Part of fall cleaning involves the painstaking process of cleaning the grout. Instead of buying harmful chemicals, last year, I made my own grout cleaning paste out of baking powder. It worked wonders on the floor, but it was also a nightmare to pick up. It left a powdery residue all over the floor that no amount of mopping and wiping could pick up. I spent days trying to get my floor back to normal. This year, I made a MUCH better cleaner. Apparently, I needed to dilute the baking powder with a lot more water than I used the first time.
Here’s the recipe-
7 cups hot (not boiling) water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup ammonia
1/4 cup cleaning vinegar or fresh lemon juice
3 gallon bucket
First, add baking soda to your bucket and pour in the hot water. Stir until powder dissolves. Mix in the rest of the ingredients mix well with paint stirrer. Use your funnel to fill the spray bottle to the desired amount. WEAR GLOVES! Spray the grout (I started with 2 tiles at a time) and let the spray sit and absorb a little (about 5 min.)into the grout. Be generous. Grab a grout brush, scrub brush, or tile brush with a handle and scrub the grout vigorously where the spray has been sitting. careful not to get it in your eyes. Use a clean damp rag to wipe each line of grout right after you scrub it to pick up all that dirty liquid, might be handy to keep a bowl or bucket of warm water nearby because you’ll want to continuously clean the rag and the brush.
As a precaution, NEVER mix bleach with ammonia. It is extremely dangerous.
As you can see, I am very happy with my results! Pros: The lemon leaves a clean, fresh scent, grout looks amazing and there’s no powdery residue. Cons: It’s a killer on your back and knees and very time consuming. You definitely need a lot of patience. Depending on the size of the area you are cleaning, you might need a couple days. Because the cleaner needs to soak in the grout before being scrubbed, I spent a couple hours just on my kitchen floor. After wiping up the floor a few times, I passed the steam mop over the clean grout, twice, to make sure I didn’t end up with spots on the floor. (Sometimes that happens when you don’t let the floor dry properly.) Even though it is a black hole for time, I still think it’s better and cheaper than paying someone to do it. There’s a satisfaction that comes from seeing the fruit of your labor.