Let's face it. Grout is nobody's friend. It's usually bright white, which just means Every. Little. Blemish. Shows. It's porous, so stains soak in and stick around. And it's pretty skinny, making it all the more difficult to get to. But here we have it: a little help to make your least favorite chore a little more bearable.
What You Need
Ingredients An arsenal of green cleaning products, namely baking soda, vinegar, or oxygen bleach.
Equipment: A grout brush (or old toothbrush), and maybe a steam cleaner for tough-to-fight grime. (See below.)
We'll start out with the lightweights and move down the list to heavier-duty eco cleaners. They're all good for superficial cleaning, maintaining, and getting rid of a little mold that's built up over a couple of months. For extra grime, see steps 5 through 7.
1. Grab an old toothbrush or a small grout cleaning brush. We'd recommend the special purpose tool because grout brushes have sturdier bristles and are a little bigger, but an old toothbrush will totally work in a pinch.
2. Start simple. Spray the affected area with a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water, and then scrub with the brush. *Here's a tip: forget straight lines, and scrub in circles to remove more grossness from the grout.
3. If that's not doing the trick, reach for the baking soda. Make a paste by mixing baking soda with water, then spread the mixture along the grout.
4. Using the brush, scrub the baking soda mixture into the grout, again in circular motions. Rinse well and repeat if necessary.
5. Try out a steam cleaner. You can rent one from most home improvement stores.
6. If that's not enough, turn to a non-toxic oxygen bleach—which is normally combo of borax or sodium percarbonate. Just like baking soda, make a thick paste to scrub into the grout.
7. Leave the paste on the grout for about 15 minutes, and then scrub it off and rinse well.
That should do it! If you have any more eco-friendly grout cleaning tips, be sure to share.
Images: Tile: Bedrock Industries; Oxy-Boost; Vinegar: Flickr member Elyce Feliz; Borax: Flickr member Ben Sutherland, Baking soda: Kathryn Wright.