How to Determine if Your Bathroom Tile Needs Maintenance

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. -Benjamin Franklin

 

The bathroom is often the dirtiest place in your house and usually, requires more than just cleaning.

 

Normal wear and tear are common in areas that are cleaned more often and stay wet for extended periods, like your shower. Properly maintaining your shower is important for your health and your wallet. A small investment in preventative maintenance could save you thousands of dollars.  

 

Look for these bathroom conditions to find out if you need tile maintenance. 

 

Your tile is dirty, dull, discolored or stained

Lots of things lead to these conditions. Poor cleaning, maintenance and using the wrong cleaners are just a few. Have you heard the expression " You can't get clean in a dirty shower"? There are so many different bacteria that thrive on tile and in the grout. Streptococcus and Staph are among many found present if your bathroom. If your tile looks like this, it's time to call in a team for professional grout cleaning...

 

The bathroom tile is covered in soap scum, mold, and cracking

These conditions feed off one another. Bar soap notoriously leaves behind a residue as do most body washes. This "soap scum" is a breeding ground for mold which we all know is bad. Mold exposure can cause sneezing, itchy eyes and a scratchy throat as well as damage the grout. It will get very expensive to repair tile once water has gotten behind it. If your shower looks like one of these examples, you need more than routine maitenance...

Severely cracked tile

If there is a crack in your shower grout then water is definitely getting behind the tile. Anywhere that is happening needs to be addressed immediately and repaired. The little black line that you think might be mold could very well be a crack.

That little space in the corner that you keep ignoring is probably a crack. Maybe they are small now but trust me, they will get bigger and so will the cost to repair them.

Leaking water will damage the board behind your tile, causing the tiles to become loose. If you think a tile is loose, try this test:

  • Lightly knock on a loose tile and it will make a high pitched hollow sound.
  • Knocking on a well-set tile will make a dull thunk. 

Once water is behind your shower, mold will set in and the board will start to deteriorate. Once the board starts breaking down the damage can grow exponentially. It must be removed and replaced.  

 Cement board behind tile completely deteriorated

Cement board behind tile completely deteriorated

 Again, severe water damage.

Again, severe water damage.

Sometimes everything looks fine to the untrained eye but in this picture, all the walls in this shower are exhibiting the signs of severe water damage.

The tiles are no longer attached to the board. The only thing holding them up is the grout between them. Yikes! This is now no longer a repair but a renovation. Replacing wall board is time-consuming and costly. All the tiles must be cleaned of old adhesive, mold treated and kept track of so that they all fit back together correctly. The board must be cut out anywhere mold has grown.

Don't let this happen to you! Do your maintenance early. Your grandmother was right, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

7 Affordable Alternatives to Major Kitchen Updates

The kitchen is the heart of your home, right? So many amazing memories happen while prepping in the kitchen.

It’s my favorite place to try new recipes and host when friends come over. No other room is quite as useful, fun, and multifunctional as the kitchen and you want it to look fantastic when you have people over to visit, right?

When you first wake up and go to the kitchen to make your coffee, you want to feel good and ready to take on a new day. You want your kitchen to look as good as it makes you feel when you are in it (or if you’re contemplating major updates, maybe it doesn’t make you feel so good right now). Completely renovating your kitchen is expensive and time consuming. Here are a few affordable alternatives to spruce up your kitchen in a big way but with much less financial impact!

Whether you want to improve your kitchen for yourself or you’re selling your home, these ideas will work for you. You can add visual appeal and functionality for yourself or potential buyers. Don’t let the thought of updating your kitchen intimidate you. These are some super easy and affordable alternatives to expensive updates that can make a big difference in your space.

Update your Cabinets Instead of Replacing Them

Cabinets take up most your kitchen walls so they make a huge impact on the overall feel of your kitchen. Of course, if they aren’t looking their best, you are noticing it daily. If you can’t stand to look at those dreary cabinets any longer, you may be wanting to replace them altogether. However, replacing your cabinets will take a lot of money and time to complete.

