Accumulation of dirt and soap scum on your shower tiles is not a pleasant sight. Add to that growth of mildew and mold and you have a real tile and grout cleaning challenge.
Shower tile and grout are different materials on which dirt and soap scum accumulate.
Tiles are typically made of ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone such as travertine which normally have a smooth and hardened surface. While dirt and soap scum may accumulate on tile surfaces they do not normally penetrate the tile. Grout on the other hand is a porous material that can retain moisture allowing water and soap stains to develop. Heat and humidity in the bathroom combined with soap and skin cells in the shower creates a perfect condition for growth of mold and mildew that can penetrate the porous grout.
For everyday cleaning and maintenance, there are many products available for tile and grout that range from simple and nontoxic products to heavy-duty cleaners and strong chemicals. You may want to begin cleaning with less toxic products before using the stronger cleaning products. Please be aware that acid based cleaners can "etch" the surface of natural stone and should be used with great care. Below are some suggestions:
- Vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water
- Baking soda made into a paste with water, used to scrub tile and grout surfaces
- Vinegar and baking soda combined for a “chemical” scrubbing compound
- Steam cleaners that use heat to remove dirt and staining
- Calcium carbonate based granular cleaners that are environmentally friendly but require scrubbing
- Commercial tile and grout cleaners, oxygen powder or chlorine bleach
- Heavy-duty or janitorial grade cleaners that must be used carefully
It is important to remember that for any of these products to be effective the cleaning action needs to penetrate the outer layer of soap scum that seals in dirt. Remember- acidic cleaners must be used carefully on natural stone and grout as they may etch the surface or possibly deteriorate the grout. To use the more harsh chemicals safely you will need to carefully follow label instructions. If cleaning does not entirely remove the mold and mildew from the grout then you may need to hire a professional to have the surface of the grout removed and reapplied or provide remediation services if necessary.
Preventative steps you can take to help keep your tile and grout clean include:
- Apply a good sealant to clean grout and then reapply once a year
- Remove moisture from the bathroom with a good exhaust fan
- Wipe the shower walls down after each use
- Leave the shower door open between showers
Tile and grout cleaning can be a tough job. Hiring a professional company with truck mounted hot water extraction units, specialized equipment and cleaning products can make the difference in making your tile and grout look like new! The professionals at CBC Cleaning and Restoration would be happy to provide you with a free in-home estimate. Contact us today at 661-294-2221.