4 Ways to Combat Grout Stains

Hand in yellow glove cleans the tile toothbrush.Most homeowners take pride in keeping a clean house, but one thing that stumps them is the pink staining, also referred to as biofilm, that occurs on kitchen and bathroom grout, tile and fixtures. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease, changes to the environment, and maintenance, that staining can be battled. There are several things that cause pink stain and it may be due to one of the following factors, or any combination of them.

1. Bacteria

Bacteria are present in every aspect of our lives and they grow best in warm, humid, and moist environments. They have also been shown to feed and colonize in fatty acids such as those found in cooking oils and body lotions. The most common bacterial cause of colored film around the home is called serratia marcescens, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that several types of biological contaminants can be found in drinking water. Even on its own, Serratia marcescens can cause pneumonia, urinary and respiratory tract infections, meningitis, and a greater chance of wound infection, especially in those with compromised immune systems.

2. Moist Surfaces and High Humidity

Moisture is very much to blame for the presence of pink stain and the constant need for thorough tile and grout cleaning. Anytime water is in constant contact with a surface it is in danger of becoming discolored. These areas may include those near leaky faucets, pet food dishes, and in toilet bowls. It may even be caused by bacteria that has colonized in a water heater. Even dry regions with low humidity may be in danger of staining because of ill-maintained humidifiers in the home.

3. Dusty Environments

Even if a surface looks clean it may still have the bacteria needed to cause biofilm buildup. Dust is a popular mode of transportation for bacteria. Recent construction, or having doors or windows open, can increase the chance of these bacteria getting into a home and settling on surfaces. Keeping windows closed and weekly dusting can slow the spread of these staining bacteria around the house.

4. Damaged Surfaces

Not only can the presence of biofilm cause damage to tile, grout and other surfaces, but the bacteria that lives within it can hide in the damage that it causes. This fact can make effective cleaning difficult and maintenance nearly impossible. In extreme cases, homeowners may choose to regrout or re-tile, but even this will not prevent future discoloration and staining.

Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently removal biofilm. However, regular cleaning and maintenance can aid in the prevention of pink staining. Experts suggest heavy scrubbing followed by disinfectant and a complete drying. Also, fixing leaking fixtures and thoroughly drying surrounding surfaces after each use is highly recommended in order to prevent more staining. By knowing what causes the discoloration of your tile and grout, homeowners can begin to fight back and keep a truly clean house.