Let’s face it, grout can be tough to clean. The problem is that grout maintenance takes time and effort. And many homeowners don’t know how to properly care for grout around kitchen, bathroom, and living room tiles, leading to problems down the road. Sealing grout is the most important thing you can do to keep it sanitary and avoid having it erode. With proper grout maintenance, care and cleaning are easier and grout will last for years to come.
Deep Cleaning Grout
Here are four different methods for cleaning grout. When cleaning it, be conscious of the color of the grout and spot test an area first. Wait overnight for the grout to dry completely before applying sealant.
- Mix together ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Apply the mixture to grout and wait 5-10 minutes. Scrub grout with a toothbrush and wipe clean with warm water.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the grout. Add hydrogen peroxide to a spray bottle and spray over the baking soda until wet and bubbly; wait 5-10 minutes. Scrub grout with a toothbrush and wipe clean with warm water.
- Mix equal parts baking soda and white vinegar into a paste. Spread over the grout and wait 5-10 minutes. Scrub grout with a toothbrush and rinse with warm water.
- Sprinkle Bon Ami (or Comet) over grout. Spray a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water over Bon Ami and wait 5-10 minutes. Scrub grout with a toothbrush, cleaning brush regularly with water. Rinse grout thoroughly with warm water.
After you’ve cleaned the grout with the method that works best for your home, you’ll need to reseal it. (Note: epoxy grouts don’t need to be sealed.) Choosing the right sealant depends on the job. For instance, surface sealants or coatings are not sufficient sealers in a bathroom. They need silicone, not water-based products. Your selection depends on several factors, such as the type of grout, location, your intention, applying method, and budget.
Why Seal Grout?
Regular cleaning for good grout maintenance isn’t usually enough to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria. Because grout is porous, it traps dirt and is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus, so sealing it is a must. Properly applying a grout sealant protects the grout and helps keep you and your family healthy. Apply grout sealant based on traffic or usage patterns. The tile floor in a living room may get a lot of traffic, but little moisture, whereas bathroom tile gets a lot of use and moisture, especially tile showers or tubs. Reseal grout once per year for these “hotspot” areas and also after you have deep cleaned your tile and grout. Low traffic or usage areas need resealing every 4-5 years to remain effective.
Different Types of Sealers
There are many types of sealant products and each offers different benefits depending on your objective for grout maintenance. Regardless of product type, sealants fall under one of three categories:
- Color Sealers
- Penetrating Sealers
Coatings are a thin layer on the grout surface so no oil, water, or dirt can penetrate the grout pores. There are two coatings available: permanent and strippable.
Permanent coatings are difficult to remove. They are made of epoxies, polyurethanes, and such. Because they are so difficult to remove, this type of product is not always recommended.
Strippable coatings are easier to remove from the grout’s surface. These are made of styrene, acrylics, polyethylene, and other polymers. Most are water-based making removal easier to do. Check the label for acrylic, high speed, metal cross-link, and so on.
Color sealers will bond to your grout, filling the pores, while keeping the same look and texture of your original grout. Color sealers will also allow you to change your grout from dark to light, or even light to dark. Penetrating sealers are made to penetrate the grout surface and deposit particles that will protect the grout, preventing water and dirt from penetrating the grout. These types of sealers mostly contain silane, siloxane, silicone, or some other silicon derivative.
Grout Sealer Options
These types of sealers lay on top of the grout and prevent dirt, oil, and water from entering
This type of sealer seals the grout and also colors it
These sealers penetrate the grout and coat the minerals below the surface
Coatings are classified in two groups
Penetrating Sealers are classified into two groups
Depending on traffic patterns in your home, and general condition, when you keep up with grout maintenance, it can help your tiling and flooring sparkle for many years.
Home Cleaning and Maintenance Resources
- Home Maintenance Top Tips
- 8 Things You Should Clean But Probably Don't
- Spring Cleaning Checklist
- Homeownership is Easier with a Home Maintenance Checklist