Grout Cleaning


One of the most unpleasant cleaning chores that any homeowner must endure is grout cleaning. Not only is it hard to clean grout, but it is hard on the body. Grout is a porous substance so dirt and liquids that cause stains can get down into the pores and really discolor or damage your grout. Then, it is difficult to get the dirt and stains out of the deep pores. In order to scrub grout clean, you need to kneel on hard tile floors which are hard on your knees and back. There is nothing pleasant about grout cleaning, but it is something that is very necessary for several reasons. This article will give you some information on how to clean grout by hand, alternative grout cleaning methods, why grout cleaning is important, grout cleaning tips, and preventative grout maintenance.

How to Clean Grout

  1. Prepare the surface
  2. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment
  3. Apply grout cleaner
  4. Scrub grout
  5. Rinse and wipe clean

Prepare the Surface

You want to make sure that there is nothing on the tile floor that could make your grout lines worse if you scrub it into the porous substance. For that reason, you want to make sure to sweep the tile surfaces you will be cleaning before you start grout cleaning. Remove as much dust and debris as possible before you apply any grout cleaners or do any scrubbing. I find it best to run a vacuum over the tiled area before I start in order to remove hair and other dust that might settle in corners. If you leave dust on the tile or grout lines, the dirt could get pushed down into the grout when you start scrubbing and make things worse.

Wear the Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment

Many homeowners do not think about the possible health risks of working with household cleaners or the contamination you might find in your grout. Nevertheless, there are things that you should protect yourself from by wearing the right pieces of personal protective equipment. For example, you should wear gloves when cleaning grout so that you do not come into contact with any of the bacteria that might be growing in your grout lines and to protect your skin from getting dried out by the chemicals you use to clean your grout lines. If you happen to be using a harsh chemical grout cleaner like chlorine bleach then you should also consider wearing a face mask so that you do not breathe in harmful fumes. However, the best respiratory protection that you can give yourself when grout cleaning is proper ventilation. Make sure that you open a window and have air moving through the room when cleaning with harsh chemicals.

Apply Grout Cleaner

Your next step will be to apply your chosen grout cleaner to the grout lines. There are many different kinds of grout cleaners to choose from and the method of application and the amount of time you let the cleaner sit before scrubbing depend on that choice. You can get more information on the best grout cleaner here. The best grout cleaners will be thick enough to stay on the grout lines for ten to twenty minutes without running off. That time gives the cleaner time to penetrate the porous grout and start to break up grime and stains. If you choose not to use a thick grout cleaner, then you will spray or pour your grout cleaner on. With these types of grout cleaner, you should saturate the tiles area so that there will not be many places for the grout cleaner to migrate to. The object is to have the grout exposed to grout cleaner for as long as possible.

Scrub Grout

Once you let the grout cleaner seep in, you next step will be to scrub your grout lines. You want to make sure that you choose the right kind of scrub brush. Click here for more information on the best grout cleaning tools. The most important thing to remember when scrubbing grout lines is to never scrub along the grout lines in back and forth motions. Instead, you should use circular scrubbing motions as you move along the grout lines. If you scrub back and forth straight along the grout lines your forward scrubbing motion will dislodge dirt from the grout and then your backward scrubbing motion will deposit the dirt right back in the grout. If you scrub in a circular motion, each scrubbing action will dislodge dirt and the dirt can be deposited out on top of the tiles before you move on to a new section of grout.

Rinse and Wipe Clean

The last step in grout cleaning is to rinse the cleaned area and then wipe away any residue. I usually rinse first with plain water and a mop and then use a cloth cleaning pad to wipe away any cleaner residue and dry the tile. Once the tile and grout are rinse and dry you will be able to see if there are any areas that need more attention. If you have used a lot of cleaner, it is probably a good idea to rinse the mop in a sink or bathtub rather than a bucket so that you are not contaminating the tiled floor over again with each pass of the mop.

Alternative Grout Cleaning Methods

The steps described above are if you want to scrub your grout by hand. Cleaning grout by hand is probably the most effective way to make sure that the grout is really clean, but it is hard on the body because you have to spend a good deal of time on your knees on hard tiled floors. In addition, hand cleaning of tile grout is quite time consuming. Therefore, some homeowners look for alternative grout cleaning methods that allow them to clean their grout from a standing position and in less time. There are two alternative grout cleaning methods that we will discuss here including grout cleaning machines and professional grout cleaning services.

Grout Cleaning Machines

If you do not want to work on your hands and knees and are looking for a faster way to clean tile grout, then you should consider using a grout cleaning machine. These floor cleaning machines can be purchased from various retailers. The first step when using a grout cleaning machine is to apply the grout cleaner to the floor. The next step is to bring in the floor cleaner. These machines usually work similarly to the way a carpet shampooer works by applying a stream of hot water or steam under a circular curtain brush. Rotating brushes inside the curtain scrub the tile and grout lines and the waste water is sucked into a collection tank. The powerful force of the mechanical brushes and the hot steam both contribute to the power of grout cleaning machines. In addition, the brushes are large and you can scrub multiple grout lines at one time cutting the time it takes to clean an entire tiled room drastically.

