December 9, 2014
Cleaning and Caring for Grout
In general, there are two types of grout you will find in your house: epoxy and cement. While you normally find epoxy grout in showers and around sinks, cement grouts are most often used on floors and kitchen countertops. Cleaning grout doesn’t have to be a horrendous monthly task, with some regular upkeep it won’t be a dreaded thought any longer.
Cement grouts are normally sealed after installation to prevent discoloration and staining, keep out moisture, and in general, make maintenance easier on you. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook completely- you will still need to clean your grout on a regular basis and reseal it once every couple of years.
Luckily, if you regularly clean your tile after use (this means wiping down and rinsing your counter with water after food prep, and sweeping and mopping your tile floor weekly), your grout won’t need much extra attention- just be sure to use a little elbow grease if you start to notice residue building up. If you need to do any scrubbing be sure to use a brush with natural or plastic bristles- even an old toothbrush will work in a pinch. Avoid anything with steel wool or metal scrubbing components.
For the most part, you can use whatever cleaner you use on your tiles to clean your grout, provided it’s acid and ammonia free. For tricky or persistent stains you can buy cleaners made especially for tile and grout from most home goods stores. If you have natural stone tiles, make sure the chemicals in that cleaner won’t harm your surface.
Here are two products we like:
-For ceramic and porcelain tiles: Grout Sensation Tile and Grout Cleaner
The $20+ price tag for a quart of this concentrated cleaner may seem a little hefty, but it pays off if you’re really dreading a lot of scrubbing. Just apply it directly to your grout, let bubble, brush lightly, then wipe away the remaining cleaner with a cloth rag! Just be sure to take caution with darker grouts and always test a small area first!
-For natural stone tiles: StoneTech APCC4-1G Professional All-Purpose Stone and Tile Cleaner
This neutral pH formula is perfect for porous stone like marble or travertine and also for concrete slabs. It’s easy to use and works well without a lot of effort or rinsing.
Repairing Old Grout
It’s not uncommon for old grout to discolor. You can re-stain all of the grout to restore even coloration with grout strainers you can find at your local home improvement store. To ensure the procedure is done properly, a professional can do the staining for you. They can also repair any chipping that’s occurred and will give your grout a good resealing when they’re done.
Keep With It
Overall, regular maintenance and care will help extend the life of your grout and keep your tile looking its best. Cleaning grout might not be at the top of your to-do list, but if you continually put it off, your grout will begin to stain and change the look of your tile. To maintain the integrity of the design you love, a few minutes of cleaning every so often can make a big difference!
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