Tile Maintenance

Tile Grout Maintenance, Problems and Solutions


Grout needs to be maintained, or even replaced, if it has deteriorated too much over time. The grout may start to crack, and while only small cracks at first, it will continue to break down over time. Eventually water will seep into these cracks and not only will the grout start to crumble, rot may also start to occur in walls and floors which may not always be visible.

This is common in areas such as in the bathroom where there is constant exposure to moisture. Staining and deterioration can occur over time.

Tips on how to keep the grout clean

Use a silicone-based spray over the tiled surface (called a ‘sealer’), making the area more water resistant. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation, minimising dampness in the area.

Get into the habit of rinsing down shower tiles after use, thus extending the cleanliness and life of the grout.

To clean grout that is already partially discoloured, try using a toothbrush with a diluted bleach solution. Scrub and rinse well.

Lastly, the internal corners at wall-to-wall or wall-to-floor junctions are often sealed with silicone. These areas can also discolour and wear out over time. It may pay to get the silicone replaced as soon as you notice any signs of deterioration as the last things you want to be faced with are rotting floors or walls as a result of moisture seeping through.

Stained Tile Grout

With grout often being located in areas of heavy use, it can become stained and unsightly. The best way of avoiding this is to clean the grout as soon as the stains start to appear, and if they become permanent, it is advised to replace the grout.

Common stains and how to remove them

  • Wine, fruit juice, coffee & mustard – scrub with a non-bleaching cleaner, allowing it to sit for several minutes then rinse off
  • Rust & hard water – scrub with a non-bleaching scouring powder then rinse thoroughly
  • Fresh paint – remove with a commercial paint remover as per the label directions
  • Oil – scrub with a detergent, or with a mixture of one part baking soda to 10 parts warm water
  • Old paint – carefully loosen paint with a razor blade and if necessary, follow up with paint remover