Professional Grout Cleaning

If you do not want to take even the small amount of time that is required to use a grout cleaning machine, then you might be interested in grout cleaning services. Professional cleaning companies offer services that will clean both the tile and grout in all types of rooms and situations. The cost of paying a professional will vary depending on the size of the room, the type of room, and how dirty the tile and grout are to begin with. Bathrooms with many nooks and crannies will be more expensive than a large open room with no obstructions. Rooms on the second floor will be more expensive, and rooms that are particularly dirty might cost more as well. When hiring a professional grout cleaning service, be sure to check references and ask if the company is insured and bonded. Any reputable grout cleaning professional will not have a problem with providing you with the names of former customers and proof of insurance. For more information on specific questions to ask when hiring a grout cleaning service and the potential costs of the services go here.

Special Considerations for Cleaning Colored Grout

While most tiled areas have grout that is white or slightly off white, there are certain situations where the grout might be a more vibrant color. Black grout with white tiles is one popular configuration. Other rooms will have lightly colored tiles and darker shades of the same color for the grout. When cleaning colored grout, there are a few details that you should be aware of. Colored grout gets dirty just as easily as white grout, but you cannot always use the same grout cleaners. You always need to test any cleaner that you plan to use on colored grout in a small inconspicuous area so that you can make sure that the cleaner will not fade the colored grout. Bleach products especially run the risk of fading or damaging colored grout. Unfortunately, bleach based grout cleaners are often the most effective. For more information on colored grout and how to clean colored grout, go here.

Why is Grout Cleaning Important?

Grout cleaning is unpleasant, so you may be tempted to not put the time and effort into the task that is required. That is, until you hear all the reasons that grout cleaning is so important.

  • Health benefits
  • Aesthetics and decorating considerations
  • Brightens and enlarges a room
  • Increases resale value

Health Benefits

It is sometimes disturbing to think about the germs and bacteria that are on every surface in your home, but they are there and any conscientious homeowner and family member would want to minimize our exposure. If every hard surface can host bacteria and germs, imagine what a porous substance like grout can host. If you have children or pets, they spend a lot of time on the ground and they are constantly being exposed to those health risk factors. That fact should keep you motivated to clean your grout on a regular basis. In addition to the common bacteria that might find their way into your grout, mold is another concern. The pores in grout can stay wet and get warm which is the perfect environment for growing mildew and mold. Family members with allergies can have serious allergic reactions to mold and a dirty grout line poses a great health risk to those individuals.


When the contractor or interior designer that built your house chose the tile and grout for the kitchen and bath areas, those choices were conscious ones. The color of the grout was chosen to compliment that color or pattern of the tile and vice versa. If you let your grout get too dirty, the aesthetics of the room are compromised and you are not getting the full affect of the decorating choices. In addition, clean grout just looks better than dirty grout. Whenever you have guests in your home, you will not be ashamed to show them into a bathroom or let them use your kitchen. Clean grout makes you feel better about the cleanliness of your home and how it looks to others who visit.

Brightens and Enlarges

Another benefit of regular grout cleaning is that the lighter color of clean grout makes any room look brighter and larger than if the grout lines are allowed to blacken. If you want to make it seem like your bathroom or shower area is larger, then one quick fix is to lighten the color of the walls and specifically the grout lines. The same holds true for any tiled area in your home like a foyer or sun room. This benefit of grout cleaning can be important if you are showing your house to prospective buyers. You want the spaces to seem as large as possible when a prospective buyer is walking through and the subtle difference between clean and dirty grout lines can make a big difference in their impression of the size of a room.

Increases Resale Value

Taking that a step further, clean grout lines can help to improve the resale value of your home and your success in selling in general. By making rooms look larger and giving a better first impression, clean grout lines help to get people interested in your home. But they can also help when a prospective buyer starts to get more serious about buying. If they notice that the grout lines in your home are dirty, then that tells them you do not care very much about the appearance of your home. If you care so little for something so obvious that everyone can see, then you are more likely to avoid and ignore problems that people can’t see like water damage in a basement, roof problems, or clogged gutters. Dirty grout lines give a generally bad impression to a prospective buyer and they will be less likely to buy your home than if there were no obvious problems like dirty grout lines.

