Grout is used to hold tiles together on your floors, walls, and ceiling, but its rough texture and small size make it a prime spot for moisture, dirt, and grime to collect. Over time, especially in areas of high moisture like bathrooms and kitchens, this can lead to an unpleasant appearance, or even become an area where mold and mildew are able to take hold. Fortunately, you can clean grout and restore it to its original appearance while also removing and preventing mold from growing.
General Ventilation and Moisture Control
While more of a maintenance tip than a cleaning one, the key to ensuring that mold does not take hold in your tiles' grout is by keeping the area well ventilated and dry. Keeping windows and doors open in the bathroom or kitchen while you are using the water fixtures can help reduce the amount of ambient humidity, and drying down the walls after showering or cooking can also play a large role in preventing moisture from collecting and encouraging mold growth.
While it's easy to wipe down porcelain tiles, simply by using a mixture of warm water and dish soap, grout requires a little more elbow grease. You can make a paste out of one part vinegar and one part baking soda and apply it using a toothbrush or a similarly sized brush or sponge. Let it soak into the grout for about fifteen minutes. The vinegar is a disinfectant, deodorizer, and bleaching agent, while the baking soda will react with the vinegar and allow it to find its way around all of the grooves and valleys of the grout. Simply wipe it away or rinse the tiles down to finish.
Regular Grout Sealing
While most tiles are able to last their entire lifespan without being sealed to keep moisture out, grout is not so lucky. Every few years, depending on usage and how much moisture it is actually exposed to, grout requires a coat of sealant to be placed on it. You can have a professional come in to seal your grout if you don't have the time or have a large area that has to be sealed, but for small at-risk areas, you can purchase small tubes and containers of grout sealer from most hardware stores. The sealer is applied simply by squeezing it directly onto the grout and then spreading it around using a toothbrush, sponge, or another application tool that fits into the grooves between your tiles.
For help with services like these, consider companies like Safe-Way Waterproofing.