As a ceramic tile cleaner, I’m often been asked about the best way to maintain a shower to avoid costly repairs in the future.
First, a quick fact about the grout used when your tile was installed. Grout is made with a water repellency built in, which is meant to provide years of use when being maintained. In a perfect world, your grout should look shiny and bright forever.
However, that’s not the case in most of the homes I visit. In most houses, even with the best use of cleaning practices, yellowing and mildewing still persist. But why?
Lets look at the facts about grout.
In a home with three people showering once a day, 365 days a year, the shower is used 1,095 times in one year. Over time, that’s an awful lot of showers. Also, consider the fact that unlike your car that stays outdoors, your shower doesn’t get sunny days in between to dry off.
This heavy abuse really creates a need to maintain your grout to keep it clean, sealed and looking pretty. Unfortunately, the products sold on the market today to clean grout have harsh chemicals that deliver a quick fix to the eye, but eventually wear down your grout’s repellency over time, causing grout to turn into a water absorbing, chalk like consistency.
The result of this is mildewing and discoloring. Grout that absorbs water grows mildew and permanently stains, and the only fix at this point is a total re-grout – a somewhat expensive option.
Sometimes its not just mildew we’re seeing. Another culprit of stained grout is our local water supply. Rust in the your water could be a major contributor of staining. Whole house water filters should be considered if your house’s water supply is especially rust filled.
So how do you keep your showers looking nice?
1. Consider changing your shampoo.
When you read the ingredients list on the back of your shampoo bottle, do you see dyes and colorings in the product? If so, I recommend that you choose a new shampoo that is more natural without colorings in them.
You will be doing your shower a favor, and more importantly, your body. Dyes are not good for you or your family’s health and can also stain the grout in your bathroom.
2. Stay away from harsh cleaning chemicals.
Harsh cleaners may make your grout look cleaner, but they also strip away the water repellency that we talked about earlier. Bleach is especially bad about this.
A mixture of approximately one-third white vinegar to two-thirds water is what I recommend to my customers to clean their grout. Use a soft scrub brush with a little elbow grease.
3. Seal the grout.
Most home stores have sealing products readily available. They add water repellency back into the grout that’s lost over time. Grout that is sealed will be more stain resistant. I recommend sealing at least once or twice a year depending on how many people use the shower on a daily basis.
4. Invest in a squeegee.
Preferably, you’ll want to find a squeegee with a suction cup that will mount in your shower, making it handier when you need it. Using it after each shower will allow less water to dry on your grout, tile and shower doors, thereby leaving less mineral deposits behind.
In closing, I recommend a yearly visit by your tile man to keep your shower looking new ike Pacific Carpet & Tile Cleaning of Newport Beach. I know most people will scoff at this recommendation because of the expense, but it will be negligible compared to the cost of having to rip out your shower and install a new one when it goes bad.
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