Grout Cleaning Tips

Now that you have some information about how to clean grout and why grout cleaning is so important, I thought I would share a few grout cleaning tips that I have learned through my years of grout cleaning experience. First, the key to getting clean grout lines is to never let them get dirty in the first place. In other words, regular grout cleaning is imperative. Your grout will suffer if you let the grout cleaning go for weeks and weeks and then have a marathon grout cleaning session. It is much better to clean on a regular schedule so that no area of tile grout in your home ever gets too dirty. For example, I have a grout cleaning schedule for my shower which is the hardest area of tile grout to keep clean in my home. I spend an extra five minutes in the shower each morning cleaning a section of the tile grout so that the entire shower gets cleaned once a week. The other tiles surfaces in my home get cleaned on a weekly schedule. As long as I stick to these schedules, no grout I my home every gets to dirty and it is never too hard to clean it. The longer dirt and grime sit on your grout, the deeper it gets into the pores and the harder it is to remove it later.

A second tip would be to use the mildest grout cleaner that you can in order to get the job done. There is no reason to use a chlorine bleach grout cleaner when a mixture of vinegar, water, and dish soap will do. Vinegar is a wonderful grout cleaner and inexpensive so it encourages you to keep your regular grout cleaning schedule. I find that once you have a clean slate, you can keep your tile grout clean with relatively mild chemicals. The mild grout cleaners will cause less damage to your grout and will wear off the grout sealer at a slower rate.

Grout Cleaning Preventative Measures

As I have said before, the best way to keep your grout clean is to never let it get dirty. There is some preventative grout maintenance that you can do to this end. Grout sealer is the number one defense you have against dirty grout. Sealer should be applied as soon after your grout cures as possible so that the grout is exposed to the elements for as short a time as possible. Whether the sealer is a topical sealer that sits on top of the grout or a penetrating one that fills in the pores, the sealer prevents dirt and grime from entering the pores and making the grout appear dirty. However, just because you have grout sealer on your grout that does not mean you can stop grout cleaning. You still want to clean the surface of the grout to make sure that it looks good. Of course, sealer does not last forever and needs to be reapplied occasionally. For more information about selecting a grout sealer go here and click here for more information on how to apply grout sealer.

Fifteen Grout Cleaners That Will Make Your Tile and Grout Sparkle

Grout cleaning is an essential part of taking care of your home whether it is one you rent or own. Clean grout can mean the difference between healthy living and living with chronic allergies or the difference between selling your house or not. It is extremely important to keep your grout clean, but you need to know what the best grout cleaners are in order to do that effectively. If you are looking for information on grout cleaners, there are several different types of information available. This article will try to help you determine the best grout cleaners for your home whether they are a combination of chemicals and tools or a group of professional cleaners. Below is a list of the different types of grout cleaners:

Grout Cleaning Chemicals

As with most cleaning projects, you need some kind of cleaning agent or chemical in order to aid you in your endeavor toward clean tile grout. There is a wide array of grout cleaners available to help you. Some are very mild while others or more severe. A general rule of thumb when it comes to grout cleaners is that you should use the gentlest grout cleaner you can that will still get your grout clean. There is no need to use harsh chemicals if they are not necessary. When you are trying to decide on what grout cleaner is best for your home, start with the mildest choice and work your way up until you find something that works. With that rule in mind, we will describe your grout cleaner options in order from mildest to most harsh.

  • Water/Steam
  • Homemade Grout Cleaners made with Household Products
  • Over the Counter Household Cleaners
  • Professional Strength or Industrial Cleaners
  • Bleach Based Grout Cleaners


The gentlest cleaner that you can use on your grout is steam. Steam will work well enough if the dirt and grime on your grout lines is not too deep into the porous grout and the stains are not too old. The heat will break up grime and soften caked on dirt. It will also start to break up and lighten stains. Generally you need steam instead of just plain water. The key to cleaning with steam is that is applied under pressure. If you apply the steam with enough force then you might be able to force dirt out of the pores as the steam is forced in.

Homemade Grout Cleaners

If steam is not enough, then you might think about concocting a homemade grout cleaner with regular household items like vinegar, baking soda, dish detergent, lemon juice, or hydrogen peroxide. Generally homemade grout cleaners are pretty mild and environmentally friendly. For example, a mixture of water and vinegar with a little bit of dish soap makes an excellent cleaning agent for almost any surface. Vinegar is an acetic acid solution with some vitamins and minerals added for flavor. The acidic nature of vinegar means that it can break down grease, kill bacteria and mold, and generally eliminate any mineral deposit that may build up on surfaces. It is a strong enough cleaning agent that it needs to be diluted with water. You add a drop or two of dish detergent to a fifty-fifty mixture of vinegar and water so that the solution will generate foam when you are cleaning with it.

Baking soda is probably the next most versatile household cleaning agent. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate is a slightly alkaline or basic compound. Its alkalinity means that is works as a water softener and breaks down proteins. That makes baking soda very effective at breaking up stains from food or mineral deposits. In addition, baking soda acts as a deodorizer because it can neutralize the bacteria that cause odors. As a grout cleaner, the best way to use baking soda is as a paste. You can make a paste of one part water to three parts baking soda and spread it on the grout lines. As the baking soda sits on the stained areas, the carbon based substances that are staining your grout start to break up and the bacteria that may be causing odors will be killed. You can also make the paste with lemon juice or vinegar if you would prefer to add more stain fighting power.

