Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


Grout ‘worms’? Lurking in a well-used shower

grout worm

Tiny larvae in a shower

15 years ago it seemed like a prank call when someone told us they had a problem with ‘grout worms’ in their shower, but now our service manager has taken a picture of what was likely lurking in the crevices of that shower and several others we’ve seen lately — tiny larvae that grow into little flies and thrive in the damp recesses of a well-used shower.

grout worm's shower

Breeding ground for mildew

When life gets away from us and routine cleaning with a PH Neutral cleaner isn’t done regularly, a shower can be a great breeding ground for mold and mildew. [It takes 3 things for mildew to thrive — a food source (soap scum and skin cells), water, and absence of light.] Many showers are poorly ventilated (or the fan is not used properly), and long showers and sporadic cleaning make them the perfect breeding ground for mildew and the tiny mites our caller was referring to as “grout worms.”

On the opposite extreme, we have also seen these larvae in over-cleaned grout lines. Each time bleach or some other overly harsh product is used, the pores of the grout open more, and mold and mildew are given an even better nesting place. This is why some people tell us that the more they clean, the more quickly mildew & other scum seems to develop. It’s because they are cleaning with a product that is too harsh for the grout, and they are actually eroding the cement in the grout.

Tile and grout are meant to last a long time, but, like all things, they have to be properly maintained. When you clean, do yourself, the environment, and your grout a favor and use a pH Neutral cleaner. It will make your grout last longer, do a better job of keeping away any “grout worms” and help your tile installation remain one of the trouble-free parts of your home. (Assuming it’s installed correctly in the first place, of course.)

Here’s to good installations and no more calls about “grout worms”  🙂


Bleach isn’t cleaning my tile

Cleaning your tile with bleach-based products may seem like a good solution to get rid of the ‘gunk’ growing in your shower, but it may have the exact opposite effect. Bleach-based products sold by many manufacturers as “mildew solutions or preventives” actually open the pores of the grout between your tiles and encourage the growth of even more bacteria.

This can cause your cementitious grout to deteriorate, and it can make your grout more susceptible to bacteria growth, meaning you’ll be cleaning it even more often. This works well for manufacturers of off-the-shelf, bleach-based products, but it’s causing more work for you, costing you extra money, and releasing more chemicals into your environment.

Save yourself some work and give your grout (and your lungs) a break — clean tile and grout ONLY with pH-Neutral cleaners and a stiff-bristle brush. (pH-Neutral cleaners are neither acidic nor alkaline.) Routine squeegeeing of your tile will also help it stay cleaner longer. Remember, you chose tile because it was easy to maintain; don’t make extra work for yourself. 😉

There are many good pH-Neutral tile cleaners sold at local tile distributors, or you can check out our website,, for links to our favorites.

See our related post offering some ‘green’ tile cleaning options –

1 Comment

Cleaning/ preventing grout mildew

Bleach-based cleaners will kill mold and mildew (temporarily) but they will also kill your grout. Over time, these harsh products will turn your grout to chalk, and it will wash out little by little.

The best defense against mildew is prevention! Increase the ventilation in the room. Leave the shower door open after you bathe. Let the exhaust fan run at least 20-30 minutes after use. Open a window. The next best weapon is a squeegee. Run it over your tile before you step out of the shower to eliminate water hanging around inviting the mold and mildew spores to take root.

The best cleaners for tile and grout have a Neutral PH. That means it is neither too acidic or too alkaline and will not harm your tile or grout. Some of our favorites are sold by Aqua Mix: Aqua Mix Products

Sealing your tile and grout may also help. Check out the sealers at TEC Products. These water-based sealers allow moisture and air out but none in, helping starve mold and mildew. Or take the extra step to eliminate future growth altogether with new antimicrobial SHIELD. Check out
You can always contact Leigh in our service department for more details!

Leave a comment

A safer shower

Unexpected finds in a recent study by Moen:

— 1 in 5 children report taking a bath or shower away from home at least three times per week. Many are in middle and high school and shower before and after school activities. This has implications for clean, so we’re looking at antimicrobial applications that might make these away-from-home experiences safer for our kids. Check out and let us know what you think of this revolutionary approach to clean.

— Children spend about 25-35 minutes lathering up and playing in the tub and 16 minutes in the shower. The average adult spends 13 minutes. This has implications for water usage, and for how important the bathrooms of tomorrow will be for these future consumers.