How To Clean Unsealed Grout – A Guide With Easy Methods, And Tips

We are sure that any of us has more than once wondered how to clean unsealed grout of floor tiles, as many homeowners prefer using tiles for their home decoration. 

Overall, tiles have many benefits: there are various options of tile floor to choose from, ranging from size, shape, color, to finish. They are also pretty easy to clean. However, grout lines, which help connect and stabilize the tiles, can be difficult to clean.

Worry no more, though, because we will show you effective methods to get rid of those annoying stains on unsealed grout.

Why Does Unsealed Grout Get Dirty

Before we get to know how to clean unsealed grout, we have to know the whys first. Generally, grout is made by mixing water, sand, and cement. There are two types of grout: white and colored, though we often see white grout more. 

Because of their ingredients, unsealed grout is porous and full of microscopic holes. When you wipe the tiles, some of the remaining dirt and grime will fall into these holes and dirty the grout lines over time. And dirty, unsealed grout means ugly-looking tile floor.

Another reason why your unsealed grout looks unclean is mold. Places that are dark and have high moisture percentages like bathroom and kitchen corners are ideal for mold to grow in. Molds can be harmful to our health, not to mention they are slippery.

Common Tools to Clean Unsealed Grout

Now that you know why the unsealed grout of your tile floor is dirty and the importance of tidying them, let’s move on to the common (and necessary) tools that help get rid of those annoying stains. You will need:

  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Brush
  • Some cleaning solutions: ammonia or bleach or baking soda and vinegar, etc.

For more stubborn grime and molds, you can use:

  • An old toothbrush: it’s small and has soft bristles to fit in the unsealed grout lines. 
  • A chisel tool: you can use a chisel to scrape away the dirt and molds stuck to the grout.

There is also a tool created specifically for cleaning grout lines, called a grout brush. It usually comes in small sizes, with nylon bristles.

How to Clean Unsealed Grout

Image by nccmrm97

The basic of cleaning unsealed grout is to loosen, then extract the dirt, stains, and mold stuck on the grout lines. Below are some of the most useful methods that we have tested. Check them out:

#1: Using Lemon Juice

Pour lemon juice onto the unsealed grout lines and wait for 15-20 minutes. Then scrub the grout using a toothbrush. Finish off by rinsing the grout lines with water and wiping them dry with a towel. 

The acid in lemon can be considered a natural cleaner as it can erase the stains and grime and slightly bleach the area where it’s used on. Please note that, as a natural substance, it can be less effective than other methods using chemicals.

#2: The Old-school Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture

This one is another natural method. It also helps deodorize the unsealed grout lines. Start by sprinkle baking soda onto the grout, then spray on the vinegar. Wait until the mixture stops bubbling, then use a brush to scrub off the stains. Don’t forget to rinse everything with water.

However, you must be careful because the vinegar might affect the grout line and natural stone tiles.

#3: Bleach

Many people opt for bleach to clean unsealed grout, hand I think this is the simplest, most effective method. 

All you need to do is find a brush, dip it into bleach, then use it to scrub the grout lines. After that, rinse the area with water. You can dab a towel on the unsealed grout lines to clean off any remaining bleach and dry them faster.

If you are planning on using bleach, I strongly advise you use safety gear (goggles, gloves, etc.) so that bleach doesn’t get on your skin. Also, keep the cleaning area ventilated to avoid breathing in the toxic fume of bleach.

#4: Ammonia

Not only can this chemical eliminate the annoying grimes and stains of the unsealed grout, but it can also disinfect your floor tiles.

For this method, you will need to mix one-part ammonia with one part of water. Dip your cleaning tool into the mixture then use it to scrub the grout lines. To finish off, rinse the area with water and let it dry completely.

Ammonia, just like bleach, is a dangerous chemical, so make sure to apply safety measures like you do with bleach.

One very important thing: never mix ammonia with bleach. Fumes created by this mixture are highly toxic to humans.

#5: Steam Your Floor Tiles

In other words, use a steam cleaner to clean unsealed grout. This is a highly effective method, and much less dangerous than the two previous methods. The only problem is that you will need to purchase a steam cleaner.

First of all, fill the steam cleaner’s water container, plug it in, and wait for it to heat up completely. This process usually takes about 5 minutes.

When it’s ready, apply the steam cleaner onto the unsealed grout and press the trigger to release the steam. Scrub the grout lines with the steam cleaner’s brush, then rinse off the dirt, molds, and gunk that comes out.

Helpful Tips

We know keeping your unsealed grout clean sounds like an impossible task. Hopefully, the following tips can make that task a bit easier for you.

  • Try to keep clean: people always say “Prevention is better than cure”, so it’s best if you can clean up any stains, mud, and dirt the moment they appear on the tiles. 
  • Always test first: before using a new cleaning method, you should try it on a few spots first to make sure that method works and doesn’t damage your floor and/or grout lines.
  • No hard tools: Cleaning tools with wire or steel bristles make the scrubbing process easier, but they can break the grout, so I don’t suggest using them.

Final Thought

If you have come to this point in the article, then we are sure that you have got an idea or two about how to clean unsealed grout. The cleaning process can involve chemicals and a lot of scrubbing, but trust us, nothing beats the satisfaction of once again having a clear, spotless tile floor and white-as-new grout lines.

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