Hydrogen peroxide is another household product that is an effective cleaner. You can use the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution that you buy at a drug store directly on dirty surfaces or you can purchase a 35% solution of food grade hydrogen peroxide and dilute it with some hot water. The hydrogen peroxide kills all kinds of bacteria, mold, and mildew. It is extremely effective at whitening as well. As long as you are cleaning white grout lines, hydrogen peroxide is an effective grout cleaner. You can even combine the peroxide with baking soda to make a paste.

Over the Counter Household Cleaners

If you cannot get the desired effect with these homemade grout cleaners, then your next step should be over the counter household cleaners like the ones you buy in the grocery store. Brands like Comet, Mr. Clean, or Lysol are popular choices. The ingredients on these household cleaners will include many of the items we described above in the homemade grout cleaners section, but also surfactants and other chemicals to aid in the cleaning process. Often they have special ingredients that will help kill mold or mildew specifically. These over the counter cleaners also have abrasives in them to aid in scrubbing and scouring. Unlike the gentle household cleaners described above, you need to be careful about these over the counter grout cleaners because the abrasive qualities could cause damage to your tile or grout. Make sure to test the grout cleaners on small unobtrusive areas to make sure there are no ill effects before proceeding.

Professional Strength or Industrial Cleaners

Professional strength household cleaners come in two varieties. First, there are general household cleaners that say something like “professional strength” on the packaging. This does not mean that these are the same chemicals that professional use for grout cleaning. Instead, it means that they are slightly more powerful than something you would buy in a grocery store. These grout cleaners can be purchased from large home improvement warehouses or online retailers.

You can purchase the second type of professional grout cleaners from these home improvement warehouses as well or from tile distributors. These industrial strength tile and grout cleaners are made especially for cleaning these porous surfaces and are usually manufactured by the same companies that make grout and tile sealer or enhancers. The chemicals in these industrial strength grout cleaners are more powerful than the products you buy from the grocery store and they are similar to the ones used by professional grout cleaning services. If you have a tough grout cleaning job, then this is probably the level of grout cleaner that you will need.

Bleach Based Grout Cleaners

Bleach based grout cleaners are the strongest and harshest type of grout cleaner that you can use in your home. There are two different types of bleach to choose between, chlorine beach and oxygen bleach. Between the two, oxygen bleach is preferable because it is less likely to damage or discolor your grout. In addition oxygen bleach grout cleaners are non toxic and do not pose a health risk. Chlorine bleach based grout cleaners require that you ventilate the area you are cleaning to avoid breathing in noxious fumes. Another advantage of oxygen bleach grout cleaners over chlorine bleach grout cleaners is that oxygen bleach is often sold as a powder that you can make into a paste. Pastes are better as grout cleaners than liquid because you can apply the cleaner directly to the grout line and it will not run off. If you are unable to get out grout stains with oxygen or chlorine bleach, then you might have to tear out the affected areas of grout and replace the grout.

Grout Cleaning Tools

The tools that are required to clean grout by hand are not very numerous or complicated. You probably have everything you need in your home somewhere already. Below is a list of grout cleaning tools that are necessary to clean grout effectively:

  • Mop
  • Broom or Swiffer® Sweeper
  • Scrub brush
  • Cleaning pad or Cloth

The mop and broom or Swiffer® Sweeper are necessary so that you are starting with tile and grout that is clean on the surface. It will be hard to clean your grout lines if your scrubbing motions are depositing dirt from the tile into the grout lines. You want everything around the grout to be as clean as possible before you actually start scrubbing the grout with you scrub brush. There are many features that make a scrub brush the best grout cleaner for the job which we will discuss below. The cleaning pad or cloth is so that you can wipe away any excess grout cleaner and dirt after you have scrubbed the grout lines. A clean white cotton pad is best because you do not have to worry about dyes or fibers coming off in your newly cleaned grout lines.

Characteristics of the Best Grout Cleaning Brush

There are four characteristics of a scrub brush that you need to consider in order to find the perfect grout cleaning brush for you and your tile. The first characteristic is the hardness or softness of the bristles. The perfect grout cleaner will have medium hard bristles. You want the bristles to be stiff enough so that they can penetrate the grout pores, but soft enough that they do not chew up the grout. If the bristles are too soft then they will simply bend and move aside as you scrub the grout rather than penetrate into the pores. If the bristles are too hard, they might break the grout up rather than just clean it.

