Dingy, dirty tile grout. It’s a vexing problem. I know. I have a lot of tile and grout in my home, all of it white or light-colored. And without fail, within a couple of years of it being new, it gets more than dirty. No matter how diligent I am to clean it, that grout appears to be hopelessly stained. It is a problem for me. And for my readers, it’s right up in the questions I am asked most often.
I’ve recently made an awesome discovery—a product powerful enough to clean dirty, dingy-looking grout. It’s super cheap and contains no acid, bleach, or ammonia. How cheap? I just bought a 20 oz. bottle of it for $1. Not on sale, not a loss leader. That’s the regular price.
First, a story
One Saturday, at least 20 years ago the doorbell rang (how weird it is that I remember this so clearly?) There stood a young man bursting with enthusiasm. He held a bottle of his “miracle cleaner” moving right into demonstration mode to prove just how awesome it was.
Like some kind of whirling dervish, he sprayed the door frame, wiping it clean to show me all the dirt on the cloth. He sprayed the welcome mat. He went to work on the steps and before I knew what was happening, he walked right into the house, ready to clean everything in sight.
I looked at what he was holding and sure enough, it was awesome. That was the name of it! Awesome.
I bought a 16 oz. bottle from this guy for way-too-much-money for one reason: To get him to stop talking and leave before I became rude and insulting.
He was so annoying, but trying so hard to successful, I just couldn’t discourage his spirit. So I paid the guy and ended up with a bottle of his snake oil, which I suspected was nothing more than colored water.
I put that bottle on a shelf in the laundry room and completely forgot about it. Until now.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money to test commercial grout cleaners (they can be pricey!). And I’ve made and tested a lot of DIY recipes using everything from baking soda and lemon juice to Cream of Tartar, salt, and lime juice. Some things have worked somewhat to clean dirty grout a little—some better than others—but nothing so far has given results I would be enthusiastic to share with you. It’s been so frustrating! Here’s what happened:
In deciding whether to try yet one more commercial product that promised to be The One, I was reading Amazon reviews, which were all over the place. However, one review stood out to me as being authentic and helpful. The reviewer said that she’d tried the subject product and found it to be way too expensive, giving disappointing results.
She went on, “So, I decided to use what I have already, a bottle of Awesome. I sprayed it full strength on the grout and five minutes later scrubbed it with a brush, wiped it away, and rinsed with water. The dirt just disappeared!”
And that’s when it is me. Awesome. In a bottle. That guy. What are the chances I still have it? I found it in the first place I looked!
I have no recollection of packing and moving it from California to Colorado, but apparently I did because well, here it is! I couldn’t wait to give this 20-year old $20 bottle of cleaner a try.
I took a picture of a new grout test area—white porcelain tile with supposed-to-be-white grout. I sprayed Awesome on the dark dirty-looking grout, waited 5 minutes, scrubbed it with a stiff brush, wiped it off with microfiber, and rinsed the area with water. Wow!
This sent me into even deeper research mode on this Awesome product. I easily found the company’s website and learned the cleaner is alive and well, with a slight name change to LA’s Totally Awesome Concentrated Cleaner Degreaser and Spot Remover. Made in the USA in Buena Park, Calif., since 1983—the company is located only a few miles from where we lived.
Next, I was anxious to learn where LA’s Totally Awesome is sold. Are you ready? At Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99 Cents Only, Big Lots, and a number of grocery chains like Food4Less and Unified Grocers. It’s a regular in nearly every dollar store in the country.
I couldn’t get to my local Dollar Tree fast enough. I wanted to see for myself if indeed it’s a regular product there. But more than that, I wanted to see the going price. I easily found LA’s Totally Awesome All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner, Degreaser, Spot Remover, in the 20 oz. size for $1. Not kidding. One dollar.
By the way, LA’s Totally Awesome Concentrated Cleaner Degreaser and Spot Remover is available at Amazon, but many times more expensive.
Perfect stiff brush for grout
A friend gave me this handy brush set years ago. Since then I’ve purchased another so I can keep them handy. I’ve also given them as gifts! Perfect or grout cleaning, and every other household crack and crevice.
I can’t predict nor guarantee what your results might be should you decide to give Awesome a try. The bathroom where I tested turned out fabulous results (see above). But my laundry room? The first attempt showed only slight improvement. I am repeating the process.
I’m pretty sure this is because that room gets a lot of traffic including mud, snow, garage debris—much more than the guest bath where I tested. And while we sealed the grout in both rooms at install, we have failed to re-seal once a year, as required for tile grout. Whoops. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I’m testing Awesome on everything washable, as promised right there on the bottle. Maybe even the front door frame and welcome mat. This stuff really is … Awesome!
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