Can you use cleaning solutions that contain ammonia or bleach to clean grout?

While this question reads like the answer will be either ammonia or bleach, there is much more to it.  Can you use cleaning solutions that contain ammonia or bleach to clean grout?

As with many of our grout-related topics, the real question is, “Should you use cleaning solutions that contain ammonia or bleach to clean grout?”  At The Grout Medic, we know that ammonia and bleach are not the kinds of solutions you want to use to clean your grout.  But the layperson might not realize the damage they are doing to their tiled surfaces by using these chemicals.  Why are bleach and ammonia poor choices for grout cleaning solutions?

can you use ammonia or bleach to clean grout
Should you use ammonia or bleach to clean grout?

Using caustic cleaning solutions like ammonia or bleach can cause severe discoloring to your tile’s grout.

We highly advise against using ammonia or bleach to clean any grout.  Cleaning solutions that contain bleach or ammonia will not only work to erode your grout over time, they will cause your grout to become even dirtier by leaving a film behind, which attracts dirt.  Did you ever think that cleaning your floor or shower would make your tile and grout dirtier?  Cleaners that contain bleach or ammonia can even fade the color of your grout, leaving you with an uneven appearance.

can you use ammonia to clean grout
Don’t clean grout with ammonia or bleach.

If it smells strong, it must clean grout well, right?

Since many store-bought cleaning solutions contain ammonia or bleach, homeowners trust them to be the right choices for household cleaning.  Our whole lives, we have experienced the noxious fumes that are put out by household cleaners.  Many homeowners believe those fumes are directly related to the strength of the cleaning provided – the more fumes, the better it works.  It’s a vicious cycle, and regularly using these harsh cleaning solutions on grout will decrease the life of your tiled surface.

It’s all about the pH of the cleaning solution.

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14.  Chemicals that are on the scale from 0 to 6 are acidic.  Chemicals that are a 7 have a neutral pH.  Chemicals that are 8 to 14 are alkaline.  How does this apply to cleaning solutions?  Household cleaners that contain bleach or ammonia rank 11 to 13 on the pH scale, which means they are highly alkaline.  Though alkaline solutions cut through dirt and grease, they will erode and discolor grout.  The same goes for acidic solutions.  Battery acid is a 0, on the pH scale.  Vinegar is a 2 on the pH scale.  Vinegar is often recommended to be a grout cleaning home remedy, but The Grout Medic never recommends using anything acidic or alkaline to clean your precious grout and tile.  You should also forego the traditional scrubbing and scouring, which also promote grout deterioration over time.

can you use bleach to clean grout
Only pH-neutral solutions should be used to clean grout.

Grout cleaning done right – safe, effective, and GREEN.

At The Grout Medic, we only employ pH-neutral cleaning solution if a pre-treatment is required prior to steam cleaning your grout.  Our low-pressure hot water vapor steam grout cleaning system will effectively blast away dirt, germs, mildew, and mold that are embedded in your grout.  The 310°F steam produced by our grout cleaning system will leave your tiled surface beautifully-clean, fresh, and disinfected.  Perhaps the most noticeable difference in our professional grout cleaning service is that you will never experience toxic odors.  Once your grout is cleaned, we will seal it to help prevent future penetration of dirt, germs, and staining.  This will help you keep your tiled surfaces cleaner between professional cleanings.  In between professional grout cleanings, you can simply use a soft, moist towel and a pH-neutral cleaner to wipe away surface dirt.

Also read: What Not to Do When Cleaning Tile & Grout

Make sure your grout looks as good as new with a thorough, in-depth steam cleaning by The Grout Medic. Please don’t use bleach or ammonia to clean your grout, as it will only cause severe discoloration. Get in touch with us by filling out our form here. We look forward to hearing from you!