Dirt or damage? The ultimate guide to cleaning tile and grout

When the tiles in your kitchen, bathroom, or hallway are dirty, it brings down the vibe in the rest of your home. On the other hand, cleaning can make ceramic, porcelain and stone look new again, brightening the entire atmosphere.

However, the popular opinion we’re met with is: if there’s one thing worse than dirty tile and grout, it’s the thought of cleaning tile and grout

As clean freaks, we can’t really identify with this sentiment, though we realize that it can be frustrating to spend ages on your hands and knees, scrubbing the floor – especially when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. And maybe you’re not.

It can be really hard to tell the difference between a dirty floor and a damaged floor. Luckily, we’re here to help you deal with both.

Read on to learn how to tell if your floors are dirty or damaged, and what you can do to get rid of that dingy finish.

The difference between dirt and damage


While ceramic, porcelain, and stone materials are fairly durable, they’re still porous. A combination of soil, dust, bacteria, oil and grease can cause them to look dirty and discolored over time.

Thorough cleaning will tackle the dirt and restore them to their bright and shining beauty.

Damage can look a lot like dirt at first. It occurs when the seal on your tiles or grout is affected, allowing dirt to get underneath the protective surface and stain the vulnerable layers of the ceramic, porcelain, or stone.

You’ll know it’s damage when no amount of scrubbing will improve the appearance – professional treatment is needed to tackle the dirt beneath the surface layers and restore the appearance of your tiles and grout.

How to clean your tiles and grout

tile & groutWe won’t deny it – cleaning tile and grout is something that takes effort but has a huge payoff. Doing it every few weeks will prevent your floor from collecting a buildup of dirt, making it easier to keep clean over the long term.

The best cleaning method involves good old soap and hot water. If this doesn’t work, you can try a combo of white vinegar, baking soda, and water on ceramic and porcelain – don’t use this (or any other acidic products) on natural stone, as it is more sensitive to damage and discoloration.

Before you use vinegar on your porcelain or ceramic tiles, test the sealant – put a drop of water on a dry spot. If you notice the color has changed, that means your sealant has deteriorated and you shouldn’t use vinegar or any other acidic products on it.

When cleaning your tile and grout, tackle a small section at a time and follow these steps:

  1. Vacuum the entire floor, to get rid of surface dust and dirt.
  2. Wipe down the area you’re working on with hot water.
  3. Apply your soap or vinegar mixture to the area.
  4. Let the cleaning solution stand for 5-10 minutes (while you wait, you can move onto step 2 on the next area).
  5. Scrub the tiles and grout with a small, soft-bristled brush – a toothbrush can work well to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  6. Rinse the area clean again with clean hot water.

At least once a year, you should bring in the pros – our specialized equipment will thoroughly rinse out tile and grout, getting deep into porous areas that are very hard to reach by hand. Resealing should also be done regularly, to maintain the quality and brightness of your tiles and grout.

How to address damaged tiles and grout

tile & groutAll that rigorous scrubbing and your floors still look dirty? There’s nothing more frustrating than damaged tiles and grout.

Off-the-shelf products may claim to remove stains, but they’ll likely damage the internal layers of your tiles, making them more susceptible to future staining and breakage. The only way to improve the appearance and maintain the quality of your floors is through professional restoration.

Our team will hand-apply effective, planet-friendly cleansers to the damaged areas, brightening dingy spots and removing as much of the stain as possible. We can also reseal your tiles and grout, to prevent future damage.

We know that cleaning tile and grout tends to be one of the dreaded items on your to-do list – but the more frequently you tick it off, the easier it will be. If you need help getting your floors back to their bright-and-shiny appearance, get in touch to book a tile and grout cleaning service and let us take care of the hard work for you.

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