The second characteristic is the shape of the bristle head. You want the bristles in the center of the brush head to be longer than the bristles at the edges if possible. The reason for this is because the grout is more porous that the tile and therefore the bristles should be able to penetrate the grout but not the tile. The bristles in the center of the brush will be the ones scrubbing the grout so you want them to be longer than the bristles at the edges so they can penetrate while the shorter bristles butt up against the tiles. If the bristles are all the same length the bristles on the outside will have to bend so that the interior bristles can penetrate. If the bristles on the edges are longer than the ones in the center than the center bristles may never even reach the grout.

The third characteristic that is important for the right grout cleaning brush is the size of the brush head. Some homeowners might feel that the larger the brush the better because you can clean more grout at one time and get the job done faster. Unfortunately, that is not the case because it is difficult to maintain an equal amount of pressure over the surface area of a large brush head. You will probably only be applying force on the area of the brush head that is under the handle. That is why grout cleaning brushes that are approximately the size of the handle are the best choice. Of course, you do not want the grout brush to be too small because then it will take far o long to clean a large tiled area.

The handle itself is the fourth brush characteristic that you need to consider. Most scrub brushes have a simple handle that is connected to the brush at the tip of the brush head and then rises up a few inches and extends back over the entire length of the brush. When selecting a brush, make sure that you hold it in your hand to ensure that there is enough space between the top of the brush head and the bottom of the handle for your knuckles. Some brushes are too tight and it becomes uncomfortable to hold the brush for long periods of time. When using a scrub brush you have to bend over your work, and that can be hard on your back. One alternative that you have is to find a brush with a long handle like a broom or mop rather than a brush you hold in the hand. You can use this type of scrub brush from a standing position. The only problem with this type of brush is that it is difficult to scrub with a circular motion which is the recommended grout cleaning technique.

Grout Cleaning Machines

If you do not have the time to clean your own grout by hand or if you have physical ailments that prevent you from working on your knees or bending over too often, then you might be interested in the possibility of using a mechanical grout cleaner or grout cleaning machine. All grout cleaning machines work in a similar way. The main idea is to apply steam to the tiled area, scrub with circular scrub brushes, and remove the resulting dirty water with powerful suction. The details are different depending on the brand and origins of the grout cleaning machine. When you are ready to purchase a grout cleaning machine, then there are several places that you might look. Below is information on how grout cleaning machines work and where to buy them.

How Grout Cleaning Machines Work

Steam plays an important role in two ways. First, hot steam will soften dirt and grime and help to prime the area for easy scrubbing. Second, if the steam is applied with enough force, the steam could actually be pushed into the pores of the grout resulting in dirt or grime being pushed out o the same spot. The hotter the steam and the higher the pressure with which it is applied the better.

The scrub brushes are almost always circular brushes that rotate like the bottom of a buffer machine. The advantage of the scrub brushes on a grout cleaning machine is that they rotate much faster than you can possibly move your scrub brush by hand. In addition, the grout cleaning machine applies much more force than any homeowner can generate with their own strength.

When the dirty wash water is removed by suction it can be sent to one of two places. The first option is more common for grout cleaning machines used by the consumer and the second option is more common for professional grot cleaners. Most do-it-yourself grout cleaners will have a reservoir for the dirty wash water just as they have a reservoir for the water that is turned into steam at the beginning of the process. Most professional grade grout cleaners will have two hoses connected to them. One hose will deliver clean water and the other will take the wash water to a tank in the back of a truck outside of your home.

Where to Purchase Grout Cleaners

If you are interested in purchasing a grout cleaner for your own use then there are several retailers that you might try as well as some other possibilities. Below is a list of possible retailers that could help you:

  • Department stores where appliances are sold
  • Home improvement warehouses
  • Online retailers
  • Professional grout cleaning companies going out of business

The same companies that make vacuum cleaners and carpet shampoo machines are the ones who make grout cleaning machines so the first place that you look for grout cleaning machines is at large department stores where these other appliances are sold like Sears. The selection will not be great because these stores cannot carry a large inventory, but there may be more selection from their websites. Home improvement warehouses like Lowes and Home Depot also sell this type of equipment. If you cannot find what you are looking for at a department store, this should be your next stop.

If you have trouble finding a grout cleaning machine in a brick and mortar store, then you next course of action should be to turn to online retailers. General retailers like Amazon are a good place to start, but then you can check out the websites of the specific brands and partner retailers that you discover on Amazon. Often home appliances like this are sold by third party vendors through the Amazon website. If you find one product sold by company A, then chances are they have other models and brands that they might sell on their own website. The main problem with purchasing a grout cleaning machine this way is that you will have to pay for the shipping charges to get the grout cleaner to your home. It is expensive to ship something so heavy and this might push the price out of reach.

