The Surprising Place You Don’t Even Need to Clean

published Aug 5, 2018
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Keeping the kitchen clean is hard work. Every single day, multiple times a day, you spill food across the floors and countertops. You chuck crusty dishes into the sink. You splatter sauce or grease. And the effort of keeping it all spic and span— all that wiping, sweeping, and scrubbing! — can get totally tedious day in and day out.

Well, I’m here to tell you (and a real cleaning expert backs me up on this; it’s not just my own opinion) that there’s one spot in your kitchen (and bathroom!) you can stop cleaning entirely. Can you guess what it is?

That spot is… the grout between your floor tiles.

“Grout is porous. It’s like the skin on your face — if you put makeup on and wash it off, it’s fine, but if you never washed your face and the makeup just sat there, you’d get clogged pores,” says Melissa Maker, author of Clean My Space. Same thing happens with grout: Day in and day out, dirt gets added to it, and little by little it gets darker and darker. “Cleaning your grout can be a losing battle,” says Maker.

(Image credit: Dustin Walker for Hutch)

But you know what? Your floor is not your face. Nothing bad will happen if your grout gets dirty — it just looks bad. And does it really look that bad? “As long as the grout is consistently stained, it looks like that’s the color it’s meant to be,” says Maker. The real trouble comes when you actually try to clean the grout!

Sure, it can be done, but according to Maker, “Cleaning grout is a big time investment, and most people get frustrated and stop halfway through.” That’s the big mistake: When all the grout was dirty, it looked fine. But when half of it is clean, the dirty side looks really terrible.

Let’s say you did the whole thing. Yay, you! You’d feel really accomplished. Would your effort be worth it? Probably not! “Unless you get your grout professionally sealed, it’s going to get dirty again,” says Maker.

It will cost you a lot of time and potentially money to keep it up, so instead we say: Let it go! Keep mopping your floors like you always do, but cross “clean the grout” right off your list. It’s just not worth it. Your grout will not get pimples. And no one will ever know you didn’t do it.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Surprising Place You Don’t Even Need to Clean