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Homemade Grout Cleaner

>> 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, 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!

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