Green Cleaning Tip: Get That Grout Sparkling

I have weird cleaning compulsions.

I wouldn’t consider myself a neat person, but I do consider myself a clean person.  My husband, he is the de-clutterer and organizer of the two of us.  He loves to put things away in their proper place and generally make a room look tidy.  Me?  I like to scrub something until it is sparkling clean.  When Zac and I first started dating he moved in with a new roommate, a guy who had lived alone for a while before Zac moved in.  On moving day I spent hours in the shower with a razor blade scraping the buildup off the shower wall.  No way I could be in that house with that shower in that condition and not do anything about it.

I find that kind of cleaning to be very fulfilling.  I love getting down on my hands and knees with a good stiff-bristled scrub brush and CLEANING.  It’s very cathartic for me to take something that is gross and dingy and to make it look new again with little more than elbow grease and a mild abrasive.  There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Anyway.  Our master bathroom floor has been bothering me for months.  It is a nasty off-white hexagonal tile with nasty off-white old grout.  We have two dogs who stay outside most of the day and sleep in our bedroom.  At night, they go into our bathroom to drink out of the toilet.  {Don’t act like you don’t let your dog drink out of the toilet.  IT’S A DOG THING.}  Well, if one of us has just showered or gotten the kids out of the bath, the floor is usually wet.  Wet floor + old grout + dog feet = nasty dirt brown grout.  It hasn’t really bothered me until recently because I do keep the bathroom floor mopped and swept, and nobody ever saw it.  But we are leaving for Disney World in two days and my cousins are coming over to house- and animal-sit for the week.  And all I have been able to think about for the past couple of weeks is that nasty-looking floor and what I could do about it.

So I started looking on the Pinterest and the interwebs for an easy solution to my grout problem.  Everything kept leading me back to baking soda and/or hydrogen peroxide in some form.  Now, I’m not super crunchy or green, but if I can avoid using harsh chemicals in an area where my children frequent, I try to do so.  And I had both ingredients already on hand, so I decided to give it a try.

I saw various ratios of baking soda to hydrogen peroxide, so in the end I just decided to wing it.  I wiped a small area of the bathroom floor with a wet towel, sprinkled on some baking soda, and spread it around to cover as much of the grout as I could.  Then I took an old toothbrush and a cup of hydrogen peroxide, dipped the toothbrush in the liquid, and went to town.  I scrubbed and scrubbed, not really expecting this homemade concoction to work.  But it did!

Don’t judge me for being nasty.  With two kids and a full-time job, bathroom tile grout is not high on my list of priorities.  Plus the floor was wet, so it makes the yucky grout look worse.  On the left, obviously, is the scrubbed grout.  On the right is the grout as it was.  Quite a difference, wouldn’t you say?  After the preliminary scrubbing I let the mixture residue sit on the grout for a few minutes, and when I went back to rinse it has effervesced even more and gotten more dirt out of the grout.  Win!  It has been a time-consuming project, and I’m still working on it because I can only sit on that floor for about an hour before my back wants to split in half, but I have one more section to do tonight or tomorrow and then I’m done.  I got a larger, stiffer-bristled brush last night and it really made the work much easier than my old soft-bristled toothbrush.  {NOTE: do not use a steel-bristled brush.  It will ruin the tile.  Zac tried to help and managed to destroy four sides of one tile before I stopped him.  Poor lamb.}

I’m so glad I decided to give the baking soda and peroxide a try.  It’s so nice to look at a nice clean-looking bathroom floor every morning, and I will not need to be embarrassed about people seeing my yucky tile anymore because it will be nice and white.  Do you have any green cleaning or household tips?  What is your go-to “natural” cleaning agent?

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