Cleaning & Regrouting Shower Tile

Cleaning & Regrouting Your Shower

So, you have beautiful, luxurious tile installed in your shower with a brilliant shade of grout, but you’ve noticed it hasn’t looked as bright as it once did. Over time this grout can be stained by the moisture, mildew, and products native to the shower space.

Cleaning your shower grout

There are a few ways to go about cleaning your existing grout. The trick here is to start small and light, and gradually ramp up the power of your cleaning methods, depending on the severity and stubbornness of the dirt. That being said, there are many different products available, with varying methods of application. Something like Scrubbing Bubbles, for example, is on the mild end of the spectrum and does not require any scrubbing once sprayed on. Being a low impact cleaner, this material would only be viable for very light wear and dirt on your shower wall.

Another common option is vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts warm water and white vinegar and spray this solution on your grout. Caution is advised when using vinegar around travertine and stone, as it may stain and ruin these materials. Leave the solution on the wall for a few minutes before you start scrubbing with a brush. This should take care of more stubborn dirt and grime.

If vinegar doesn’t quite cut it, a paste of baking soda and water is the next option. This should be applied to the grout lines specifically, and then the vinegar solution should be sprayed on over top. These materials will mix together and foam. Scrub with a stiff brush and rinse with clean water. Hydrogen peroxide can be substituted for water in this mixture for an even tougher cleaner.

On the more aggressive end of the cleaning spectrum, we have bleach. Bleach can be used for the worst of the stains and grime, but caution should be used with this product. Never allow bleach and vinegar to mix, and make sure that any other cleaner or product you’ve attempted to use is washed off and removed before applying bleach. Bleach can also ruin some types of grout.

Regrouting your shower

The first step of regrouting your shower is to remove the existing grout. Use a grout rake to remove it. During this process it is imperative to avoid scratching or damaging your tiles. It is also a good idea to put some plastic sheeting down to keep the old pieces of grout from clogging the drain. Using the grout rake, remove the old grout from the vertical joints first and then the horizontal joints.

Mixing and Applying Grout

With the walls free of the old grout, you are now ready to apply a fresh coat. At this point, clean up the mess that was left behind by the removal of the existing grout and make sure the grout spaces are free of any debris. Once you have the appropriate grout selected, start mixing it up. The desired consistency should be stiff enough to not pour out of the container, but not too thick, or it won’t spread properly.

To apply grout, use a rubber float to press it into the spaces between your tiles. Hold the float at a 45-degree angle with downward pressure and firmly push the grout into the open spaces. Remove the excess grout by swiping the float along the expanse at a 90-degree angle. After waiting a few minutes to let the grout set, take a wet sponge and brush it along the grout lines. You want to remove any excess grout off of the face of the tile and any excess along the lines without removing the grout from the space entirely. Continue to wipe and rinse until the tile is clean and has a slight haze. Wipe this haze off with a soft cloth.