An easier and more affordable approach may be to paint your existing cabinets a fresh color and replace the hardware. You can totally update the entire look of your kitchen this way. Hardware may seem like a small element but you can transform your cabinets with that minor change. And if you add painting the cabinets a new color, it will be like a whole new kitchen. Paint can even hide minor imperfections in the cabinets and make them appear new again

Update Your Grout Instead of Replacing Your Backsplash

A backsplash is necessary in every kitchen to protect the walls from liquid, food, and knives. These items would damage your walls without the backsplash. Although, the tile between your cabinets is functional, you also like it to be pretty and make a nice statement in the room. If it’s your backsplash that is causing a problem for you, consider upgrading the grout between the tiles to make the old tiles appear new again. You can hire a professional to completely restore and renew the appearance of your grout lines. Believe it or not, cleaning and painting your grout lines can transform the entire backsplash. Freshen up the appearance of the existing tile for a fraction of the price of replacing it altogether.

Replacing Your Sink Fixtures Instead of Replacing Your Sink

Oh, the sink. Not the best of times are had here, right? I mean who likes doing dishes? If your sink needs an update, you should consider getting a new faucet and drain rather than replacing the entire sink. This is especially true if you want to stay within a budget. Sink sizes vary a lot and you could incur some serious countertop work by upgrading to a larger sink. This means keeping your existing sink is the best way to avoid a heavy price tag and a lot of work. Don't forget to make the new faucet and drain match the updated hardware on your cabinets to create a cohesive design within the room. That will look so great!

Adding a Hutch Instead of Expanding Your Pantry

Between the kids and the pets, there’s never enough pantry space. Sometimes it may seem like the pantry is bursting at the seams. I mean how much stuff do you have to move around to after a grocery shopping trip? If you need more storage space and don't like the idea of a traditional pantry renovation, consider adding a hutch to the space. Adding a hutch to the kitchen or dining room to hold the plates, cups, and mugs can open a lot of room for other stuff. This will allow more space for food in your pantry and cabinets without having to worry about building a bigger pantry.

Add Crown Molding Instead of Getting Bigger Cabinets

If your cabinets don’t quite touch your ceiling, consider adding crown molding to create a better flow in the room. Adding crown molding is a simple way to make your kitchen look and feel bigger. This is an especially great tip if you are wanting to sell your home. Crown molding above your cabinets adds great value to your kitchen and home altogether. Instead of installing larger cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling, you can add crown molding to the top edge of your cabinets to connect them to your ceiling and give the same appearance. If you’ve ever replaced your cabinets, you know that it’s no easy task. It’s expensive and takes a while and you must empty out all your cabinets which is a major pain. Try adding crown molding for a cheaper and easier solution to the problem.

Updating Your Island Instead of Updating All Countertops

You may think that you can’t update your island without updating all your countertops, but think again. It’s a new trend that taking over kitchens across America. Okay, it’s not that serious but it’s true! If you can’t afford to update the granite in your kitchen, consider making your island into a statement piece. You can make it a funky color or even an opposite version of the granite on your other countertops. The most important thing to keep in mind when making your island stand out is that you must maintain a strong contrast. If the countertops around the kitchen are dark gray and you make the island countertops light gray, it may look too similar and like it was a mistake. It would be much more appealing if the dark gray countertops went with white granite on the island and the contrast is noticeably something that you did on purpose.

Updating Your Floor’s Grout Instead of Getting New Floors

If your floors need to be brightened up, you may be considering getting new tiles. However, if your tiles are not cracked, they are probably just fine! But, did you know that grout is extremely porous and remains that way? So, every time that you mop, the dirty water seeps into the grout lines and they become dirtier and dirtier with each “cleaning”! If you do grout cleaning methods on your own with a toothbrush and cleaning solution, you can break down your grout or even make it worse. If you end up getting the grout cleaned on your own, it will be temporary. Consider hiring a professional to clean and re-color your grout to transform the look of your floors without breaking the bank. This solution will last much longer than DIY grout cleaning processes and make a big impact on the appearance of your floors.

Have you tried any of these affordable updates in your kitchen?

5 DIY Grout Hacks and When to Call A Professional

5 DIY Grout Hacks and When to Call A Professional

Grout is the porous filling between your tile floors and shower walls. Most of us never think about it until there's a problem.

