Gritty Grout: How to Finally Get Your Bathroom Sparkling Clean

in Apartment Living on by

Cleaning Grout

We’ve all been in one of those rental bathrooms. The ones that have the “ew” factor — dingy countertops, builder-grade cabinets, linoleum floors, and worst of all, a tub and shower that are less than desirable in the way of mold and dirty grout.

While your instinct may be to rip everything out and start from scratch, being a renter obviously prevents you from doing so. The next best option is to roll up your sleeves, buy a few things at the hardware store, and get to scrubbing. Here’s how to get your rental bathroom looking like its best self (without any major renovations, of course).

Replace the Shower Head

There’s nothing you can do to your bathroom that will feel more transformative than replacing the old shower head with a bright, shiny new one. Seriously, this DIY project could not be any easier. Simply remove the old shower head by unscrewing it, and replace it with your new one by screwing it on in its place. Voila! All you have to do is remember to remove it and replace it with the original one before moving out.

When it comes to buying things for your rental, it’s always wise to stay on the cheaper side — if anything just because you won’t be living there permanently. Of course, a shower head can easily be packed up and moved around, so go ahead and splurge on that rainfall model.

Scrub the Floors

Everyone loves to climb out of the shower feeling fresh and clean, but if the floors feel dirty and grimy every time you step out, it can make that good feeling disappear pretty quickly.

Here’s everything you need to get your floors sparkling clean:

  • A small broom and dust pan
  • An empty spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • A toothbrush or grout brush

First, sweep the floor and ensure that every bit of hair, dust, etc. has been removed form the tiles so you can start cleaning them. Then mix a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water in an empty spray bottle and shake it up lightly. Spray the solution liberally on the grout. Let the solution sit for five to ten minutes, and then scrub vigorously with a toothbrush or grout brush. You should start to see a difference right away. If the stains are especially stubborn, you can apply a paste made of two parts baking soda and one part water to it. Let it work its magic overnight, then wipe down the paste and dry the area with a towel. Additionally, you can add grout sealant to your floors to prevent future stains from setting in, but be sure to let the grout air dry for at least 24 hours before doing so.

Clean the Shower/Tub

Caulking Tools

The shower or tub in your bathroom is probably where most of grime collects. The amount of dirt, grime, or mold in your shower will determine your course of action when it comes to cleaning it. If your grout and caulking look pretty good, and you just have some built-up soap residue on the soap holder or fixtures, wipe everything down with a Magic Eraser (these things seriously work small miracles), or use a homemade 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water.

However, if your tub needs some more serious work done (meaning that your caulk is either peeling or moldy and your grout is dirty), there are several things you can do. First, work on the tile grout. Use the solution we mentioned earlier (a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle), and scrub it with a grout brush until the stains disappear.

After you’ve handled that, it’s on to the caulking. First, check with your landlord to see if they’d be willing to hire a handyman to recaulk the tub for you. Most landlords will be amenable to hiring someone, but in case they say no (or if you just want to learn how to do it yourself), you’ll be happy to hear that it’s a fairly simply project to tackle.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A putty knife
  • A caulk gun
  • Painter’s tape
  • Vinegar or Mineral Spirits
  • A clean microfiber cloth

First, you’ll need to get rid of all the old, dingy caulk. Using your putty knife, carefully remove all the caulking (making sure you’re not scratching the bathtub as you go). Once all of the old caulking is out, you’ll need to clean the exposed areas thoroughly. Use a mixture of white vinegar and water or Mineral Spirits, which are a little more heavy-duty, to remove dirt, grime, and any leftover caulking.

After you’ve cleaned everything thoroughly, dry it off with a microfiber cloth. Once everything is dry, use your painter’s tape to section off the seam and make it easier for you to apply the caulking. After you’ve taped everything, open your caulking gun and apply it to the seam. Try to keep the line steady and apply the same amount of pressure throughout the tub.

Once you’ve applied all of your caulking, remove the tape and wait 24 hours before using the shower again.

Too Grimy? Ask Your Landlord for Help

If your bathroom is seriously gross and can’t be helped by any amount of scrubbing, you might want to ask your landlord if they can do a little updating or repair work so that you don’t have to live with a filthy bathroom. After all, they probably wouldn’t like to take a shower in a tub filled with mold, either.

If you bring up the subject to your landlord and they seem hesitant, ask if you can work together to fix the bathroom. Offer to help in any way you can (even financially, if you’re able) so that you can fix the problem as quickly as possible. Whether the whole tub needs to be replaced or you just need a repairman to come and fix the tile or grout, it’ll be worth it for them in the long run because it’ll make the value of their property go up.

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