I'm about to share with you something I never thought I would post on the Internet. Something that people would never dream of me sharing. Something that I'm ashamed of....my bathroom grout. (cue slasher horror movie music)
Eeeeeks! My apartment bathrooms are white tiled with white grout...something I've grown to despise. No matter how much I Swiffer, Tilex, Magic Eraser, or Scrubbin' Bubbles the floors, the grout has taken on a grayish tinge that won't go away and looks horrible - even if I know the floor is technically clean because I've used so many chemicals. (While Briana and I believe in eating organic when we can afford it and using natural ingredients like baking soda, lemon, and vinegar to clean in the kitchen...we take no mercy in the bathrooms and aren't afraid of using harsh chemicals to fight the war against poopy germs as I like to call them.) I've tried scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush and also a stiff bristled floor cleaning brush and nothing has worked.
The graying of the grout seems to be common in these apartment bathrooms. Briana likes to remind me of the time she scrubbed my bathroom floor in my old apartment when she lived with me one summer. She says it took a looooooooooooong time and I believed she had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to the bathroom as well. However, I was really appreciative of her efforts and the bathroom looked much better for about 3 months.
My aunt (also Briana's mom) told me about a Shark steam cleaner she used to clean the grout at their vacation home and said she had a lot of success with it, so I headed over to Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon to buy the same brand (although, I'm not sure the same exact model).
|Shark SC650 Deluxe Portable Steam Mop|
Image Source: Bed Bath and Beyond
The Shark SC650 Deluxe Portable Steam Mop comes with a ton of attachments for all sorts of cleaning. Steam kills germs so this makes it not only a cleaning tool but one that sanitizes as well. I was most interested in the attachments that project the steam into crevices - which there was one with and one without a scrubby brush attached to it.
I steamed the tile in the bathrooms on two different Saturdays to make sure
I wouldn't kill someone I would have enough time. The picture above is of our master bathroom floor prior to any cleaning whatsoever (I probably should have put a warning label to finish any snacks before reading this article...oopsies). I started off by dry Swiffering the floor to pick up any dust and hair (I shed like a golden retriever). Then I heated up the steamer (using distilled water) and used the crevice tool (no brush) to start steaming the grout a few tiles at a time. My aunt had warned me not to try to steam big sections and then clean up the water and dirt, because it would settle back into the grout if too much time passed. So, I followed behind the tiles, mopping up excess water and dirt with a microfiber towel/shammy (I bought them a few years ago from Target in the automotive section) and also making sure to push the towel into the grout to push out the dirt. I worked from the tub back to the door, doing no more than three tiles at a time. I cleaned one bathroom and most of the second one this way before trying the crevice tool with brush. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had started with that brush. The rest of the tile cleaning went much quicker and had the same results, but I still had to use the shammy to push out the dirt. I should note that about halfway through I had a sudden thought that maybe it was the towel and not the steam cleaner and I tried a few tiles with just the towel. It did get the dirt up, but not entirely and I had to use a lot more force. The steam must help loosen up the gunk enough to be scrubbed out. Here's a picture showing the results. Notice the top tiles are much whiter than the bottom tiles.
It took me about an hour and a half to do one bathroom and my bathrooms are small. Overall, the floor looked like this when I was done:
After using the steamer, I also figured out which tiles were actually stained or had old discolored grout and just couldn't be cleaned. Those would to be regrouted or re-colored. Neither of which I plan to partake in since this is a rental.
I'm really happy with the results, but I'd prefer not to spend my Saturdays
All in all, I recommend the Shark portable steamer. Although cleaning the floors wasn't scrub-free, I actually saw results for my efforts in comparison to all the other tactics I have tried. I also had many thoughts about future home ownership and my time with the tile has solidified my decision to only use grey grout in any future bathrooms that I actually own as opposed to rent...or just ditch the tile altogether and go for hardwood or bamboo. Has anyone else had any luck with their grout? Share below in the comments section!