The adhesive that holds the tiles to the wall or floor can take days or even weeks to dry, so grout is placed between tiles to not only seal them in but also to allow enough air through to continue the drying process under the tiles.  This means that grout is extremely porous although it doesn’t appear that way to the naked eye.  Tiles are solid and easy to clean, grout, on the other hand, will suck up dirty water and it can become impossible to get the grime out of the lines once it is inside.  This means...

Complete Bathroom Cleaning Checklist [Printable]

Complete Bathroom Cleaning Checklist (13 Steps to a Sparkling Powder Room)

Clean your bathroom the right way, with our complete checklist.

Keeping your bathroom clean can be a drag. When was the last time you looked at the tile in your shower and thought, “We are disgusting pigs”?

We know, it happens to all of us.

One of the reasons the bathroom is a prime spot for build up is because of how we clean. When life gets busy, most of us forget to do the simple maintenance cleaning. Instead, we only spot clean what looks dirty.

The problem?

Tile and grout often don’t “look dirty” until the grime builds up so much that it’s a big job to scrub.

So many of our customers, at Mrs. Grout, ask us how to keep their bathrooms in top shape. We decided it was time to help. Print out our complete checklist, tape it inside your medicine cabinet door and check off one small task each day. Or, take 45-minutes to an hour once per week to do it. Whichever works better for you. The regular weekly cleaning will keep you free of huge jobs that leave you overwhelmed each spring.

 

Complete Bathroom Cleaning Checklist

Each of these tasks should be done at least once per week, if you want to avoid big headaches down the road. Your bathroom checklist includes...

Complete Bathroom Checklist Spring Hill, FL | MrsGrout.com

 

 

1. Clean the Tub and/or Shower.

The first, and often most difficult, place to tackle is the bathtub and/or shower. Tile and grout can quickly become a big job, when left unattended for more than a few days. If you are already dealing with a lot of mold, damaged grout, or tough water stains, call an expert like Mrs. Grout to help you. Otherwise, follow these steps to keep your tub and shower clean:

  • Mix up a home brew for bathroom bliss. It isn’t necessary to buy expensive and potentially dangerous chemical cleaners for your shower. Instead, use an empty spray bottle to mix a quarter cup of vinegar, a few drops of lemon essential oil, two drops of Dawn dish detergent and fill with water. Use this solution to spray your shower daily or for heavier cleaning with a sponge once or twice per week.

  • Add a little baking soda. For light mildew and water spots a little baking soda might be necessary. Mix up a thin paste in a bowl and use a soft-bristle brush (A toothbrush works great for this) to gently scrub the toughest spots.

  • Wipe down glass and/or tub with your spray. After every shower, spray and wipe down glass or tub. This will keep water stains from building up in the first place.

  • Rinse and repeat. The key to keeping your shower in great shape is to spray and wipe it down often. Keep mold and mildew at bay by spraying your shower with your bathroom bliss solution at the end of your shower, then wipe it down every few days.

Once you start cleaning your shower regularly, you might want to consider trading in your bar soap for a liquid version. The residue from bar soap is difficult to clean and the most likely to build up in your shower. Once the new bottle of shower gel is on the shelf, look up a bit to address step two...

 

2. Wipe down the shower rods and rings.

If your bathroom has a tub/shower combo, it probably also has a shower rod and curtain. The rod and rings are often an overlooked place where mildew and stains build up. Once per week, take two minutes to grab a damp washcloth and wipe it down.

 

3. Clean the Vanity.

The bathroom sink and vanity area are prime location for muck and yuck. Between makeup, hair care products, men’s shaving, and toothpaste, it can become a  cornucopia of buildup and residue that can leave you scrubbing for hours or resorting to the harshest chemicals.

How do you avoid this sink gunk?

Wipe it down every day. Clean it off once per week.

Keep a bottle of your Bathroom Bliss solution under the sink with some paper towels. At the end of your makeup routine, simple wipe down the vanity before heading out the door.

Once per week, take everything off the top and give the vanity a good scrubbing. Your mother was right, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

 

4. Scrub the Sink Fixtures.

You know that little drain cover or stopper in your sink? Have you ever removed it?

