>> Saturday, August 27, 2011
Undoubtedly, this is not the most exciting post ever. I realize that, but I wanted to share it with you anyways.
As you might know from reading this blog, I had a baby about 4 weeks ago. During this recovery time, I have watched WAY too much HGTV and DIY Network. My project to-do list is growing longer by the day.
After discussing possible projects with my husband, I took a "research" trip to Lowe's and Home Depot. My plan wasn't to purchase anything, but to check out a few options for different projects and try and figure out some pricing to see what we could tackle and when.
One of the projects I would like to do is to tile my backspalsh in the kitchen. While in the tile aisle (BTW, I didn't find anything I liked at either store...boo), I realized that our kitchen floor grout was getting pretty gross. So, I picked up a bottle of heavy-duty grout cleaner and another bottle of general tile cleaner and light sealer.
I continued on to a couple different departments to price things out and then made my way to the checkout. And then...the checkout lady gave me the total...$16 for the two little bottles! Yikes! Plus there was a warning on the heavy-duty grout cleaner about prolonged exposure to the fumes. Definitely not something I wanted in the house with a newborn.
So, I came home and promptly googled "Homemade grout cleaner". Up popped a cool article that gave several ideas depending on your tile material and how dirty things were. Our floors are a natural stone, so I decided to go with the most mild suggestion: baking soda and water. Brilliant...because baking soda costs less than a buck!
Here's my before photo...the grout started originally the same color as the tile. Ew.
The recipe calls for 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part of water. Depending on how big of an area you need to clean, I suggest starting out with 1 cup of baking soda to 1/3 cup of water and test to make sure this is going to work for you. Here is the baking soda and water mixture.
Here's the fun part. I used a tooth brush to put this on the grout lines. The boys enjoyed helping me for all of 2 minutes and I got stuck with the rest of the job.
The article says to leave on the baking soda for 10 minutes and then rinse clean. But I have 3 kids to take care of, so the baking soda stayed on for about 45 minutes until I could get back to it. But that just makes it cleaner, right?! I figured it wouldn't hurt at least, so I didn't worry about it. When I did get back to remove it, I used the toothbrush to scrub the lines again. And guess what? It works!! Here's a shot where I used the baking soda mixture on the right but nothing on the left. What a difference!
And here you can see I used the baking soda on the bottom half but not the top half.
The only downside of this project is that I had to mop twice after finishing each section. We have a commercial mop bucket and mop (like they had at McDonald's, for example), so maybe it was the fact I used that and wasn't on my hands and knees scrubbing. Not sure, but after mopping once, the tile still felt "gritty" from the baking soda, so I had to do it all again. Considering the alternative of using the expensive, toxic-fumed stuff, this didn't bother me.
We have this tile in our kitchen, dining room, hall, 1/2 bath and entry way. So needless to say, this wasn't a quick project. I'm in the process now of finishing up the entry way area and then I will be done (YAY!). Next on the to-do list is find a block of time long enough that I can mop and re-seal everything!