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Thread: Cleaning really dirty grout and tile

  1. #1
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    Question Cleaning really dirty grout and tile

    It wasn't until we moved in to the new house that we realized how filthy the grout and tile are. Something about the sparkling white areas where she had rugs or furniture in contrast with the rest of the floor! Truly, we thought the tile was sort of multi-colored neutral and the grout was brown. Turns out they're both white.

    So, I have about 1600 square feet of tile and grout to clean. Have any of you had experience with having them professionally steam cleaned? Or is there some product I can use that would do an excellent job with a reasonable amount of work? I don't even know where to start!

  2. #2
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    I had one contractor recommend sanding down the grout and putting in new - use a dremel type tool and then just regrout. He even said that sometimes sanding off a thin layer is enough without the regrouting. Then be sure to seal the stuff so you don't have this problem again!

    No idea on the tile though. I'd go after it with a bucket of bleach.
    Your actions speak so loudly I can hardly hear you - Henry David Thoreau

  3. #3
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    I had tenants leave a white tile floor an unappealing shade of grey before -- we took Comet and a scrub brush to it, but I can't say that was the best way to tackle the problem. Fortunatley, it was only a small bathroom floor.

    In a larger area, we used Clorox Clean up sprayed onto the grout and cheap toothbrushes to clean the grout -- the tile was fine. You do have to wipe up what you scrub off or it will settle back intot he grout. Again, it is effective, but it is tough and slow work. If ou have the tile to deal with also, that's not the way to go.

    For that much area, I would consider buying or renting a buffer with pads that can be used for cleaning tile or having it professionally done. Oreck sells them and they are good on tile, hardwoods -- any flooring depending on the pads you use -- they even use it on carpet with the dry powder cleaner and a terry pad. You could even start with one of those flooring cleaners that wash and dry -- the one that flips over or something like that.

    If the grout has to be scraped down, you can do it with a power tool like a Dremmel (be careful not to mess up the tile) or you can buy a grout remover -- a pointed end hand tool for about $4. You use that to scrape out the stained grout and then apply fresh grout over the top. It's a painstaking process anyway you go about it, but it will be worth it if you plan on keeping the floor and seal it when you are done.

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    What is that acid stuff that people used to clean pools with? I remember hearing someone talk about using it on grout with open windows and lots of fans running. Sorry I don't know the name of it, but maybe someone does.
    Margaret

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    The pool acid stuff is Muriatic Acid. Personally I wouldn't use it, I have splashed a very small amount on my foot and it burned like H E double L.

    From someone who spent almost 7 hrs on their hands and knees scrubbing the grout and tile in my kitchen I will NEVER do it again. My back and knees hurt for 2 days, my hands ached... need I whine more and I think a professional would have done better.

    Next time I will call and have someone come out and steam clean.


    Should have taken my Girlfriends advise

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    I wouldn't use muriatic acid indoors either. It is potent, burns and can damage your airways and eyes. I have gotten a slight burn on the back of my throat from opening a jug too close to my face. I can't imagine working cloe over it for hours.

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    What? No definitive answers? If you guys can't help me, who can?

    I tend to have a severe respiratory reaction to bleach--causes major asthma problems--so I can't do that. I've acid-washed a pool before, and really don't want to use that inside my house.

    My MIL has a friend with a Eureka Deluxe Enviro steamer, which she swears by for grout cleaning. However, I don't know if she had grout this dirty. However, I'm playing with the idea of getting a steamer that can do both carpet and bare surfaces, as the nearly-white carpets will probably also need fairly frequent cleaning. I spent 5 hours yesterday looking around town for the Enviro steamer with no success. My thought was that I could buy it, and return it if it really didn't work.

    Any other ideas, thoughts, advice?

  8. #8
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    there are companies that do just that....I think the Grout Doctor is one around here. with 1600 sq ft, I think it would be at least worth checking around to see what the price is....and if its too expensive, maybe they can recommend some good cleansers/methods.

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    I am hoping you choose a professional, or get one of those good steamers since I am in the same dillemma, I have about 2000 sf if tile in need of cleaning. its only 3 years old but my kitchen has gotten quite dirty. My carpet cleaning service now offers professional tile/grout cleaning an dsealing, but not sure if I want to spend the $$ so I would like feedack on having it done.

    from personal experience of past cleaning of small areas, its a pain! both clorox and comet work well, but the fumes of bleach is a killer even in small areas. (and I dont think you want to be onyour hands and knees wiht that much area and a scrub brush.

    So I really think you need a professional or try one of those enviro steamers. there was a thread awhile back on this and I think those steamers got great recommendations. I borrowed one of those handheld steamers (a sansounci?) that are sold on informercials on that did not work at all.

    laurie

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    So would most of you recommend NOT putting grouted tile in a new house if you were building? We're making those kinds of decisions right now. I hate grout and always have, and am glad it's not the hot thing right now. What about in bathrooms only? I would think the grout in there wouldn't get as dirty as in a kitchen area. Any opinions on that?
    Margaret

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    I chose tile and grout because it was more practical for our lifestyle of dogs. I almost went to a teraazo tile that has very small grout lines, but it was a lot more and I was doing a huge area. I did hair and paw print tests,to see what type of tile showed the least. if I didnt have the dogs and DH dirtying the floors I would have probably went with laminate or wood. I also think that would have mad e big diffeerence startng out is getting one of those floormates. think just sponge mopping really doesnt get the grout clean. I had it professionally sealed for stains but the grout in the high traffic areas get dirty.

    jazzmatazz as for bathrooms they still get dirty, I would choose a marble looking tile that you do with minimal grout lines, vs the more old world looking of tiles that look nice with the wide grouts lines but are a pain to to keep clean.

