How on earth do you clean ceramic tile and grout…and what products work best?
This was a question I was pondering while taking a shower the other day. Primarily because the grout on our shower’s ceramic floor wasn’t looking so good.
I try to keep our shower clean, but with two adults and two kids, it’s pretty darn hard to maintain Mr. Clean’s level of tidiness (hey, the guy has no hair and that helps a lot with keeping showers looking immaculate).
We have small 2-inch by 2-inch square tiles on our shower floor (sound familiar) and my primary goal was to determine the best way to clean them. I also wanted to see if the same solution used to clean the ceramic tile could clean the grout.
Here’s what I used
- OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
- Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner
I’ve read so many articles on the awesomeness of OxiClean (oxygenated bleach) and wanted to see for myself how it would work on ceramic tile & grout.
My wife bought Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner from a salesperson in our neighborhood because it’s supposedly non-toxic and kid-friendly. We’ve used it for general cleaning and it seemed like a good thought to try it on the shower, too.
And as a last resort, I tried Chlorox bleach. It’s not my preference due to the noxious fumes and the likelihood you’ll ruin your clothes using it.
Admittedly I hit a roadblock the first few times I used OxiClean. I’ll share my experience because it sheds light on the amount of OxiClean I found to have the most power. At the very least you’ll want to scroll through the pictures since I was growing my cheesy mustache to raise money for prostate cancer awareness.
Let’s get started!
How Much OxiClean Powder Should be Used to Clean Ceramic Tile & Grout?
This is a great question because everyone’s ceramic tile & grout has a different level of dirtiness.
Let’s first discuss how the makers of OxiClean recommend using it for hard surfaces like tile & grout.
The directions on the OxiClean container say to fill the OxiClean scoop to line 4 and add it to 1 gallon of water. It’s also suggested that a more concentrated solution/paste may be required for surfaces like grout and I’m certainly going to discuss this point.
They then recommend applying the OxiClean & water solution to tile with a sponge or brush or by pouring it directly on top of the surface. And the final step is to let the OxiClean stand on the tile & grout for 5-30 minutes and to not let it dry out.
Okay, that’s what you’ll read on the OxiClean box.
I performed 3 different tests on my ceramic tile to see what concentration of OxiClean would work best. My hope was that I’d only have to do one experiment and POOF, I’d be be a cleaning genius.
But no such luck.
The first test I did used 1/2 cup of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. I let the solution stand on the tile & grout for 30 minutes and scrubbed for about 5 minutes. This produced somewhat cleaner grout but the tile didn’t look any better.
The second test used 1 cup of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. Again, I let the solution stand on the tile & grout for 30 minutes and scoured for 5 minutes. The results were a mixed bag. The grout was clean in some areas and dirty in others as was the tile.
The third test involved 2 cups of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. This time I let the solution stand for 60 minutes and scrubbed for 5 minutes at the beginning and end. As a result, the tile & grout looked much better. The tile in particular sparkled and some of the grime I couldn’t get off with the scrub brush in tests #1 and #2 was completely gone.
My conclusion is that 2 cups of OxiClean mixed with one gallon of hot water will defintely clean ceramic tile. I barely had to use the nylon scrub brush to get the tiles looking brand new. This concentration will also eliminate mild grout stains and dirt.
But there were still sections of discolored grout. Maybe my grout was too far gone to be cleaned by OxiClean but that doesn’t mean I gave up.
Why Should You Use Oxygenated Bleach to Clean Ceramic Tile?
I try to stay as healthy as possible. And one sure way to get sick is to expose yourself to harsh chemicals. Plus, my kids use the same bathroom and shower as us. So the last thing I want to do is use chlorine bleach or some other product that could harm their lungs & skin.
Oxygenated bleach contains sodium percarbonate. When oxygenated bleach is dissolved in water a chemical reaction occurs that releases hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate.
This reaction is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Plus, oxygenated bleach doesn’t contain chlorine. So you don’t have to worry about it discoloring carpets or clothing while cleaning tile & grout.
(IMPORTANT, never mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide as this reaction forms peracetic acid which can melt lead bullets. I mention this because many people might try vinegar to clean tile THEN use OxiClean, a bad idea altogether!!)
Can Eco Orange or Chlorox Clean Shower Tile & Grout?
At this point in my experiment, the shower tile was immaculate. The grout was driving me nuts. Even though each successive OxiClean treatment improved the grout’s look there were still discolored grout lines on some portions of the shower floor.
Enter Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner. This stuff is expensive at $80 per gallon. Like I said in the introduction we’ve used it to clean different areas of our home like sinks, bathtubs, floors, etc. It’s marketed as being safe and non-toxic which is important to us because we have 2 young daughters.
It works really well as a general cleaner (as it should for that price, holy mother of mercy).
I used 1 part Eco Orange to 2 parts water. In this case 2 cups of Eco Orange to 4 cups of warm water. Once mixed thoroughly I poured it onto the shower tile & grout and scrubbed the grout for 5 minutes with a nylon brush.
Then I rinsed the shower floor with clean water. Unfortunately, the grout was still discolored. If I had to just tidy up the shower floor I’d most certainly use Eco Orange because it would do a good job eliminating superficial dirt. But grout renewer it is not.
Moving on to Chlorox bleach.
I really dislike using Chlorox bleach, but wanted to see if it could make a dent in my grout. After putting on rubber gloves, a respirator, and eye protection I mixed 3/4 cup of Chlorox with 2 cups of water.
This is super concentrated but that’s the point. I didn’t want to perform multiple experiments with bleach.
I scrubbed the tile grout for 5 minutes and let the Chlorox stand on the tile surface for another 10. Then I rinsed with clean water.
After saying a little prayer to the grout gods (just kidding, but if they existed you know I would kneel in reverence) and waiting 10 minutes, I checked on the grout.
Sorry folks, Chlorox just didn’t help in this case.
So what shall I do?
The shower tile is looking fantastic but the grout is still discolored in some areas.
I started Home Repair Tutor to share my wins and losses to help others. This is a tie 🙂
My hope was that one of these three products could have cleaned both the tile and grout in our shower. I’m confident that OxiClean can clean anyone’s ceramic tiles. And while it didn’t fully live up to my grout cleansing expectations I think you should try it since it helped brighten up about 60% of our grout lines.
It’s relatively affordable at $7.52 and worth a shot since it’s non-toxic.
I may try a few other products in order to get my tile grout looking better.
Our other tutorial shares a second method for cleaning grout – this time with a little help from a power tool!!
If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.