Grout is a mixture of water, sand, and cement which is placed between ceramic tiles to hold them in place. At its best, it is usually an off white color, but as dirt settles into the shallow depressions where the grout is set, it can darken to a brown or even black color. Therefore, even as people look at and decide to do tile cleaning, it is important to think about grout cleaning as well.
Grout maintenance is very similar to tile floor cleaning and maintenance. When you sweep the broom over the floor, make sure that you are angling the broom to sweep dirt out of the grout lines. This will not equal a deep cleaning but it will reduce the amount of debris that piles up on top of the grout. The easiest way to do this is to sweep the broom from side to side, so the bristles will push the dirt out, and onto the tiles, where it can be gently swept into a dustpan.
Comprehensive Grout Cleaning
For a more thorough grout cleaning you can mix a special solution designed to work on restoring the grout to its original coloring. These can be bought at a store and easily used by anyone. One good choice is to buy some oxygenated bleach. This comes in a powder and is dissolved in water, and then the oxygenated bleach will break down the dirt because it works great at stain removal. Hydrogen peroxide is another non-toxic cleaner, and many people have that in their first aid kits. It is all natural and safe to touch. You can also buy a commercial grout cleaner but check the chemicals and the instructions as some of these may be toxic.
When you have mixed your chosen solution, you can scrub it into the grout using a mop or pour it gently into the cracks, but either way, you need to make sure that the grout is completely saturated. Since it is a porous substance the solution should soak in on contact. Each type of solution will have slightly different needs. Read the chemical label for instructions on time, and for the oxygenated bleach, you will have to reapply after it has soaked in the first time. After the time is up, scrub it clean using either an old toothbrush or a grout brush to clear away the dirt. It should come off easily. Finally, run a clean mop over the tiles to really clear it of the mess. When finished, the grout should look shiny and new. Sometimes these steps have to happen twice.