Bathrooms are by their very nature, warm and damp places so it is important that when you decorate that you use suitable materials that are designed for bathrooms. Bathroom tiles look fantastic when they are newly installed however, over time the grouting can begin to look a bit grubby or mouldy and it really spoils the look. Do not despair, the grouting can be cleaned and this will restore it to its former glory.
If your tiles are cleaned regularly they will remain looking smart for a good long time but even the most diligent cleaner will notice the odd speckle or stain that does not come out with regular cleaning. Unfortunately if these are left, they will become worse and spread. Mildew and mould are common problems in the tile grout and if left for a long time, can become an impossible task to clean. There are many bathroom cleaning products that are suitable for cleaning the grout but do take a little time to read the blurb on the bottle to make sure. Before you begin cleaning, open the windows so that you have good airflow. Use a stiff bristle brush, a nail scrubbing brush or even an old tooth brush is ideal. It is best not to use a sponge or a cloth as these will just wipe the surface and not remove all the mould. Make sure you wear a pair of household rubber gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals in the cleaner.
Of course you may prefer not to use chemical cleaners at all and there is a marvellous old fashioned remedy for you and that is bicarbonate of soda. Just mix the powder with a little bit of water so that you have a paste, then apply the paste to the brush and begin. Whether you use the chemical bathroom cleaner or the soda bic, try not to be too vigorous in your scrubbing action, after all, you do not want to remove the grouting! Work on small areas at a time so that you get each section completely clean before moving onto the next one. Remember to rinse well with plenty of hot water whether you are using a proprietary cleaner or the bicarbonate of soda.
When you have finished cleaning the tile grout, you might consider giving it a wipe over with a mild bleach solution which will kill off any bacteria or mould spores which may have been left. Doing this will keep your grouting cleaner for a bit longer and make it more difficult for the mildew and mould to take hold again. It is a time consuming job but is well worth the effort and let’s face it, it’s better than having to re-grout the whole tiled area.
Go nuts on lurking germs with these bacteria-targeting tricks that work.
According to University of Arizona professor of microbiology Charles Gerba, who has conducted many studies of household bacteria, pretty darn gross. With supereffective tactics from Aggie MacKenzie, a coauthor of How Clean Is Your House?—and with Gerba’s gory details to spur you on—you can clobber germs like never before. Whether you divvy up your antibacterial blitz into small sessions or complete it in one fell swoop, implementing these habits every couple of months will be like flushing your worries down the…well, you know.
What to do: Take it from the top: Pour an ample amount of white vinegar into a plastic grocery bag (enough to fully submerge the showerhead nozzle) and tie it in place for an overnight soaking. Remove it in the morning and run the water to rinse. Give plastic shower curtains and liners a spin in the washing machine with your regular detergent and a few old towels, which act as scrubbers to help get rid of soap scum and mildew. Rehang to dry. For shower doors, make a paste by adding a few drops of distilled white vinegar to a cup of baking soda; apply it directly to the door (it’s nice and thick, so it will stick). Let sit for an hour, then rub with a microfiber cloth. Rinse and buff dry with a fresh, dry microfiber cloth. The tub is less of an issue—a weekly scrubbing is usually enough. But for extra gleam, fill it with hot water, then drain. Apply a bathroom cleaner and let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing.
Why: Besides the soap-scum issue, there’s the showerhead, which can harbor Mycobacterium avium, a pathogen linked to pulmonary disease. Gerba says that turning on a neglected shower can send millions of germs straight into your lungs.
Best practices: Wipe condensation from all surfaces after showering, and leave the window open for one hour a day to lower the room’s humidity level.
What to do: Dip a grout brush in straight bleach and scrub any discolored areas; rinse well. Be sure to ventilate the room.
Why: Grout is porous and highly susceptible to bacteria growth.
Best practice: Seal grout every six months to help prevent moisture and grime from infiltrating (try DuPont Advanced Grout Sealer; $15
What to do: Spray tile, countertops, walls, and the ceiling with all-purpose cleaner and turn on the shower, cranking the hot water until steam builds (about five minutes). Turn off the water, shut the door on your way out, and let the steam and the cleaner mix for 20 minutes. Then wipe down all surfaces with a clean cloth. To reach high spots, use a clean, dry microfiber mop. Wipe the tile floor, too, but only after you’ve finished the rest of the dirty work.
Why: Soaps, along with the dirt and the skin cells they slough off, leave behind a microscopic film.
Best practices: To minimize water marks on ceramic tile, apply a coat of car wax once a year. Water will bead up and roll off. Mildew-resistant paint can also help on untiled walls and ceilings.
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