Located between flooring and wall tiles, grout can harbor unsightly stains and unpleasant smells. Various common household problems can cause these nose-wrinkling odors to develop between the tiles. The grout will trap these odors, which can last for weeks after initial incident. Fortunately, you can remove the tile grout smell using inexpensive items.
A typical problem in bathrooms, urine can drip onto the floor tiles and grout. The urine will cause the grout to develop a dingy, yellow discoloration and give off an unpleasant odor. After you have removed the urine and its accompanying odor, take the necessary precautions to keep the odor from returning. Clean bathroom floors and grout regularly. Pay extra attention to the grout nearest the toilet. Immediately wipe all accidents off the floor with several paper towels. The sooner you deal with the urine, the less likely stains and odors will occur.
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Mold and Mildew
Excessive moisture and a high level of humidity will cause mold and mildew to grow in between tiles. This fungus growth will stain grout and fill the air with an unpleasant musty aroma. Removing the mold and mildew properly will also eliminate the odor. Once you have removed the fungus, prevent it from returning by always wiping floors clean. Install a bathroom vent or open the bathroom window during showers and baths. This will provide adequate air circulation, ventilation and help lower the humidity level in the bathroom. Another option to lower the chance of future mold growth is to run a dehumidifier in the home, which will remove moisture from the air.
Chemical Odor Removers
Chlorine bleach will brighten light colored grout while killing fungus such as mold and mildew. Unfortunately, chlorine bleach can discolor dark colored grout and fill the home with harsh fumes. However, you can replace chlorine bleach with the safer alternative called oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach contains sodium percarbonate and will not damage surfaces but will kill fungus and remove the odor. Mix 1 gallon of bleach -- oxygen or chlorine -- with 1 gallon of cool water. Scrub the grout clean with an old toothbrush and -- if removing fungus -- let the mixture sit on the grout for 10 minutes before wiping the tiles clean with a cloth.
Natural Odor Removers
Removing grout odors does not require expensive and toxic chemicals. Instead, use natural odor eliminators to cleanse and deodorize the tile grout. Scrub the smelly grout with white vinegar and an old toothbrush. Leave the vinegar on the grout for 10 minutes before wiping the tiles clean with a cloth dampened in cool water. Another option for nontoxic odor removers is mixing equal parts warm water and baking soda. Scrub the grout with an old toothbrush or scrub brush with the mixture. After allowing the baking soda solution to sit on the grout for 10 minutes, wipe the tiles clean with a damp cloth.