Vinegar in the shower… just say no!

The vinegar used for cleaning eroded the grout of the shower floor exposing the spaces between the tiles

The vinegar used for cleaning eroded the grout of the shower floor exposing the spaces between the tiles

Many of our clients strive to use chemical-free cleaning products when it comes to household maintenance and some web sites tout a solution of vinegar and water as the only cleaner one needs. While that may be true for many things, it is absolutely not true for your shower! According to the web site of the Tile Council of North America, “grout is based primarily of cement and sand. Sand, like glass, is unaffected chemically by most cleaners. Cement is not – rather it is alkaline based and is dissolved by acids. As baking soda and vinegar react, so do grout and vinegar.”

We saw this first hand when a great client called us to take a look at something strange that was happening with her shower tile. Her grout was literally being eaten away! When I asked what product she used to clean her glass shower door, she responded “just a solution of vinegar and water.” The vinegar kept the glass door spotless, but wreaked havoc on the floor grout. In the end, we had to re-tile the shower floor completely.

The Tile Council of North America recommends homeowners use alkaline based cleaners for grout (they mention Spic and Span and Mr. Clean by name). Additionally, cleaning products that are specifically formulated for grout and tile are available at most hardware stores, home improvement centers and tile distributors.
For more information on how to maintain your tile and grout, visit the Tile Council of North America’s very informative web site at: www.tcnatile.com