Cleaning grout

Featured: Cleaning grout

Cleaning grout

Camille Buchanan of rural Piatt County submitted this: I love my travertine quarry tile.

Story: Bridget Broihahn

Photos: Pratt Home Improvement

Camille Buchanan of rural Piatt County submitted this: I love my travertine quarry tile. It’s so easy to care for, but after a year of having it installed, the grout is dingy and black in some areas where there is often foot traffic. It was originally a light grey color. I bought a stiff brush and cleaned it with vinegar, and then again with bleach. It still looks terrible. I wouldn’t even mind paying someone to clean it, but I don’t even know where to look to get help! Can you help me?

Thank you, Camille. Yes, we can help you find someone to assist you with your grout issue.

Tile is beautiful. It is also durable. That’s what is so wonderful about it, too. Plus, it’s so easy to clean. Tile can be made from ceramic, stone, metal and even glass. It is used for floors and walls. It is durable, versatile and stylish. While tile floors and walls can be very maintenance-free, the grout can get very dirty and dingy. When it comes to grout, cleaning it is a very different story.

It has to be cleaned, too, because it can get really ugly. In a tiled entry-way, mudroom, kitchen or laundry room off of the garage or kitchen can result in a lot of grime from spills, dirty shoes and day-to-day living. In the bathroom, mold and mildew is the culprit to tackle when cleaning grout, too.

To clean bathroom tile grout, a bleach product is often used, as you did. And for floor tile grout, many use vinegar, as you also did. However, this can degrade the grout, and it will soon need to be replaced.

We talked with Jim Pratt of Pratt Home Improvement. He suggested that you leave this dirty work to the experts. They will come out and give customers a free estimate on their grout-cleaning job.

“We use a steel brush. We use a spray solution, wait and then sponge it with water,” Pratt said.

Pratt said it looks like new when it’s done. He won’t give us his trade secret formula, but from the looks of it, this formula makes pretty easy work of this dirty and tiring task.

“Before I even quote customer’s a price, I do a test section to see if it will give them their desired results,” Pratt said.

Pratt said they handle requests from Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Gibson City, Decatur, Danville, Western Indiana, Southern Illinois, Rantoul, Monticello, Tuscola, and neighboring communities. They also offer services in roofing, siding, windows, doors, seamless gutters, gutter protection, sunrooms, retractable awnings, decks, and, of course, grout cleaning.

“Give us a call, “Pratt said.

The telephone number for Pratt Home Improvements is 217-621-5176. They are located at 300 Prairie Lane Drive, Monticello. Visit their website at

“Ask the expert” is a feature where local home experts give advice to our readers. Each issue will have a different expert from the area. If you have a question for our “Ask the expert,” please submit it to, or call us at 217-351-5695.