy — we got them off Unity.
Like baking soda, salt is also a natural scrub. When mixed with an acid like vinegar or lemon, it boosts their cleaning properties. We used table salt in this experiment, but a coarser salt will definitely make for a better scrub.
Another popular ingredient in natural cleaning methods, vinegar is acidic which helps to dissolve deposits and dirt. Because of their acidity, we wouldn’t recommend getting them on natural stone and wood.
Despite its strong smell, it also functions as a deodoriser to neutralise odours. We used distilled white vinegar in our experiment.
5. Lemon juice
Similar to vinegar, lemon juice has antibacterial properties and is acidic, which helps to break down grime and dirt. It also features a fresh, citrusy scent, making them great for use as a natural deodoriser.
MethodPHOTO: RenonationPHOTO: Renonation
ConclusionPhoto 1: Before | Photo 2: Paste application | Photo 3: After scrubbing and rinsing PHOTO: Renonation
All three combinations weren’t miracle workers (as we hoped) and required quite a bit of elbow grease with an old toothbrush. However, we did see dirt and grime being removed from our grouting when we scrubbed. After scrubbing, we rinse everything off with clean water.
We saw the most amount of change in our grouting with combination 3 (salt, vinegar and baking soda). Combination 2 (lemon juice and baking soda) had the least effect, although it did leave a citrusy scent in our bathroom.
For some reason, combination 1 (hydrogen peroxide and baking soda) turned our grout lines slightly orangey. A quick google told us that hydrogen peroxide can leave yellowish stains so a word of caution there.
While the three natural cleaning methods didn’t have a more significant impact on the appearance of our grout, it did help get rid of some dirt, albeit with a lot of scrubbing!
Stubborn stains like ours might need something stronger. If you are doing a regular maintenance of your tile grouting, these natural methods might work for you better.
This article was first published in Renonation.