Your last option for a place to buy a grout cleaner is from old grout cleaning companies that might be going out of business. When a cleaning company goes under they need to liquidate their assets so they might be interested in selling some of their equipment to an interested homeowner. Of course, most professional grout cleaning machines are designed to be hooked up to a water tank and waste water tank that sit outside the home, but you could purchase these items as well. I would only go this route if you had a lot of tile in your home. Below is a video showing how a professional grout cleaner works.

Below is a list of some grout cleaning machines that we have talked about on Home Cleaning Tips:

Professional Grout Cleaners

If the thought of spending any amount of time on cleaning your own grout gives you anxiety or if you have the disposable income to outsource these types of household chores, then a professional grout cleaner is probably the way to go. Professional cleaning companies will be able to clean the tile and grout in any room of your house. The price for this service depends on many factors including the size of the room, whether the room is on the first or second floor, how dirty the grout is, and whether or not you are combing grout cleaning services with other household services. There are pros and cons to hiring a grout cleaning service and you need to weigh those factors before deciding to hire anyone at any cost. You can find more information on the benefits and possible negative effects of hiring a professional grout cleaner here. You can also find information on how to go about hiring a grout cleaning service and what to expect when you do.

How to Apply Grout Sealer

Applying grout sealer or tile and grout sealer is not a difficult process, but it can be nerve racking for someone who has never done it because the results are so permanent. In reality, the process is very easy and forgiving. You just have to follow a few easy steps and read the directions on your grout and tile sealer carefully before starting.

  1. Make sure the surface is clean and dry
  2. Read the directions carefully
  3. Apply sealer to tiled surface and/or grout lines
  4. Wipe off excess sealer
  5. Test sealer
  6. Apply additional coats as necessary
  7. Do not use the tiled area until the sealer is completely dry
  8. Reapply grout sealer as necessary

1. Make sure the surface is clean and dry…

In order to prepare a surface for sealing, you need to make sure that it is clean, dry, and free of any waxes, coatings, or finishes. There are products that you can buy that will strip wax and acrylic finishes if you need to. Keep in mind that this only applies to the surface that you are sealing. In other words, if you are sealing the tile and the grout at the same time, you need to make sure that both are completely clean. However, if you only are sealing your grout, then it does not matter if your tile is sealed nor has a finisher on it. If you are sealing a new installation, then it is important that you allow the tile adhesive and grout to cure for 48 – 72 hours before sealing.

2. Read the directions carefully…

Tile and grout sealers come with very clear instructions on the bottle. Once you have chosen the sealant you are going to use, your next step should be to read all of the instructions carefully to make sure you have all the application materials that you need and that you understand the process you will need to operate under. You do not want to have to keep going back to the instructions over and over again during the sealing process because some of the steps are time sensitive. Make sure that you can recite the directions by heart before you start or that you have a partner who can constantly refer to the directions while you work. If you need help with selecting the right grout sealant, go here.

3. Apply sealer to tiled surface and/or grout lines…

The exact application process for tile and grout sealants varies from product to product, but basically the actions are the same. You will put the sealer on the tiled surface and/or grout and then use some tool to spread it around evenly. Application tools can be anything from a paint brush to a sponge; or a mop to a cloth pad. You may have to pour the sealant on to the tile surface and then spread it around with your application tool. You may have to spray the grout and tile sealer on and then spread it around with your application tool. No matter what action you are supposed to use to put the sealer on the tiled surface (pour, spray, etc.) or what tool you are supposed to use to spread it around or apply it, the directions on the package will tell you. When several options are given, you might want to have several options available at the start of your project until you figure out which applicator works best for you.

Some sealers that are meant for only for grout lines come with their own applicator attached to the bottle for precision application. Examples would be a small applicator brush, a wheel, or a thin squeeze nozzle. Other grout specific sealants tell you to use a toothbrush or small paint brush for application. Still another option is an aerosol spray can where no application tools are needed because you spray the sealer directly on the grout lines.

4. Wipe off excess sealer…

Even the best grout and tile sealing professionals will have times when too much sealer was applied or you have applied it unevenly resulting in puddles or pools. If this happens, the grout and tile sealant packaging will give you instructions on how long to wait and when to wipe away the excess. They will also recommend what tool to use for this process. The most common tool is a clean cloth cleaning pad. Be sure to read the instructions carefully for clues on when the best time is to remove excess sealer.

If you are sealing the grout only and you do not want sealer on your tiles at all, then you need to wipe away the sealer that inevitably gets on the tiles during the application process immediately after application. If you do not remove excess sealer, you could be left with hazy looking tile or other obvious flaws. Removing completely cured sealer is much harder than wiping away the excess when it is still tacky. Make sure that you do not skip this step.

5. Test sealer…

The best way to test whether you have enough sealer on your tile and grout is a water droplet test. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the sealed area and look to see how the water reacts. If it is absorbed by the tile or grout, then you need at least one more coat of sealer. If the water beads up on the surface, then your tile and grout are completely saturated with sealer and you do not need to apply any more coats.

