Cleaning is not on the top of my to do list. It is actually not on my to do list at all if I can help it.
Before you think I have not cleaned my floors for twenty years I need to explain about my tile floor.
In the spring we moved to a new home. It was not knew in the sense of knewly built. It was new to us though.
My bargain hunting skills had spilled over to to finding a home, and we found a bank owned property. The story of that little journey is a story for another day. But suffice to say, foreclosures are not for the faint of heart!
A few weeks after we moved in my ten year old informed me that there was a mushroom growing in the carpet outside of the bathroom.
With a fungus growing in my carpet the dirty grout in the kitchen seemed very minor. With eight kids that seem to think a door mat is for decoration it was not a priority.
I did know that the grout was not actually black because there were areas that looked as if no one had ever stepped on it. The actual color was a pale beige.
When we had first moved in I had all that " new home" energy and had spent an hour sitting on the floor scrubbing away with an old tooth brush and some cleaner of some sort. After a 2ft square area took an hour and enough elbow grease to fill a large vat I gave up feeling despondant and exhausted.
The sheer size of the floor teamed with that amount of effort was an enthusiasm damper. Visions of work camps in the salt mines of Russia came to mind. The mushroom was a welcome distraction. The floor was left for another day ( or year). Maybe at some point I would do one of those Pinterest paint your floor and stencil it things. Life and mushrooms in the carpet went on.
Life and time marched on. The mushroom farm had been removed and we had settled in to the house.
The floor in the kitchen was not on my radar as the experience of the first cleaning attempt was burned in my memory.
One day I read about a friend that had had more success than me in her grout cleaning escapades. She had used essential oils and baking soda.
I was not immediately inspired to get down on my hands and knees to scrub grout and as most things do it slipped my mind and either floated out of sight or got stored somewhere in the recesses of my cleaning memory bank.
Days and weeks passed by and one day I was in the kitchen and looked down as I shut the door to the fridge. The image of black grout paired up with the memory of reading about grout cleaning. I would do anything to avoid doing dishes so I decided to have a go at the grout.
I was too lazy to go and search for the post on my computer as it was now buried under 500 notifications and I knew that if I started looking I would be off on another trail of interest reading about someone's trip to Bora Bora or how they made a batch of cookies with their kids for a homeschool home ec lesson.
I got out my bottle of Thieves Ultra- Concentrated cleaner.
Months before I had become one of those crazy oil ladies. You know them. You all have on in your circle of friends. I had succumbed to the world of oils. After becoming totally addicted to the oils I moved into the realms of the cleaning products that Young Living makes.
They manufacture a whole line of cleaning products based around the blend of oils called "Thieves". There is a delightful legend about how this blend came into being. A band of robbers was caught pillaging victims of the plague in the 15th century. They traded their lives for the secret of how they survived without getting sick.
" Thieves" is a blend of the oils that they used. Science has proven the properties of these oils. Young Living has a whole line of products based around this blend from dental floss to cough drops.
It took me a while before I actually ordered a bottle of the cleaner. I had been making natural cleaning products for years and used vinegar and hydrogen peroxide as my sanitizing cleaners. For some reason my kids objected to the smell of vinegar. I on the other hand loved it as it conjured up memories of fish and chips.
My kids have enough of an aversion to cleaning without needing another one so I finally broke down and decided to order a bottle of this concentrate stuff. To say I was a skeptic was an understatement. Well, after a few sprays I was sold. This stuff is magic in a bottle. It not only cleans really well but it smells fantastic. What other cleaner can you take big lungfuls of and know it is good for you?
I am a cook that loves to play with a recipe. I color outside the lines. I like to play. Being that I did not have my friend's recipe at hand I decided to make up my own. I made up a very concentrated bottle of cleaner using a cup of water and a cap full of cleaner. A dilution for windows would be 30.1. I was using 8.1.
I also know from using my oils that lemon oil is a very powerful de-greaser. It is also very cheap compared to many oils as lemons are plentiful. Even though it takes about 75 lemons to make a 15ml bottle of oil it is still only about $15 for a bottle containing 250 drops. 1-2 drops is all that a person normally uses. I decided to add 8 to my spray bottle to boost the cleaning power of the Thieves cleaner.
THE RESULTS WERE ASTONISHING
THIS IS GROUT. IT IS NOT BLACK PAINT! THE BLACK IS DIRT! ( NOT MY DIRT)
THIS IS AFTER WITH VERY LITTLE ELBOW GREASE.
If you live in northern NJ I still have quite a few tiles left for you to test this on.