    Lauire

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    The tile and grout aren't the problem--it's the white tile and grout that make it a problem in this house. The house we just sold had a beautiful mottled taupe and gray tile with 1/8" deep gray grout. Neither the tile nor the grout showed anything after two years. I absolutely loved the look of that and wish I had it here. So, Jazzmatazz, I'd go wholeheartedly for tile, as long as it isn't a solid color, doesn't have wide grout lines, and doesn't have white grout.

    I got a quote from Grout Doctor--over $600. I think Stanley Steemer (based on the online estimator) would do carpets, tile, and grout for $450. I've looked everywhere that sells vacuums except Wal-Mart and a local electronics store and STILL haven't found a local source for the Enviro steamer. I don't want to buy it online, because I want an easy return if it doesn't work. So, I'm still working through this one.

  13. #13

    Outline of Grout

    We have recently tested a steam cleaner on our white tiled floor. The grout cleaning attachment did a great job on the grout line but also managed to clean outside the line of the grout (roughly 5mm either side). This has left the outside of the tiles looking extremely white. The other attachments for the steam cleaner do not clean the rest of the tile nearly as well, and as a result we now have a tile that looks to have a 5mm white border. The result is worse then the tiles before! can anyone help with a solution to cleaning the rest of the tile avoid such an obvious contrast. Baring in mind we have 200 square metres of flooring to clean!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzmatazz49 View Post
    So would most of you recommend NOT putting grouted tile in a new house if you were building? We're making those kinds of decisions right now. I hate grout and always have, and am glad it's not the hot thing right now. What about in bathrooms only? I would think the grout in there wouldn't get as dirty as in a kitchen area. Any opinions on that?
    We chose medium dark tile with dark grout for the kitchen/dining area and one bath with shower. No problem after three years. Did same thing with kitchen/dining area in former house, still looked GREAT after 14 years. I have light tile with medium light grout...No problems after three years. And we have a really TIGHT house, where one would think mold in bathrooms might be a problem. Not even that. I think you would love tile. Good luck with what you decide.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jmarie View Post
    We chose medium dark tile with dark grout for the kitchen/dining area and one bath with shower. No problem after three years. Did same thing with kitchen/dining area in former house, still looked GREAT after 14 years. I have light tile with medium light grout...No problems after three years. And we have a really TIGHT house, where one would think mold in bathrooms might be a problem. Not even that. I think you would love tile. Good luck with what you decide.
    The post you quoted is 8 years old...

  16. #16
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    Dagnabit! I usually check. Thanks for letting me know so I will be more alert next time!
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm New Here View Post
    The post you quoted is 8 years old...
    It doesn't necessarily look like spam to me. Seems the poster is asking for a solution and not trying to rack up posts to sell something or drive us to a website. Of course I could be wrong, but until it's more obvious I would give mousej91 the benefit of the doubt on this one. Could be a long time lurker that's witnessed many a new poster being chastised for not doing a search to see if a previous discussion exists.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by mcgee View Post
    It doesn't necessarily look like spam to me. Seems the poster is asking for a solution and not trying to rack up posts to sell something or drive us to a website. Of course I could be wrong, but until it's more obvious I would give mousej91 the benefit of the doubt on this one. Could be a long time lurker that's witnessed many a new poster being chastised for not doing a search to see if a previous discussion exists.
    I don't know why I was quoted. I didn't mention anything about spam or trying to rack up posts to sell something. The reply was about choosing tile, and I'm sure the OP chose the tile a while ago.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm New Here View Post
    I don't know why I was quoted. I didn't mention anything about spam or trying to rack up posts to sell something. The reply was about choosing tile, and I'm sure the OP chose the tile a while ago.
    And that is what I was responding to, the question asked by Jazzmatazz49. I usually look to see how old a new thread is, because there really isn't any use in responding to something I may have already responded to, or answer a question that is no longer relevant. That was the case today.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm New Here View Post
    I don't know why I was quoted. I didn't mention anything about spam or trying to rack up posts to sell something. The reply was about choosing tile, and I'm sure the OP chose the tile a while ago.
    Oops - my bad - I didn't even realize Jmarie was responding to the original post although it was plain as day

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixie View Post
    there are companies that do just that....I think the Grout Doctor is one around here. with 1600 sq ft, I think it would be at least worth checking around to see what the price is....and if its too expensive, maybe they can recommend some good cleansers/methods.
    I have a friend who has a Grout Doctor franchise here and I would recommend him and the business to others. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a professional come out and give a quote...lots less work and headache...and some things are best left to others unless you really have a burning desire to do it yourself
    EmptyNestMom
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    FWIW, I did end up having professionals come in and clean it. They did a great job and got it much cleaner than I ever could have. It was amazing to look at it when they were half way through and see the difference in the cleaned vs. uncleaned tile!
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

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    For recipes only, visit the companion blog: Cooked Up.

  23. #23
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    OK, I have to admit...I didn't realize this was almost 10 year old post! I have to plead to being a not so very observant person! Glad you had the floors cleaned by a professional, it was easier on you!
    EmptyNestMom
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    "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." – Julia Child

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