I dread doing many household chores. My least favorite has to be cleaning the tile and grout in the bathroom. It never ceases to amaze me that a place we use to get clean, and that’s filled with soap and water daily, can get so dirty. UGH. Because I loathe it so much, I have embraced a preventative measure – a cleaning routine. An ounce of prevention – in this case less than two minutes a day – is worth a pound of cure – 30 minutes or more of scrubbing. Think of it as protecting your tile and grout instead of rescuing it.
My easy-peasy method utilizes a squeegee and a rinse-free daily shower cleaner. After each shower, before I even grab a towel, I do a quick dry with my squeegee. Then a quick spray of rinse free shower cleaner to keep everything sparking clean in between “big” cleans. When those faint pink blotches just start to appear, I dive in for a deeper clean usually once a week. Those pink stains are not mold; it a form of water-borne bacteria. ARGH!!
HOW TO DE-PINK
Make a Cleaning Solution
Mix one-half cup of baking soda with one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid or all-purpose cleaner. The resulting paste will be runny. Make a double or triple batch depending on how much tile you need to clean.
Do wear rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask to protect yourself from exposure to the bacteria.
Prep the Area
Since the pink slime (it’s bacteria!) can grow on plastic and fabric surfaces, you should wash your shower curtain and liner. Toss washable curtains and liners in the washing machine and wash in warm to hot water with your regular laundry detergent. Dry fabric curtains following the care label instructions but air dry, or replace, plastic liners.
Dip a nylon-bristle scrub brush in your baking soda solution and scrub away! Start at the top and work your way down.
Rinsing is a pain if you don’t have a hand-held shower spray. You can rinse with a towel or by using a large water-filled pitcher or measuring cup.
In a spray bottle, mix a 50:50 solution of warm water and chlorine bleach. Use caution with the bleach mixture as it will remove color from any fabrics, towels, or rugs if you accidentally drip or overspray. Or, you can use a bathroom disinfecting spray.
Now we’re having fun, right?
Tips to Prevent Pink Goo Growth
- Keep surfaces dry (use your squeegee after every shower!)
- Close your shower curtain after bathing so it will dry quicker
- Clean your tile with a bathroom cleaner weekly
- Use your bathroom exhaust fan or crack a window (if you have either) every time you shower
CLEANING DIRTY TILE AND GROUT
“The best way to clean heavily stained or aged grout is to maintain a cleaning schedule. Do not allow stains and soils to build up over time,” said David Mowery, a business manager of Tile and Stone Installation Systems for the MAPEI Corporation. “The sooner you address grout stains, the better.”
What tools are needed?
- Cleaner. For mold and mildew stains, try Tilex Mold & Mildew or StoneTech Mold & Mildew Stain Remover. For rust and lime buildup, Bar Keepers Friend More Spray and Foam, Zep Grout Cleaner and Brightener, and CLR Brilliant Bath will all work.
- A damp sponge or cloth. Use either to rub in your cleaning solution.
- A medium bristle brush. OXO makes a grout-specific brush. You can also use an old toothbrush; just plan on never using it again. Because eew.
How long will it take?
For a full-size shower, the entire process can take 15 minutes or longer depending on how much tile you’re trying to clean and the severity of the stains.
What kind of stain is that anyway?
Bathroom tile and grout stains caused by mold or mildew thrive in the damp corners of a bathroom shower and the porous, concrete-based grouts that are commonly found in between bathroom tiles.
These stains respond best to alkaline or high-pH cleaners like Tilex Mold & Mildew or StoneTech Mold & Mildew Stain Remover or Scrubbing Bubbles.
The other common source of staining in a shower is rust or lime buildup. Hard water deposits can stain the porous tile and grout in your bathroom. Rust has a reddish-brown tint, while lime scale usually has a chalky-white or pale green color.
To deal with these kinds stains, use a cleaner with a lower pH such as Bar Keepers Friend More Spray and Foam, Zep Grout Cleaner and Brightener, and CLR Brilliant Bath .
Cleaning the tile
Apply the cleaner by directly spraying it on the wall or onto a damp sponge, cloth, or brush. Let the solution sit for a short period, and then scrub with the brush, making sure to get the bristles into the grout itself. Rinse thoroughly and let the area dry.
To avoid damaging your tile or grout, do not use the below items which can scratch tiles or chemically damage grout.
- Wire brushes or steel wool
- Abrasive cleaners like Borax or Comet
Okay, that wasn’t so bad. Now promise me you’ll keep your tile and grout clean because bathing in a dirty shower is gross and kinda counterintuitive.
Resources: Wirecutter.com, TheSpruce.com