Friday, September 6, 2013

Grout Cleaning - Myth Busters

Ok, that was a long arduous task...and quite disappointing I might add. Maybe I was asking too much? After all, if it's on the internet it must be true. Right?

My travertine bathroom floor gets dirty fast. It gets cleaned but the grout never seems to return to the original color of natural (beige) that it was when we installed it. Granted, it's been 6 years since it went down...but - ok, now that I really stop and think about it, maybe I was asking too much. But it was still a good test.

It's deep clean/purge weekend. I get in these moods and I want to change wall colors, paint furniture, recover things, move furniture around and generally just 'change' things. I like change. I thrive on change. So this morning I thought, 'I need to deep clean the grout on the travertine floors. What's the best way to do that?' So I did what most people do....googled it. And pinterested (is that a word even?) it...cuz you know it's been on there a thousand times. Read all the blogs (well maybe not ALL of them - but it felt like it) and comments and articles and anything else to get a fix on the best products to use. My cleaning list consisted of Oxyclean, Vinegar, baking soda, spray on carpet cleaner and I added my own product Bar Keepers Friend.

So I've just spent the last several hours on my hands and knees cleaning grout lines - each with a different product. Here are my results.

I used Resolve spray on carpet cleaner (the site said to use Woolite - but the store didn't have that brand)

(sorry the photo is upside down)

As you can see the 2 dark dark lines at the bottom were the original grout lines. The 2 lines facing the top are the 'clean' lines. I sprayed the lines and let the cleaner sit for 15-20 minutes. Then I scrubbed the lines with a toothbrush and rinsed clean.

I used OxiClean
I mixed up a paste, poured it on the grout lines and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes it turns into sort of a hardened shell. I scrubbed the lines and rinsed it all clean.

I used straight vinegar
I just took a small container of straight vinegar and applied it to the grout lines. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and scrubbed away. Then I rinsed it clean.

I used straight baking soda
For this line, I mixed a paste of straight baking soda and water. Spread it on the grout line, waited 5-10 minutes, scrubbed the line and rinsed with water.

I used  a combination of baking soda and vinegar
I mixed the baking soda and vinegar together. It fizzes up really cool. Quickly put it on the grout line and waited the requisite 5-10 minutes, scrubbed away and rinsed.

I happened to look under the bathroom cabinet and saw Bar Keepers Friend. We use it on the toilet, tub, sink, and I've used it on the floors too. So I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Just sprinkled it on the grout line, scoured away and rinsed.

And last but not least:
I took a small amount of straight bleach in a little mason jar, applied it with a toothbrush and let it sit. I let it sit for about 15 minutes. Now, to be fair, the grout lines were already clean, just not close enough to the original color as I wanted. So I used bleach after they were cleaned. After the bleach sat for 15 minutes, I scrubbed it with a toothbrush and rinsed it clean. Needless to say, my bathroom floors are spotless!! And sanitized! You could literally eat off of them - although I think I'll pass.

This is the best pic of the results. You can clearly see the 'clean' grout line (bottom right). All of these lines have been cleaned (this pic shows the Resolve, OxiClean, and baking soda). The clean line is bleach.
 Again, the two lines at the top are clean. The bleach one is closest to the original grout color.
These are lines cleaned with baking soda and vinegar mixture and Bar Keepers Friend.
These are the lines I used vinegar on and again Bar Keepers Friend.
The bottom right hand line is the bleached line and the rest have been cleaned using one of the other methods.

My personal findings on this endeavor. Use whatever the heck you have on hand, can get easily, is cheap, etc...cuz it didn't matter what I used they all came out the same.....until I finished up with the bleach. Always finish with bleach!

Happy Cleaning!
Momma Doll


  1. The representative that we had was awesome. Nice friendly manner and done an amazing job on our carpets throughout. Def using your services again… Smells fresh and did a good job on cleaning. The spots aren't completely gone but it was hard to expect it to look brand new

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