Even after washing it, the floor with dirty joints looks bad. You can restore it to its original splendor by cleaning the spaces between the tiles. Depending on the type of coating and the grout color of the joints, there are several effective cleaning methods to make the floor really clean. You can clean these spaces with little effort using both natural and chemical products.
Method 1 of 4: with Sodium Bicarbonate and Vinegar
Step 1. Make a dough with water and baking soda
Mix three parts with one part of water to make a thick paste. This versatile cleaning solution is perfect for any color grout, but remember that vinegar may be too aggressive on natural stone floors such as marble or limestone.
- Spread the mixture over the joints using your finger.
- Although baking soda is not a dangerous product, it is always best to wear rubber gloves to avoid scratching or irritating the skin with the abrasive consistency of the mixture and grout.
Step 2. Make an equal parts vinegar and water solution and pour it into a spray bottle
Spread it on the baking soda you smeared. You should immediately see bubbles forming which indicate that the natural cleaning process has begun.
Step 3. Wait for the fizz to stop
This is the normal reaction generated by mixing baking soda with vinegar and it lasts a few minutes. When there is no more bubble production, the cleaning is finished.
Step 4. Scrub the joints with a brush
Use one with nylon bristles or an old toothbrush and clean each joint along its entire length. Pay particular attention to the corners and edges to thoroughly clean these areas as well.
Step 5. Finally wash the floor with water only
Use a mop and clean water to remove vinegar and baking soda residues. Rinse the mop and change the water frequently during this step to avoid continually spreading detergent residue.
Method 2 of 4: with Sodium Percarbonate
Step 1. Dissolve two tablespoons of sodium percarbonate in 480ml of hot water
Prepare the solution immediately before using it for good results. Mix the solution thoroughly to activate the percarbonate well. The whitening action of this product could damage the colored grout, but you shouldn't have any problems with almost any type of tile.
Step 2. Test a hidden joint in a corner of the floor before cleaning the entire surface
Some joint coverings or grouts may stain or discolour with this treatment. Pour a small amount of solution into a hidden spot and check for any color changes.
Step 3. Pour the percarbonate solution onto the joint
Add enough to completely fill the entire length of the groove. You need to clean one section of the floor at a time to avoid wetting the entire surface.
Step 4. Use a nylon bristle brush to scrub the grout
Let the cleaning solution work for several minutes to get the best results.
- Scrub the joints following their direction.
- Remember to also clean the corners and edges of the floor well, where dirt tends to accumulate.
Step 5. Dip the brush in the percarbonate powder to increase the cleaning power
If you have found a darker or more noticeable stain, then you can try a more aggressive method by dipping the brush directly into the powdered percarbonate.
- Attention: pour a small amount of product into another container to prevent water from entering the main container in which you store the percarbonate.
Step 6. Rinse the floor with water and finally dry
Pour clean water directly onto the tiles and wipe dry with a dry cloth or mop.
Method 3 of 4: with hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate and dish soap
Step 1. Make a dough
Mix 150g of baking soda with 60ml of hydrogen peroxide and 15ml of dish soap. This mixture is very effective for cleaning joints for three reasons:
- Bicarbonate has a natural abrasive action on the surface of the joints;
- Hydrogen peroxide reacts chemically with bicarbonate releasing oxygen ions which have a whitening action;
- Dish soap dissolves dirt and removes grease.
- Attention: the whitening action of the chemical reaction can damage the colored joints; always test in a hidden corner of the floor before cleaning the entire surface.
Step 2. Apply the paste with a nylon brush
You can use a toothbrush or similar tool. Remember to spread the cleaner into the joints and edges to evenly clean the entire floor.
Step 3. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes
You should notice an effervescent reaction generated by the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Wait for the dough to do its job and remove all stains.
Step 4. Rinse the grout with hot or very hot water to remove any residue
Pour a small amount of water directly onto the floor to rinse it.
Be careful when working, as the wet floor is very slippery
Step 5. Use a rag to scrub the grout and remove any dirt
Remove any detergent residue by wiping the floor with a towel. You can place the cloth on the ground and drag it across the surface with both feet or by kneeling on the ground.
Step 6. Finally, wash the floor with clean water
Make sure there are no traces of soap or dirt residue by scrubbing the entire floor with a cotton rag or sponge mop. Rinse it off and change the water often for a satisfying result.
Method 4 of 4: with a Steam Cleaner
Step 1. Rent or buy a steam cleaning machine
This type of tool is very effective for cleaning and sanitizing all types of tiles and joints, as no chemicals are used. You can go to a large DIY store or hardware store to rent or buy a steam cleaner. Check that there are the right accessories to clean the joints:
- A steam hose;
- A small brush as an accessory.
Step 2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to assemble and load the machine
Read them carefully to avoid damaging the cleaner.
Step 3. Fill the tank with clean water according to the instructions in the manual
Do not add chemicals or soap.
Step 4. Turn on the machine and let it warm up
The instruction manual should state the waiting times required before cleaning can be carried out.
Step 5. Scrub the joints with the brush provided
Start on one side of the room and move to the other end. The steam dissolves and lifts the dirt from the joints and kills any type of mold present.
Step 6. Use a cloth or mop to wipe off excess moisture after cleaning
Be very careful, as the floor could be slippery, as the steam condenses into the water on the tiles.
- You should always try a new cleaner or cleaning solution by testing a hidden corner of the floor to make sure it won't damage the grout or tile.
- When using solutions with baking soda or sodium percarbonate, do not prepare more than necessary, as they lose their effectiveness quickly.
- After cleaning the joints, apply a sealant to keep them clean longer.
- Do not use brushes with stiff bristles such as those made of steel or other metals, as this could damage and break the grout of the joints.
- Do not use vinegar on floors made of real marble, granite, travertine or other natural stones, as it could dig the surface and cause permanent damage. The joints of this type of coatings should only be cleaned with products with a neutral pH.