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES. ACTUALLY, YOU WILL NOT FIND ONE. CLICK ON THE PICTURE ABOVE AND IT WILL TAKE YOU TO MY YOUNG LIVING WEBSITE. IF YOU ARE A LOCAL FRIEND I WILL ADD A BOTTLE TO MY ORDER FOR YOU OR IF I REALLY LIKE YOU I WILL GIVE YOU A SAMPLE TO TAKE HOME AFTER YOU TEST SOME ON MY GROUT.
I DON'T NORMALLY USE MY OILS TO CLEAN WITH IF I CAN HELP IT. THESE OILS ARE THE PUREST THAT YOU CAN BUY. THEY ARE NOT CHEAP FOR A REASON. SAYING THAT, LEMON IS NOT EXPENSIVE. 75 LEMONS ARE NEEDED TO MAKE A 15ML BOTTLE CONTAINING ABOUT 250 DROPS IF OIL. I USED EIGHT DROPS IN A CUP OF CLEANER. THIS APPEALS ( PEELS, THAT IS A PUN IF YOU MISSED IT) TO MY FRUGAL NATURE.
THIS IS A NIFTY INEXPENSIVE TOOL THAT FITS PERFECTLY IN THE LINE OF THE GROUT. WHY WASTE EFFOT CLEANING OTHER PARTS OF THE TILE. IT WILL AGITATE THE AREA YOU NEED TO CLEAN WITH VERY STIFF BRISTLES. THERE ARE GROUT CLEANING BRUSHES THAT ATTACH TO A DRILL BUT UNLESS YOU WANT A REALLY BIG MESS IN YOUR KITCHEN STICK TO THE HAND HELD VERSION. YOU WILL NOT NEED THE POWER TOOL WITH THIS JOB AS THE CLEANER AND OIL MELT THE DIRT.
WITH MY LITTLE TRIBE I DO QUITE A BIT OF CLEANING. ONE ANY GIVEN DAY THERE IS A 30 OUNCE SPRAY BOTTLE HANGING FROM MY APRON POCKET. THE SMALLER SPRAY BOTTLE IS PERFECT FOR THIS JOB AS IT IS EASIER AND LIGHTER TO HANDLE. 8 OUNCES OF CLEANER COVER A LARGE AREA OF GROUT BECAUSE YOU ARE ONLY SPRAYING THAT GROUT AND NOT THE REST O THE TILE. I FOUND SOME REALLY PRETTY METALLIC ONES AT THE DOLLAR STORE BEFORE CHRISTMAS BUT I LOVE THE GLASS ONES.
DISHES IN ENGLAND ARE WASHED IN A PLASTIC DISH BOWL IN THE SINK. THEY ARE SOLD HERE IN MOST LARGE MASS MERCHANDISE STORES BUT I SELDOM SEE PEOPLE WASHING DISHES IN THEM. SPONGES ARE BANNED AT MY HOUSE BECAUSE THEY ARE GERM FACTORIES. I BUY PACKS OF WHITE FACECLOTHS TO USE INSTEAD. THESE ARE CHEAP AND EASILY WASHED OUT. THIS COMBINATION IS PERFECT FOR CLEANING UP THE GROUT AFTER IT HAS BEEN CLEANED.
SPRAY THE GROUT LINE WITH THE MIX OF THIEVES CLEANER AND LEMON OIL.
COVER THIS WITH BAKING SODA.
SPRINKLE OR SPRAY SOME WATER ON TOP OF THE BAKING SODA.
LET THE MIX SIT FOR A FEW MINUTES AND THEN RUB BACK AND FORTH A COUPLE OF TIMES WITH THE GROUT BRUSH. THE BAKING SODA PASTE WILL TURN BEIGE.
PUT WARM WATER IN THE DISH BOWL TO RINSE THE CLOTH AFTER YOU MOP UP THE PASTE. THE RUBBER GLOVES PROTECT FROM THE DIRT COMING OFF THE GROUT NOT THE CLEANER
RINSE AND REPEAT AFTER YOU DO A HAPPY DANCE AT HOW EASY THAT WAS.
SEND ME A MESSAGE TO FIND OUT WHY THESE ARE THE ONLY OILS I WILL EVER USE.
before I rush off to clean more of my grout I have to write a little disclaimer. This post contains affiliate links. WHOA!! If you click on a picture or highlighted writing it will take you to Amazon or my oil website. You will not pay more for a product but I am rewarded if you buy something. Feel free to buy that private jet, Tesla etc while you are getting the grout brush.