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Grout is a porous, bumpy substance. It’s strong enough to hold tiles in place, but it can also be quite brittle and easily stained. As you’ve probably discovered, keeping grout clean can be a real challenge, but there are some tips and tricks you can use to make the task simple.
Here are 13 easy ways to keep your backsplash grout clean:
- Clean your backsplash grout regularly.
- Use a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
- Apply sealant on a dry backsplash grout.
- Apply sealant to your backsplash grout every few months.
- Remove spills and stains as soon as they happen.
- Protect your backsplash from sharp objects and heavy items.
- Keep the backsplash grout dry.
- Use a squeegee to remove soap scum and water spots.
- Clean after every meal.
- Regrout Your backsplash grout if necessary.
- Keep a clean sponge on hand for quick wipe-downs.
- Keep children off of your backsplash if possible.
Let’s take a look at these 13 tips in detail so you can keep your backsplash grout from getting those ugly, black stains that seem to come out of nowhere. So, let’s get into it and make your grout look as good as new!
1. Clean Your Backsplash Grout Regularly
Regularly cleaning your backsplash grout with a solution of water and baking soda is a great way to keep it looking clean and new.
For routine cleaning, mix equal parts of water and baking soda in a spray bottle, then mist the mixture directly onto the grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use a toothbrush to scrub it clean. Rinse with warm water and dry with a cloth.
Of course, there are lots of commercial products you can use to remove stains and debris from your grout too. Still, the idea is to avoid very acidic or alkaline cleaners such as vinegar and ammonia as they can damage your grout.
I recommend cleaning the backsplash grout at least twice a week to prevent stains from setting in. Doing so will also help you avoid replacing the grout in your backsplash prematurely.
2. Use a Toothbrush To Get Into the Nooks and Crannies
Brushing your grout with an old toothbrush is another easy way to keep it looking clean.
Using warm water and baking soda solution, scrub small sections of the grout with the toothbrush. If you’re particularly worried about removing stains, you can add a small amount of bleach to the solution.
No matter how vigilant you are, it’s inevitable that some grime and dirt will get caught in the crevices of your grout lines. That’s where many odors come from, too.
The good news is that cleaning the outside of your grout with a toothbrush will eliminate all those odors and stains, giving you a clean surface.
3. Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals or Abrasive Cleaners
It’s a good idea to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your backsplash grout. These can damage the grout and make it difficult to clean in the future. Many commercial products that’ll clean your grout without damaging it are available, so it’s best to stick with those.
You might also want to buy a microfiber cloth, as these will help remove dirt and grime without damaging the grout. Just remember that microfiber cloths can also trap dirt and other particles against your grout, so you’ll need to clean them regularly too.
You can repair your grout with a coloring product if your grout has signs of damage from improper cleaning solutions. However, this won’t be as effective as sealing the grout after cleaning, so it’s best to avoid using harsh chemicals in the first place if you want to maintain a clean backsplash.
4. Apply Sealant on a Dry Backsplash Grout
You should apply a sealant to your backsplash grout, but it’s best to wait until your grout has wholly cured before sealing it. Otherwise, the moisture content in the grout could damage the sealant.
That’s why you should never apply a sealant to your backsplash grout until you’ve let it dry for at least 36 hours, and ideally longer than that if possible. If you’re worried about odors developing in the grout while it’s drying, just remember that baking soda is an excellent odor absorbent.
5. Apply Sealant to Your Backsplash Grout Every Few Months
It’s best to apply a sealant to your backsplash grout every few months for extra protection. Using an oil-based sealer will give you the added protection you need to keep your grout looking clean and new.
Besides protecting your grout from dirt, debris, and stains, applying a sealant will also help to repel dust, which will prevent it from settling into the grout of your backsplash. Sealing is crucial if you have children, as they’re prone to creating messes.
To apply an oil-based sealer to your backsplash grout, you’ll need a brush and protective gloves. You’ll also need to wait at least 24 hours for the sealer to cure after applying it.
6. Remove Spills and Stains As Soon as They Happen
It’s always best to remove spills and stains quickly, whether they’re on your grout or not. If you leave them for too long, the color will become nearly impossible to get out, mainly if you use an abrasive cleaner regularly.
Abrasive cleaners create scratches on the surface of your grout, so over time, they’ll create more stains and dirt buildup. The best way to avoid this is to apply toothpaste with baking soda directly on the discolored spots. This method is gentler than most commercial products, but it’s just as effective.
Some people prefer protecting the backsplash when preparing messy meals. You can do this by covering your backsplash with a plastic sheet that you can easily wipe down. Or, if you find that the grout is impossible to clean, use a cupboard liner instead of tile for your backsplash.
