The Grout Cleaning Power of Hydrogen Peroxide
Many people choose to clean grout by using expensive solutions and products designed specifically for grout cleaning. However, they are forgetting about a powerful and inexpensive tool they probably already have under their bathroom sink: hydrogen peroxide. With a bit of elbow grease, hydrogen peroxide can be used to get almost any stain out of grout.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is the full name for the chemical compound H2O2. It is an incredibly powerful oxidizing agent and is used as a disinfectant, antiseptic and oxidizer. Using hydrogen peroxide for grout cleaning is also a fairly common practice. Hydrogen peroxide is a great cleanser, because it is powerful without being dangerous. As long as the levels of hydrogen peroxide in the air or water are relatively low, the compound poses almost no danger to humans, as it is quite easily broken down by the body. It is even used as a topical antiseptic and oral rinse in low concentrations.
Words of Warning
Although hydrogen peroxide is not dangerous to humans, it is best to use gloves when scrubbing with the solution. If the solution will be heated, it may be wise to use protective eyewear or a breathing mask as well. Hydrogen peroxide can also cause color damage to colored tiles or grout, as it is a bleaching agent. Before using the solution on a large, noticeable area, test it somewhere small and inconspicuous. It may be best to avoid using hydrogen peroxide altogether when cleaning dark colored tiles, since it can adversely affect the pigment in some paints used on tiles.
When and How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Grout Cleaning
Hydrogen peroxide will only be effective for a short time after it has been exposed to the elements. If a bottle of hydrogen peroxide is left open, it will interact with the air around it and quickly lose its effectiveness (oxygen molecules evaporate), leaving a bottle of what is essentially water. As a result, it is best to take out only as much hydrogen peroxide as will be needed. Hydrogen peroxide is particularly suited to removing stains from mold or mildew, as it kills the microorganisms and bleaches the affected area.
Mixing Hydrogen Peroxide
After deciding to use hydrogen peroxide for grout cleaner, the next step is to decide what concentration to use, and whether it should be mixed with other ingredients. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as is, directly from the bottle. To reduce the solutionís strength, add water to the solution. The most common ratio of water and hydrogen peroxide is 2/3 water and 1/3 hydrogen peroxide. For stains that are particularly tough, create a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide can also be heated before using to increase its cleaning power.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Grout Cleaning
To clean grout with hydrogen peroxide, spray the solution on the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes. The exact amount of time needed varies depending on the severity of the stain. Reapply the hydrogen peroxide as needed during that time, to make sure that the grout does not dry out. Use a thin brush, like a toothbrush, basting brush, or grout brush, to scrub at the grout between the tiles. Once the dirt is gone, mop the grout to remove any residual hydrogen peroxide. Repeat the process as needed until the grout is sparkling clean.
If you have grout that is dirty, discolored, moldy, or mildewed, hydrogen peroxide can save the day. The solution is not dangerous to humans, but it is very effective at removing dirt from grout. All this plus the fact that it is inexpensive and simple to use, makes hydrogen peroxide a safe and smart choice for grout cleaning.