There are very few people in this world who enjoy cleaning grout, but you'll enjoy it even less if you make one or more of the common mistakes people commit when completing the job. Grout seems to be a relatively tough material, which means that many people don't understand just how vital it is to treat it correctly during cleaning.
Here are just four mistakes that you want to avoid making.
1. Using Bleach
Grouting is often quite hard to get clean. At this point, it's easy to reach for bleach, which is still viewed as a kind of all-purpose, heavy-duty cleaner. Unfortunately, using bleach will only cause more damage. Firstly, the fact that bleach is so reactive will often mean that it destroys the protecting coating of your tiles and the protective sealant of your grouting. This will happen slowly, but it will happen. You may also notice that your grout begins to lose its colour. Finally, bleach is corrosive to metals, and it's easy to accidently get some on a nearby fixture when you're cleaning grout in the bathroom.
2. Not Thinking About the Tiles
One of the most common mistakes that people make when cleaning their grout is failing to think about the surrounding tiles. Different materials demand different cleaning agents, and using the wrong ones can be very problematic. Granite and marble, for example, will react poorly to the same kind of cleaners you could use on a ceramic or artificial surface.
3. Using an Acid-Based Cleaning Agent
Cleaners are either alkaline-based or acid-based. When you're dealing with grouting, it's far better to use an alkaline cleaner. Grout is mostly made using cement and sand. Sand is generally non-reactive, but cement is dissolved by acids. If you use an acidic cleaning agent on your grout, such as one with a high content of vinegar, you're going to damage it and prevent it from properly doing its job.
4. Using Something Too Abrasive
Given that grout is so rough, and often quite hard to get clean, many homeowners will resort to using a very abrasive scrubbing power or else a material like steel wool. This might work on the grouting, though it will probably take off some of the surface, but it's likely to cause extensive damage to the surrounding tile. Over time, you will probably notice that the edges of the tile that meet the grout become discoloured and worn.