Tile Cleaning Versus Grout Cleaning

Some people do not distinguish between tile cleaning and grout cleaning, or they lump the two tasks together as if doing one does the other. The truth is that you use different techniques, different tools, and different cleaning agents to get the two jobs done. While it is convenient to do both at the same time, they are two separate home cleaning tasks.

The grout is the material in between each individual tile. Grout or grout lines are porous unlike the tile so they are much easier to get dirty and stained and much harder to clean than the surface of a porcelain, slate, or marble tile. Because of its porous nature, it also allows bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow so you need cleaners that will address those concerns specifically. Tile cleaners are more concerned with soap scum that collects on top of tiles making them look foggy.

In terms of tools, grout cleaning requires a scrub brush where tile can be cleaned with a sponge or cloth. You can clean tile with a scrub brush, but it may result in uneven removal of the soap residue. The brush can leave brush marks behind where a sponge will wipe the entire surface clean. You should use a brush with medium hard bristles for scrubbing grout because you want them to be sturdy enough to penetrate the grout, but not so stiff that they chew it up.

Tile cleaning technique usually involves letting a cleaner do most of the work and then wiping away residues with a sponge or cloth. Grout cleaning on the other hand requires actually scrubbing. Circular motions work best because you can remove any dirt and push it away from the grout line before returning to scrub out more. Back and forth motions will just return all the grout you removed with the forward stroke back into the grout with the backward stroke.