Tile grout cleaning paste: It’s easy enough to wipe down tiles, but when it comes to grout …well, it’s porous, which makes it a bit more challenging. Bleach is a common ingredient in store-bought grout cleaners, because white grout tends to be a breeding ground for mold and bleach instantly whitens grout. But bleach is harsh, actually weakens the grout, and the fumes are toxic and suffocating when you’re working in a small space like a shower stall. Oxygen bleach, however, is something totally different and is safe and environmentally-friendly. It will do the job well here. If you don’t keep oxygen bleach powder on hand, our trusty friend baking soda makes an admirable stand-in.
• Oxygen bleach powder, made into paste according to package directions
• Warm water
Make sure your tiles are completely dry. I mean, completely. Dry. Don’t use the shower for at least 48 hours before attempting this or place a fan directly at the tiles for 12 hours, to be sure the grout is dry. Because grout is porous, it’s like a sponge, and if it is full of shower water, it can’t absorb the cleaning mixture. When it’s dry, the cleaning mixture will absorb nicely into all of the grout “pores.” When the grout is thoroughly dry, mix up an oxygen bleach paste and use a grout brush or toothbrush to apply it to the grout. Let sit for at least an hour, making sure the mixture stays wet the entire time. Dab on more or spray with water if necessary to keep the mixture wet and activated.
Then use the brush to thoroughly scrub the grout. Rinse well.
• Baking soda
• Hot water
• 8 ounces hydrogen peroxide
• 10 drops tea tree oil
If using baking soda, make a paste of baking soda and hot water, and apply to the grout with your fingers or a clean toothbrush. Let sit for 30 minutes. In an 8-ounce spray bottle, mix the hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil. Shake well. Spray the grout with the hydrogen peroxide mixture and scrub well, section by section, using a grout brush or the toothbrush you used to apply the paste. Rinse well.
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