Tiled areas in bathrooms, kitchens and entryways are a blessing. They look good, they last a long time and they're easy to polish up to a sparkling shine. The one drawback for a lot of people is the grouting that must be used to keep them in place: It discolours easily, which can change the look of your entire room, and it's likely that whatever you do to clean the tiled surface itself won't get down far enough to have the same effect on the grout. So what can be done to deal with this issue?
Pick your grout colour wisely
Most people default to using white grout for their tiled surfaces, but other colours can work better for many purposes. Many decorative tiles are best set off by black grouting, for example, which will require much less cleaning as dirt and grime can't discolour it as much. You can even find glitter grout to really make a statement! For more traditional styles, grey is still often a better choice than white--it will discolour far less and is more resistant to staining.
Make sure your tiles are laid well
You'll get a better looking surface for longer if your grouting isn't smudged, so make sure your tiles are laid by someone who works cleanly and carefully. Once dried, it can be hard to remove grout from tiles without damaging the surface of the tile itself--so be fastidious as your surfaces are laid.
Keep the surface as clean as possible
Remember to wash your floors, walls and other tiles surfaces weekly to keep them looking great and to prevent your grouting from becoming stained by marks that sink in over time. Mopping with a solution of warm water and vinegar is usually enough and won't take up a lot of your time.
Spot-clean your grouting when problems arise
Should you spill something that is likely to stain your grouting--red wine is a particularly pernicious culprit--make sure you clean it up as soon as possible so that no stain occurs. The quickest way to do this is usually by covering the area liberally with baking soda, leaving it to soak in for a few hours, and scrubbing it clean using an old toothbrush and a little warm water. Wipe away any residue with a microfibre cloth afterwards and your grouting should look good as new.
Go a little deeper at least once a year
It's worth giving your grout a deeper clean on an annual basis. Professional tile and grout steam cleaning is a great choice, especially for tiled floors in busy kitchens. Less high-traffic areas you can deal with yourself using some steel wool and a powder cleaner.