Is Bleach Bad for Grout – Signs of Damage + How to Use It

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Grout becomes stained and even discolored over time. No matter how often you mop or clean them, it’s quite hard turning them as shining and bright as they were before. While some cleaning agents like vinegar, acetone, ammonia solution, alcohol, and baking powder have been proven safe for grout cleaning, there is a continued debate about the safety of bleaching agents when it comes to cleaning grout. But is it good for grout? Are bleaching agents safe for use on grout?

Generally speaking, bleach is bad for grout. While bleaching does a good job in removing tough stains on grout, there are there any reasons why you might not want to clean grout using bleach. One of the active ingredients in bleach – sodium hypochlorite—can weaken grout and make discolored grout fade. 

In addition to being bad for grout, bleaching agents are associated with many health issues such as eye and skin irritation and asthma. That said, there are better options that you might consider when cleaning grout. For instance,

Is Bleach Bad for Cleaning Grout?

Bleach is bad for cleaning grout for many reasons. Bleaching agents can get absorbed into the colored grout causing discoloration. They can also weaken the structure of grout causing them to crumble or crack. Below are some of the signs of grout damage from using bleach to clean it:

  • The colored grout sealer starts to fade
  • The color of grout turns out spotty and uneven.
  • Grout shows signs of cracking or crumbling
  • Grout starts to come free or detach from the joints

How to Clean Floor Tile Grout with Bleach

There are several best bleach cleaners you can choose for this purpose. These chlorine-based cleaners are particularly good for removing dirt and grease from grout joints. Things you will need include a broom, dust mop, color-safe bleach, soft clean cloth or towel, and soft to a medium bristle brush. Follow these steps whenever you want to clean floor tile grout with bleach:

  • Sweep the tile floor thoroughly to remove loose debris and other dirt elements. Dump dust the floor to remove the remaining dust.
  • Put one part of bleach and two parts of water in a bucket and mix gently. Use color-safe bleach when cleaning colored tiles and grout.
  • Dip a soft bristle brush in the chlorine-based remedy you prepared and use it to scrub the stained grout vigorously.
  • Dip a clean mob in the solution and use it to mop the whole tile floor. If you are cleaning a section of tiles, use a towel or soft cloth instead of a mop.
  • Rinse the tile floor area thoroughly using clean water.
  • Using a clean cloth, wipe the wet floor to remove the leftover bleach and moisture.
  • Leave the floor to dry

Don’t leave the bleach to sit for long when cleaning grout on natural stone tiles. As stated earlier, bleach cleaners are associated with health issues. So, you should take a few precautionary measures when using bleach to clean grout. For instance, always use safety gear such as bleach-resistant gloves and facial masks when preparing and applying the solution. If you’re cleaning an enclosed room, make sure the room is well ventilated.

Homemade Grout Cleaner with Bleach

The two main ingredients you need to prepare this homemade grout cleaner with bleach include ¼ cup of bleach (use color-safe bleach for colored grouts) and ¾ cup of baking soda. Here is a quick method of preparing this 2-ingredient recipe remedy as well as using the remedy to clean grout joints.

  • Put ¼ cup of bleach and mix ¾ cup of baking soda in a mixing bowl and mix gently to create a paste. The paste should have a smooth consistency.
  • Use a spatula to apply the paste on the stained grout.
  • Let the paste sit on the grout for not more than 10 minutes (leaving the paste for 10 minutes might damage the flooring material).
  • Use a soft to medium scrub brush to scrub grout joints. Make sure you pay attention to any discolored sections. Don’t scrub the bleach-baking soda paste away from the stained grout completely. Make sure the paste is still covering grout joints after scrubbing.
  • Leave the paste to sit for another 10 minutes or longer if grout joints are extremely dirty.
  • Dip a clean mob in the solution and use it to mop the whole floor. If you are cleaning a section of tiles, use a towel or soft cloth instead of a mop.
  • Rinse the tile floor area thoroughly using clean water. You might also use a dry towel to wipe the floor dry.

You might expect grout to look shiny and bright after cleaning it with the remedy. This is not the case. Why? Grout always appears darker when wet. To get the expected results, wait for it to dry completely. New grout can take anywhere from a day to even three days before it’s completely dry. The period varies depending on the temperature and humidity in the room where the cleaning took place.

Tips for Cleaning Grout Effectively and Safely

To get the best results when using homemade grout cleaner with bleach, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind:

  • Wear vinyl, latex, and nitrile gloves when cleaning grout because some formulas used to manufacture bleach can harm the skin.
  • Test the homemade grout cleaner in an unnoticeable portion of the grout before you use it in the entire grout area. Testing your cleaner before use is a sure way to ensure the cleaner is safe and effective before use.
  • Safely dispose of the remaining paste once you are done cleaning grout with it.
  • Don’t use metal tools and wire brushes to scrape out grout as they can damage the grout as well as the floors.  
  • For best results, replace any loosed and cracked grouts before you commence cleaning.
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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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