There is nothing quite like grimy grout and tired old tiles to make a kitchen or bathroom look dull and lifeless.
If not taken care of properly, grout and tile start looking a little, well, disgusting to say the least (I know from first-hand experience – yuck!). These also tend to harbour mold and mildew, which pose serious health risks.
Mold, Mildew and Bleach
While bleach and other disinfectants might work temporarily on mold and mildew, it makes them come back ten times as strong. The fungicides present in disinfectants actually encourage stronger strains of mold and mildew to grow. Think of it like antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As the mold and mildew morph and mutate, they become stronger against the disinfectants used against them, making problems worse.
Bleach also colours mold white, so it doesn’t actually get rid of it, it just makes it disappear temporarily.
Not only do these chemical cleaning products make mold and mildew worse, but they’re also incredibly bad for our health. Even the label states that simply inhaling the fumes can be irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.
A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to a greater risk of children developing respiratory illness and infection. Children who lived in households that used bleach had a 20% higher risk of flu, and a 35% higher risk of recurrent tonsillitis (1).
Bleach and other disinfectants are also toxic to the environment, as they wreak havoc on our delicate waterways and aquatic life.
Effective Homemade Cleaner
If you’re wondering about the best ways to clean your tiles and grout, all you need to do is look to nature (and your muscles).
Keep in mind that if you’re wanting to really get rid of the grime in your grout and tiling edges, a strenuous scrubbing is absolutely necessary to get into the tiny pores of the grout (no matter if you’re using natural products or a chemical product). Heavy scrubbing will also kill the root of the mildew and mold, and remove any lingering soap residue. An old toothbrush or a tough scrubbing pad should work perfectly for this job!
The homemade cleaner below is great because it only requires three cheap ingredients, which you probably have lying around your kitchen anyway. Another great benefit of this cleaner is that it is safe for the environment, and your health.
You will need the following ingredients:
– 1/2 cup of baking soda
– 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
– 1/2 cup white vinegar
– 4 litres of water
– optional: 10-20 drops tea tree oil
1. In a large bucket, combine the water and baking soda.
2. Let it dissolve, and little by little, start adding the white vinegar.
3. Next, add the hydrogen peroxide and keep stirring until everything is well integrated. At this time, you can add the tea tree oil if you’re using. There might be a little foam as a result of the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda, but this is normal and will dissolve with time.
4. Once the foam settles, add the mixture to a spray bottle so that it can be easily utilized (you might need a couple spray bottles to fill up, but it’ll last you a long time!).
5. Spray the mixture onto the mold and mildew and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Then, take a scrubby brush and start putting in some elbow grease. Once finished, rinse with water.
If you have a favourite all-natural cleaner, let me know in the comments below! Or, if you tried this recipe, let me know how it worked for you!