7. Protect Your Backsplash From Sharp Objects and Heavy Items
A cupboard liner is a great way to protect your backsplash from sharp objects and heavy pots and pans. It’s also an excellent way to avoid using harsh chemicals on your grout, as it’ll help to prevent staining.
Just remember to clean the cupboard liner regularly, as it’ll also trap dirt and other particles against your tiles. You can either use a commercial liner or make your own out of a durable material like vinyl.
To get this right, measure the size of your backsplash before heading to the store. You’ll also want to make sure that the liner is slightly bigger than your backsplash so you can easily tuck it in around the edges.
8. Keep the Backsplash Grout Dry
Keeping the area around your backsplash dry is one of the best ways to prevent water damage and unsightly and unhealthy mold and mildew growth. Grout gets softer when it is wet, and if there is any food, dirt, or other various gunk on your wet grout, you will have difficulty removing it later.
In addition, if food settles deep into the porous grout, mold and mildew may grow, and that stuff is a challenge to remove.
So, if you’re not using an under-sink cabinet, install a shelf that’s as high as possible and use it for clean towels or other items that you can use to absorb water quickly.
And remember that keeping your grout clean all around is essential for maintaining a great-looking kitchen. That means wiping down your cabinets, appliances, and sinks every other day to keep dirt from settling into the grout.
9. Use a Squeegee To Remove Soap Scum and Water Spots
A squeegee is excellent for keeping your grout clean because it can remove crumbs, spills, soap scum, splashes, and debris without scratching the surface of the grout lines. You can also use a microfiber cloth or dish rag to clean your tiles.
If you have children in your household, you’ll probably want to keep a squeegee next to the sink at all times. Kids are always spilling things, and a squeegee will make it easy to wipe up the mess without leaving behind stains or scratches.
You can also use a squeegee after doing the dishes to remove any excess water before it has a chance to settle into the grout lines. If you have time, you can even let your backsplash air dry before wiping over it with a clean cloth.
You can use vinegar and baking soda to deep clean your grout, but you should only use it every once in a while since it may weaken the material.
10. Clean After Every Meal
If you have a backsplash in your kitchen, cleaning your grout after every meal won’t only keep up its appearance but will also prevent stains and damage that can occur due to regular usage.
Allowing oils and splatter to settle in the grout will cause stains that are challenging to get out, so cleaning them off as soon as they happen will keep your backsplash stunning.
If you do this regularly, you should remove most spills, splatters, and splashes with just a quick rub between the grout lines using a cloth or a squeegee. Doing so will help you maintain a clean and sanitary environment in your kitchen while making your grout last longer.
If some spots don’t come off with just water and a cloth, you can use baking soda and toothpaste to scrub the area gently without scratching the surface of the grout lines. Just be sure to act quickly before the stains settle deeper into the porous grout.
11. Regrout Your Backsplash Grout if Necessary
If your grout has deep scratches and marks that won’t come out with regular cleaning, it may be time to regrout. A professional can do this for you, or you can use a grout-filling kit to complete the job yourself.
Grout-filling kits typically come with a drill bit and a tube, which you can use to apply the product to the grout lines. Remember to follow the instructions carefully and wear a mask to avoid inhaling any dust or chemicals during the process.
If you do this, your grout should look as good as new in just a few hours without any need for sanding or having a professional regrout your entire backsplash.
After that, let the product cure for 36 to 48 hours before doing anything else with it. Once that time has passed, you should be able to clean the grout as usual and enjoy your beautifully regrouted kitchen backsplash. You should also seal it with a grout sealer to help it last longer.
12. Keep a Clean Sponge on Hand for Quick Wipe-Downs
If the backsplash grout is starting to look grimy, a quick wipe-down can go a long way toward making it look better. Just dampen a sponge and use it to clean up any spills.
To keep your sponge from getting smelly or covered with debris, you can put it through the dishwasher once a week or so to keep it clean. You should also replace your sponge every two months if it’s looking particularly grimy from regular use.
Even if you don’t have time for a daily wipe-down, doing this a few times a week will help keep your kitchen grout lines looking great.
You can also use a stovetop cleaner to keep your grout lines looking fresh in between regular cleanings. Just spray it down on the surface of your backsplash, wait for two minutes, and then wipe off the solution with a cloth or paper towel.
13. Prevent Splashes on Your Backsplash
The backsplash is called backsplash for a reason, and accordingly, it is prone to collecting gunk, oil, soap scum, and food from splashes.
To keep your grout as clean as possible, always prevent splashes before they happen. For example, use a splatter guard when cooking oily or liquid-based foods in the kitchen. In the bathroom, wipe down the grout regularly and try to avoid pointing your showerhead at the tile.
Taking preventative measures to reduce the number of times you have to clean the grout is the best way to make your life easier and keep your backsplash in excellent condition.
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.