March 29, 2013

Bright, tight, white grout!

I have had many friends come over to my house and look at the size of my kitchen counters with envy.  They have marveled at how white the grout is on the counter-tops and want to know my secret.  I have no secret---just good old fashioned elbow grease and a desire to keep them from looking icky!  I learned from my mother the importance of taking care of what you have to increase its longevity.  I have just finished cleaning all of the white grout on my counter-tops   From the picture below you can see that is a LOT of grout.  So much so, I have to break it up into three stages!  If it didn't break it up I wouldn't be able to use my hands for anything for a week.  When we had this house built 11 years ago, I never thought about how much time I would spend cleaning this stuff...And I should have because I grew up in a home that had just as much tight white grout as this one (maybe a little more).

My Kitchen...standard tile, white appliances and oak cabinets, 

in all of their glory!  Eleven + years old

So, what is my point here?  Well...I have a couple of points to make.  First, the finishes on porcelain tile today are not the same as they were in 1970.  They are not as durable as they used to be due to a variety of factors (most of which are due to environment regulatory changes).  I will admit we had the standard garden variety Dal-Tile tile installed because I did not want to pay the builder one dime more than necessary since, I knew I would be changing it out for something chic right away.  Ha!  Famous last words.  That is also why I have oak cabinets (which I was going to paint immediately).

Second, over the years I have bleached, scrubbed and worn down the grout and tile to a point where it needs to be replaced.  Yes, I am a maniac regarding having clean counter-tops.  I have discovered that I can no longer clean with bleach due to allergies and scrubbing alone will not keep the grout white and free from stains.  Now, I have discovered LA Totally Awesome Grout Cleaner.  I have no idea what is in this stuff but it does not make me wheeze and my counters look totally awesome :)  It even gets the chips and cracks in the tile clean which makes them slightly more tolerable.  I do keep the dogs outside while I perform my surgical procedure on the grout.  All I have to do is spray it on...wait 15 minutes (the bottle says 5 minutes but 15 is better)...go over each grout line with an old spin brush tooth brush (larger brushes cause too much spatter and I don't like to have to clean furniture and floors after I am done)...then wipe it clean and dry.  Voila!  I do this about once every six weeks to keep everything looking fresh.

Third and final point is, whenever I think to myself I am going to change out something that is semi-permanent in my home I need to think again.  The truth is I will do my best to work with whatever I have until the last dog is hung, so to speak.  I simply can not rip out something that is in pristine condition no matter how much I dislike it.  My choice is to work around it and make it work until it's useful life has reached the end.  Unfortunately for me, my economic standing forces me to wait a while longer before replacing my counter-tops.  Such is life... Did I mention I get this cleaner for $1.00 at the Dollar Tree?

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