View Full Version : moldy caulk in bathroom
10-25-2008, 10:44 AM
We have some moldy caulking (grouting??) in my bathroom shower. (built in the 80's, it is a tiled bathroom shower) We have used many cleaning products (from store bought "mold cleaners" to bleach), and it won't get the staining out.
Can I just scrape the stuff off/out and reapply grouting/caulking (dunno which is the correct word)? I want to surprise my husband by having the job done, so we don't have to pay a pro to do what I suspect is a simple job.
10-25-2008, 10:50 AM
I have to do the same. There's a product on TV for perfectly applying it and IF YOU ACT NOW they'll include a widget that removes old caulk. You could probably get same at Home Depot cheaper.
Next time around I'm getting different caulk. I think it's "antibacterial" or something like that.
BTW grout=the cement-like stuff between the tiles.
10-25-2008, 10:57 AM
ok, I looked closely at it, and it is cement-like. So, I should be able to scrape/dig the yucky (technical term) stuff out, and reapply the new stuff and have a husband totally impressed with me???:)
10-25-2008, 11:24 AM
Ooooh, I just love that technical talk. These guys have good instructions (http://www.rd.com/familyhandyman/articles/199711/main/index.html), with illustrations and tool recommendations, no less.
10-25-2008, 11:50 AM
Thank you both for the advice! I loved the pictures.... I am a visual person, I guess! I am off to my Lowes to see about these cool gadgets! Wish me luck!
10-27-2008, 11:17 AM
Moldy grout can be a challenge. If it doesn't respond to direct application of chlorine bleach ("oxygen," peroxide, or "color-safe" bleach won't work here) the mildew is hidden away under either layers of soap scum mixed with deposited minerals from hard water or someone's well-meaning attempts to "seal" the grout.
The challenge becomes to remove the scum or silicone in order to reach the mildew. You can try to commercial products available at the grocery store, or for heavy-ducty cleaning, head over to the hardware store, where you can find stronger acid-based cleaners that will tackle the minerals and scum. Just be sure to read and follow the directions, particularly those about ventilation and wearing gloves and eye protection.
All of this assumes your grout is mechanically OK, and you just want to clean it. If the grout is cracked or even missing in spots, then removing it all and re-grouting is the better way to go. I won't kid you - even with the newer carbide-tipped tools, it's still tedious and a bit messy. But, it's not really difficult - if you can paint a wall, you can grout a shower or tub surround.
10-27-2008, 05:45 PM
Before removing grout (an ugly, tedious process) and THEN discovering the new stuff is a different color...
Try straight phosphoric acid - this is the active ingrediend in "scum" removal stuff.
NOTE: This is a real chemical - lots of ventilation, latex "exam" gloves, anti-splash goggles - the whole protective scheme (respirator not required if good ventilation).
Apply with misting bottle and stiff brush - repeat until the stuff is clean
Phosphoric acid is sold as etching solution for aluminum - a GOOD auto paint store should stock it. The same place will have gloves and goggles.
Once you get it clean, find a REAL tile and stone store and get REAL sealer - and ask how to apply (it takes days of constant saturation).
And this, kids, is why some tile jobs are bullet-proof and the ones supplied by Home Depot and its ilk are not.
05-05-2009, 09:26 PM
I have this talk with customers all the time. I recommend grout, not caulk. (30 year tile/stone man)
Grout: Cement based, rigid, long lifespan. Mildew resistant/crack resistant (latex enhanced) varieties are the best choice. You can clean it aggressively without harm. The downside is that it may form hairline cracks over time. If it does, touch it up.
Caulk: Flexible, maintenance prone, mildew prone. You get what you pay for, buy high end caulk. Be prepared to replace it in 3-5 years. We use latex (as opposed to silicone) because of its bond strength and durability. Comes in colors to match grout, but often doesn't really match that well.
Use a utility knife and scraper to remove caulk. Do a neat, thorough job or you will regret it later. Perhaps dose it with hydrogen peroxide (the weapon of choice of mold specialists) and allow it to dry. Follow directions on the grout or caulk as you choose.
And wipe the friggin caulk off. Do not leave a butchered mess like everyone else on the planet. It won't come off later. It must come off now. Use a good sponge (for latex) and a clean bucket of water and clean it up, leaving a nice neat line. For silicone caulk, use denatured alcohol, but you will make a disaster of it, so use latex caulk and water please. Do not caulk the entire thing and then clean up. Caulk the back wall, clean it up. It skins over way too fast to go bananas with it. Use your wet finger to run down it after it is clean to smooth the joint down.
05-05-2009, 10:47 PM
Not to hijack the other thread....
I have chocolate brown grout in my new house. OLD, brown grout. IT's not moldy, but it's discolored and I can't figure out how to clean it. A website suggested that "oxygen bleach" was just the ticket. However, I've never heard of it and thus, don't know where to find it. Supposedly it just "bubbles the dirt out" of the grout and then you can reseal it.
Any other ideas, although I'm thinking when all else fails, I'll be regrouting....
05-06-2009, 10:52 AM
Oxygen Bleach = Hydrogen Peroxide
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