6. Apply additional coats as necessary…

If you failed your water test, you will need to apply at least one more coat. Keep repeating the water test and adding more coats until the grout and tile are completely sealed. Check the instructions on your sealer packaging for an indication of how long you should wait between coats. You do not need to wait for the sealer to cure completely before adding a additional application. Repeat the test and this step as many times as necessary to completely saturate your tile and grout with sealant.

7. Do not use the tiled area until the sealer is completely dry…

Most tile and grout sealers will give you instructions on how long to wait before using the tiled area again after sealing. This wait time can be anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours depending on the product. Sometimes they will give a two step instruction that indicates that you can use the area mildly after one amount of time but the sealer will not be completely dry until a second amount of time has passed. Usually you want to avoid getting the area wet until the sealant is completely dry. It is important that you abide by these instructions because otherwise the sealer could be disturbed leaving voids in the coverage.

8. Reapply Grout Sealer as Necessary

There is a large debate over how often you should apply grout sealer. Some grout sealer packages will say that the sealer will last two to three years. Some sealants claim that they will last for as long as twenty years. Some homeowners and contractors recommend that you reapply several times a year for high traffic areas. The truth is that you will have to work out what is best for your tile and the sealer you choose to use. Periodically test the grout sealer to make sure water still beads up on the surface. If not, it is time to reapply. Once you test and reapply a few times you will get an idea of how often grout sealing needs to be done and then you can start to plan your reapplications before your grout and tile are exposed to possible contaminates.

One of the best features of penetrating grout sealer is that it can be reapplied on top of an old application without removing it. There is no need to use a grout sealer remover every time you need to apply a new coat of penetrating sealant. However, there are sealer and coating removers on the market for circumstances where you need to remove a haze or streaks that are formed because you didn’t wipe off the excess sealer from the tiles or you got sealer on a glazed tile surface. Coating sealers on the other hand, should be removed before starting a new application to ensure uniform protection.

When Should I Apply Grout and Tile Sealer for the First Time?

Grout sealer needs to be applied as soon after the tile and grout installation as possible. The longer that the grout and tile remains unsealed, the longer it is exposed to possible stains and contaminates. However, you cannot apply grout sealer before the grout and tile adhesive is completely cured. As grout cures or dries, the water in the grout paste evaporates through the voids in the grout. If you apply the penetrating grout sealer too soon, the pores or voids in the grout will be plugged and the water will never be able to escape so the grout will never dry completely. That being said, some people recommend that you wait as long as thirty days before applying grout sealer. However, most contractors or tile supply houses will recommend forty eight to seventy two hours. There are also some products on the market that claim you can start sealing as soon as six hours after installation.

When Not to Apply Grout Sealer

There is one case where you do not need to apply grout sealer at all. Most grouts are cement based, but there are other types of grout including epoxy grout. Epoxy grout sealer does not exist because you technically do not need to seal epoxy grouts. They are impermeable to liquids and resist staining on their own. They are also water proof so mildew growth is not an issue. So if you have 100% solid epoxy grout, you do not need to use grout sealer. Epoxy grouts are recognizable because they look like they are made of shiny plastic rather than cement.

Kirby Vacuums

Kirby vacuums are always at the forefront of vacuuming technology and have been since the company’s beginnings in the early nineteen hundreds. Jim Kirby was an inventor and the Kirby vacuum system was his greatest invention. Kirby only sells one product at a time. Whenever there is an improvement made to the design a new series is manufactured to replace the old one. The newest Kirby vacuum system is the Sentria system. There have been several different versions of the Sentria system, but the newest ones were manufactured in 2009 and later.

What makes the Sentria Kirby vacuum unique is the fact that it is a convertible floor care system rather than just a vacuum or just a carpet shampoo machine. You do not have to find storage space for multiple machines like a vacuum, a carpet shampoo system, a floor buffer, etc. Instead, you only have to store one system that can become each of these floor care appliances. The Kirby Sentria system is made of cast aluminum rather than plastic which makes it quite durable and light so it is easy to transport from room to room.

The Kirby vacuum has many features worth mentioning. For example, it comes with a HEPA 11 filtration system and powerful airflow which combine to prevent even the smallest pieces of debris from escaping back into the environment. Another feature worth mentioning on the Kirby vacuum system is the TechDrive® power assist which makes it easy to push the Kirby system around with even the lightest touch.

A feature known as Toe Touch Control allows you to adjust the cleaning height on your Kirby vacuum with your foot rather than bending over each time. There is also an LED headlight which will help to illuminate the room where you are using your Kirby vacuum if it is dark or not lit well.

When you use the portable mode, you can sling the Kirby vacuum over your shoulder and transport it easily to hard to reach areas like on top of furniture or the tops of window boxes. You can get into even more places with the wide array of attachments that come with the Kirby vacuum system. For example, you might clean the upholstered furniture in your home to remove pet hair or other troublesome debris that most vacuums cannot touch.

