As a Home Inspector in Bonner County Idaho, I run across grout that’s dirty or has microbial growth. Many times I see cleaners in the home that won’t kill mold and harms the grout in the process. Most grout cleaners contain bleach and there are even several do it yourself cleaner recipes on the internet that contains bleach. This is because dirty grout is one of the hardest things to clean in your home and the two areas that tile is commonly installed is the shower and in the kitchen. In the shower you have moisture and soap scum that over time causes microbial growth, and in the kitchen you have food particles that can make cleaning very difficult. Because nobody wants to spend hours cleaning in these two areas, bleach for years has been the go to cleaner.

A few reasons I recommend not using bleach are as follows. First off bleach damages materials. In the case of the shower or in the kitchen it can damage the grout by slowly etching and opening the pores in the grout allowing microbial growth to expand and even harder to clean. While it may appear that the grout and tile are clean, in fact bleach or products containing bleach do not kill any microbial growth it merely bleaches it. Bleach also breaks down any protective coating that is on your tile and fixtures that the bleach cleaner comes in contact with. So you are not only not killing the growth but you are actually causing more damage. This damage may over time cost you a lot of money.

Another reason, is bleach is very caustic. It can cause rashes and even burns that scar for life. I personally have a scar on my wrist, that 24 years ago when cleaning with an industrial bleach cleaner it got into my glove past the tape and rubbed and burned part of my wrist. 

So it is clear why I don’t recommend bleach or cleaners containing bleach but what do I recommend? Well for starters if you do know what brand of grout was installed many times they have a cleaner that works well for their grout. If you don’t, something I have seen that works really well is products from Norwex. All you really need with their towels is water. So you are not causing damage to the grout or even the fixtures.

Here is a link to purchase their product if you are interested.