Deeply stained acrylic sanded grout; how to clean?

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Old 12-20-14, 10:55 AM
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Question Deeply stained acrylic sanded grout; how to clean?

Hello,

Our bathroom linoleum tile floor used Armstrong S-693 premixed sanded acrylic grout between the tiles (tiles look a lot like natural tile). The installation was around 6 years ago. Now the light colored grout is stained dark in some areas (like in front of the sink where people stand).
We haven't found anything to effectively remove the stain.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 12-20-14, 11:12 AM
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If you google that question you'll get a million hits. It's a very common problem.

One of those little electric steam cleaners works fantastic.
SteamFast-SF-226-Handheld-Steam-Cleaner/dp/B00114LAP8
OR...
Mix equal parts of warm water and vinegar. Spray on grout and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub clean with scrub brush.
OR...
Not effective enough.... wet grout and pour baking soda on the grout line. Now spray with vinegar. Allow mixture to stop foaming. Clean with scrub brush.
OR...
The old standby, bleach, can be used but use it sparingly as it will attack the grout.
Oxyclean works well too.

Ultimately there is always re-grouting too.
 
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Old 12-20-14, 01:53 PM
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If you end up re-grouting, make sure to take the time to buy a decent grout sealer. It can be applied 72 hours after installation. On second thought, plan on this if you are able to sufficiently clean you existing grout. It will help assist in repelling stains in the future.
 
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Old 12-20-14, 09:39 PM
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Thanks for your ideas PJmax and czizzi.
I have tried the steam cleaner approach with very limited luck.
I'll work my way down the list of alternate approaches.

I've never heard of putting a sealer on epoxy grout.
 
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Old 12-22-14, 08:58 PM
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I talked with Armstrong customer service today. Armstrong is the manufacturer of the tile and the acrylic grout. They recommend against stream cleaning. The thought is that the stream can actually drive the stain deeper in the grout. They really only recommend their "Once 'N Done", but said it would be worthwhile to try using an Oxygen Bleach (first on an inconspicuous spot).
They also recommend against using a sealer on the acrylic grout.
I'll try the oxygen bleach. I've already tried "Once `N Done".
 

Last edited by SturdyNail; 12-22-14 at 09:00 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-22-14, 11:04 PM
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Sometimes aggressive stains require aggressive cleaning methods. Let us know how you make out.
 
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Old 12-29-14, 11:29 AM
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followup

Oxygen Bleach and elbow grease appear to be a solution.

Oh, I do want to clarify. My grout is Acrylic, pre-mixed, sanded, grout (not epoxy).

I used "Stain Solver" (bought mine from AskTheBuilder, but I see that Amazon carries it too. At first glance Amazon looks a lot cheaper than AskTheBuilder, but they're about the same when you add Amazon's shipping).
First, I vacuumed.
Then I mixed the "Stain Solver" in hot water. I liberally sponged that on as if I were making a weak attempt to clean the tile and grout. I left the floor pretty wet.
I covered the floor with bath mats to delay evaporation and to give my family something to walk on when they needed to visit the bathroom.
I left that on all night.
In the morning, I rinsed the stuff off with clear, warm, water which I changed frequently. The "Stain Solver" leaves white, powdery, ash behind.
Now the real work started. As I was rinsing, I scrubbed the grout lines. My grout lines are pretty wide (around 3/8 - 1/2"). I used an old, white, washcloth to scrub. In several areas, I wrapped the washcloth around the length of a composite shim and used that to scrub the grout line.

My wife says it looks as good as new. I'm not going that far, but it does look a whole lot better!

Thanks to those who shared their ideas.
 

Last edited by SturdyNail; 12-29-14 at 11:35 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-18-15, 10:15 PM
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Next time, just scrub those grout lines with Arm & Hammer Washing Soda followed by cleaning with hydrogen peroxide to see which one actually does the cleaning.

Here's the MSDS sheet for Stain Solver:
www.stainsolver.ca/201204/docs/SS_MSDS.pdf

It says Stain Solver is sodium percarbonate

Googling "Sodium Percarbonate" we get this Wikipedia web page:
Sodium percarbonate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

which says that:
" Dissolved in water, (sodium percarbonate) yields a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (which eventually decomposes to water and oxygen) and sodium carbonate ("soda ash").[1]"

Hydrogen Peroxide can be bought at any pharmacy.
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is soda ash.

ARM & HAMMERŪ Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster

Sodium Percarbonate is also sold under the trade name OxiClean.

That white stuff you saw was soda ash.

If I were you, I would now try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove the rest of the staining. I expect that "stain" was just dirt from people's feet, and it had accumulated in the small crevices of your grout lines. A Magic Eraser works well to remove dirt from tiny crevices because the foam it's made of has a very fine "bristle-like" structure, and those bristles can get into very tiny crevices to clean them out.

When using a Magic Eraser, it's more effective to scrub in small circles than it is to scrub hard with a back and forth motion. That's because a circular motion allows the bristles to get into the crevices from different directions and at different angles for better cleaning. Also, the plastic the Magic Eraser foam is made of is quite hard, so don't scrub aggressively as you could abrade the surface of your vinyl tiles making them rough and dull looking. As long as you don't scrub hard, the Magic Eraser should work if the discolouration is ordinary dirt. And, if the Magic Eraser cleans up all of the remaining dirt, it would have cleaned everything if you had started with using a Magic Eraser in the first place.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 01-18-15 at 11:06 PM.
 

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