To avoid water damage to walls, floors and ceilings below, it is important to properly maintain your bathroom tiles. As a design build remodeling contractor serving the Virginia, Maryland and DC area, we like to help our clients with home maintenance ideas. With a bit of precautionary work, you can keep your tiles adhered securely and your bathroom looking clean and new for years to come.
Cleaning Tile and Grout
- If soap scum, mildew or a rough, white coating has built up on your bathroom tiles, a special cleaning may be needed.
- To loosen up this layer, run a hot shower for five minutes to allow the steam to penetrate the dirt before cleaning.
- Then, dissolve it with a commercial tile cleaner or a solution of vinegar and water and wipe clean.
- To keep white grout joints clean, wash with a heavy-duty all-purpose cleaning solution with bleach or a solution of two tablespoons chlorine bleach in one quart of water.
- For colored grout, use non-chlorine bleach or a commercial grout cleaner, testing your cleaner in an inconspicuous area.
- Using the stiff, non-wire scrub brush or a grout brush, thoroughly scrub grout lines and surfaces.
- Use a sponge to rinse the surface with clear water to remove the solution.
- If your grout is just too stained or cracked to clean or repair, you’ll have to replace it.
- Wearing safety glasses cut away old loose grout and caulking compound. You may use a utility knife or a small “grout saw,” made for this purpose, to cut away any cracked or loose grout and to score stable grout.
- Vacuum or brush dust and dirt from grout lines, being careful not to scratch the tub’s finish.
- Buy a mildew-resistant grout to match the existing grout color. Some come premixed, but with most you just follow the manufacturer’s mixing instructions. You might want to mix only a small batch, so you have time to work with the materials before they dry.
- Work the grout into the joints with a rubber grout float, or if you are only repairing a small area, use your finger.
- Allow the grout to set up slightly. With a damp sponge, wipe off excess from the surface of the tile, then allow to dry for several days.
- As a preventative measure, you should renew caulking around tubs and sinks annually.
- If you haven’t already done so, use a utility knife to cut the seal and pull away all old caulk from the joint. Clean out the crevice thoroughly to insure good adhesion of the new caulking compound.
- Apply a smooth, even bead of high-quality silicone tub-and-tile caulk around the sink bowl or bathtub’s perimeter. Holding the caulking tube at an angle, draw it along the crack, applying a single bead about the size of a pencil (avoid doubling back over the bead). Be sure to completely fill the crack.
- Smooth out the bead with your finger, then carefully wipe off excess with a damp rag. Allow the caulk to dry.
- To keep your bathroom looking fresh, it’s recommended that you apply a sealant over clean, well-maintained caulk and grout each year.
- Apply one to three coats of commercial grout sealer with a small brush or paintbrush over the whole tile area within your bath and tub area.
- Let dry for 24 hours.