We have. It’s a dark wet place, so mold likes to live there.

Once per week, grab your baking soda solution and scrub the drain block and fixtures of your sink/s. Rinse them. Then, spritz a paper towel lightly with windex and wipe them down. No more grungy faucets and molded drains for you!

 

5. Shine the mirror.

That spot you thought was a pimple? It’s actually muck on your mirror.

Once your sink and vanity are shiny, use the same Bathroom Bliss Cleaner to lightly spray the mirrors. If you have an old newspaper, use it to wipe down the mirrors. If not, paper towels will do too.

 

6. Clean out the drawers.

Apartment Therapy recommends saving the drawer organizing until after the bathroom is clean and we agree. Just don’t do the floors first. Dust, makeup and unknown junk often end up falling out during this stage. So save the floor scrubbing until after your drawers and cabinets are organized.

Unlike the other items on this list, you only have to clean up drawers once, if you keep things organized from then on out. We like these expandable drawer organizers from InterDesign to help you keep everything easy to see and accessible.

 

7. Clean out the medicine cabinet.

Like drawers and cabinets, the medicine cabinet can end up being a landing spot for lots of stuff you don’t need or use. Take a few minutes every few months to clean it out, wipe down the insides, and reorganize.

 

8. Disinfect the toilet.

Your least favorite job often gets ignored until a suspicious ring of scum starts to form around the bowl. That’s the point when it becomes a must-do job. Instead, why not use that trusty Bathroom Bliss cleaner to wipe down the outside of the bowl once per week? Then, every few days, pour a few drops of tea tree oil and ⅛ cup of vinegar into the bowl before you get in the shower.  Then, drop two denture cleaner tablets in the bowl and close the lid (so puppies or kittens don't get into it) and let it sit overnight.

 Viola! You’re toilet is clean and odor-free.

 

9. Clean the Wastebasket.

We’re not brave enough to talk about all the things that end up in your bathroom trash can. That’s why the bathroom cleaning checklist wouldn’t be complete without a bit of attention to the wastebasket.

If you keep a liner in the can, all you have to do is change it once per week. We like these cute and biodegradable liners from Compac Design.

For unlined cans, you will need to rinse it out every few weeks. Empty the trash, then set the can on the floor of your shower, turn the water on for a second, turn the can over and let it dry. It’s the easiest and least messy way to get all the gunk out of the bottom without making a mess of your sink or your manicure.

 

10. Unclog the air vents.

An often neglected part of your bathroom clean up is the air vents. Since you’re creating steam and residue in the bathroom constantly, these can get moldy and clogged quickly. Once per month, pull out a step ladder and climb up high with your bottle of bathroom bliss homemade cleaner and a screw driver. Then follow these instructions:

  • Using the screwdriver, remove the vent.

  • Wipe the inside down with a paper towel and your cleaner.

  • Climb down from the ladder and take a few minutes to give the vent cover a thorough cleaning.

  • Replace the vent cover.

This process might sound like a pain, but it helps keep the air healthy and the bathroom shiny.

 

11. Clean the baseboards.

Just like the air vent, baseboards are often overlooked. Take time to clean them every month or so and your floors will always look their best (Learn more about keeping your floors in top shape here).

 

12. Wash and air-dry the rugs.

Any rugs on the bathroom floor will pick up lots of hair, dust, and toiletry residue. We recommend picking them up and running them through the wash (Check the label to make sure yours are machine washable, most bathroom rugs are) every weekend. Lay them out in the sun to dry and keep any weird smells out of your bathroom’s permanent odor.

 

13. Clean the floors.

The final task on your checklist is to tackle the floors. Sweep or vacuum every couple of day. Once per week, grab your spray bottle again and using a rag to spray and wipe the tile down. Most bathrooms are too small to make a big mop practical. It’s easier to clean the floor with spray bottle and mop.

Now that you understand how to clean your bathroom quickly and easily, download a printable copy of the complete checklist for your medicine cabinet door by clicking here. Then, it’s time to get to work. We promise, if you follow our tips this not-so-fun activity will be done in no time.

Do you have a great tip for cleaning the bathroom that we missed on our list? Let us know in the comments and you could be featured in an upcoming spotlight.