Our kitchen floor has bothered me on some level since moving in. This dislike of our tile increased when I realized our living/dining tile's grout was not meant to be dark. Ick. Then the nesting psychosis hit and then all the tile was really starting to bug me. The kitchen tile is worse as it's white and doesn't wear well because the grout looks dirty regardless of how many times it's cleaned. In my nesting state of mind, this isn't acceptable. I can't bring a baby home to house with grout in our tile's condition.
So I did what any sane person would do: I Google'd obsessively. I discovered that the concensus was that powdered oxygen bleach worked best for this particular kind of tile. I bookmarked product names. I planned to pick some up at Home Depot.
Then the crazy pregnant lady took over and one day, she decided the tile needed to be deep-cleaned. And now. She, of course, couldn't wait to get the highly recommended product either. Nope, she went for a similar product with less promising results for this particular endeavor: Oxiclean.
I mixed up a concoction and because I wanted it to really oxygenate, I may have added more Oxiclean than I was supposed to. I then proceeded to spray it on the "test area." The general idea of the process I found was minimal scrubbing (AKA time on the floor). I was simply supposed to spray, leave sit for 15-30 minutes, then basically mop over.
The Hubs left to run errands and gave me strict instructions to only do the test area. He wasn't thrilled with me doing any of it. He'd much rather have me propping up Shrek.
I started baking chocolate chip pumpkin bars, which actually turned out to be more of a cake...and gooooood, if I do say so myself. As I mixed the ingredients with our new hand/stand mixer, I felt my eyes wandering over to the flooded tile grout. I'd sneak over and see a little bit of bubbling action. If I ran the scrubber over it, dirt broke free of the grout. My inner "Monica" was practically giddy. I looked around me, squirt bottle in hand, and despite Budaj eyeing me as though to say "Dad said the test area only," I justified that the test area wasn't properly "flooded." Then the surrounding grout areas were particularly dark and we couldn't possibly have that.
And then the entire kitchen and bathroom floors were soaked in Oxiclean solution.
Long story short, the project was not as simple as initially thought. Particularly when the grout started to get white buildups of Oxiclean that did not want to come off. (For the sake of the Mama, I will clarify that during the fairly brief scrubbing process, I sat on a cushion and scooted. At no time was I on my knees and there were no fumes emitted from said Oxiclean solution.) After the scrub, I steam mopped the kitchen and living/dining rooms (no tile was safe) and found the Oxiclean was collecting on the steam mop cloth and when the floor dried, the tile was left with a thick white film that we (and the dogs) couldn't help but track around the house.
I used up my steam mop cloths and then was forced to wait for them to get cleaned in the wash. By that time, all's I wanted to do was sit. So I did. Over the next few days, I'd continue to try steam-mopping. I'm happy to report, the haze is finally starting to lift, although there are some spots that need the Oxiclean soaked off.
The verdict? It worked fairly well, but I think I'm over having the tile grout look brand new. It looks a lot better even though there's some uneveness in the grout darkness. I'm happy that I got as much dirt out of the grout as I did. (Enough to get 3 full-size towels good and grimey.) I certainly won't be flooding the floors with Oxiclean anytime soon.
Here are the before/after pics of the kitchen tile. I took a before of the living/dining room, but forgot to take an after.
It'll take more swipes with the steam mop to get those Oxiclean build-up areas off (not pictured). If I were to take on this project again, I'd use one of those sponge mops and clean it a lot with fresh water. I think that would have cut down the overall time quite a bit.
Like I said, not planning to do this project again for a loooong time...and next time, I'll go with one of the recommended products. No disrespect to Oxiclean, the stuff works wonders in the laundry, but it's pricey and we seem to go through it fast.