When operating as a carpet shampoo machine, the Kirby floor care system uses a quick drying process that lets you get back to using your carpet faster than most traditional at home carpet shampooers. People typically only get those kinds of results with professional carpet cleaning services. When operating in buffer mode you can polish and buff hard floor surfaces to a shine which is much more than most hardwood floor cleaners can accomplish. Most just clean with steam and leave behind streaks rather than shiny surfaces.

Where to Buy Kirby Vacuums

Kirby is one of the only vacuum manufacturers that still sell exclusively independent distributors. Individuals who are authorized Kirby distributors come into your home to give a demonstration and then they can sell you a home floor care system immediately. The Independent Kirby Distributor will also provide maintenance and service to your Kirby machine as well as sell you any Kirby home care products such as carpet shampoo or other cleaners. Any Kirby vacuums that you see advertized on the internet as NEW are misrepresented in some way because the only way to buy Kirby vacuums is through an in home demonstration. Kirby believes that everyone should have the opportunity to try a product in their own home before purchasing it. In addition, this model provides opportunities for success to young entrepreneurs everywhere.

Shark Steamer

Shark steam mop products have made cleaning hard floor surfaces easier in many ways. Traditional mopping will be a thing of the past when you get your Shark steamer cleaner. Not only is it faster to mop with a Shark steam mop, but it is also less messy because the steam mop generates only enough steam to get the job done and there are no puddles left behind. Shark steamers are also more sanitary because you can use the Shark cleaning pockets which are washable instead of using the same dirty mop over and over again. Every time you use Shark steam mops you will have a fresh cleaning surface to work with. There are several Shark steamers to choose from and there is some information about the Shark steam products available below.

Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop

The Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop from Shark is a professional quality steam cleaner that is lightweight enough for any homeowner to use, yet powerful enough to clean any hard floor surface with ease. There are three settings known as dust, mop, and scrub. In addition to the three settings, you can also control the amount of steam that you generate and use for cleaning. For high traffic areas and floor surfaces with stuck on dirt you will use the scrub setting with a large amount of steam. In contrast, delicate floor surfaces will be best suited by a light steam and the dust setting. Another wonderful feature on the Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop is the removable portable handheld shark steamer. With the press of a button, a handheld steamer comes off of the handle so that you can clean non floor surfaces and hard to reach areas.

This Shark steamer also comes with some added features so that you can getter clean all kinds of surfaces in your home including upholstery and carpet. The carpet glider allows you to run the steam mop over carpet or rugs to freshen them up in between major carpet cleanings. There is a direct steam nozzle and a flat scrubber tool and accessory hose that come with the steamer from Shark to use when you have dethatched the handheld Shark steamer. The Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop comes with one steam pocket for use with the upright steamer and one mini-shag bonnet for use with the handheld steamer flat scrubber attachment.

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop

The main difference between the Shark Lift-Away Steamer ad the Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop is that the Professional Steam Pocket Mop from Shark does not have the removable handheld steamer capability. This Shark steamer is meant strictly for use on floor surfaces. Since you cannot use the handheld steamer for the hard to reach corners, this model of Shark steamer comes with two different cleaning heads. There is the traditional rectangle shaped head for general steam cleaning purposes and a triangular shaped cleaning head for reaching into nooks, crannies, and corners. You can switch between steamer heads easily because of the quick release feature.

This Shark steamer is similar to the Lift-Away in that it also has the Intelligent Steam Control which allows the homeowner to choose the appropriate amount of steam for the job. The scrubbing setting has a lot of steam while the dusting setting is just a light mist. By choosing the right cleaning setting, you are guaranteeing that you get the perfect amount of steam at the perfect temperature to clean, sanitize, and then dry within seconds leaving behind no mess and clean floors. Traditional mops essentially just push dirty water around on the floor, but the Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop does so much more.

Shark Vac-Then-Steam

For around the same amount of money that you will pay for the Professional Steam Pocket Mop, you can buy a two in one machine from Shark called the Shark Vac-then-Steam. This machine has a high powered vacuum to suck up debris and dust on your hard floors prior to cleaning them with a steam cleaner similar to the Shark Steam Mop. This Shark steamer and vacuum has a larger water tank than the other models so it can run in steam mode for more than fifteen minutes. Unlike other steam cleaners that you might find with the vacuum feature, this steamer does not suck up dirty wash water and send it to a reservoir. Instead, the steam is dispensed and dries naturally because the vacuum feature is not running when the machine is in steam mode. The lack of a dirty water reservoir means that the Shark Vac-then-Steam is lighter than most hard floor steamers. This Shark steamer is a great piece of cleaning equipment because it cuts down on floor cleaning time since you do not need to sweep by hand before mopping.

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

The next Shark steamer that you might consider is the Steam Pocket Mop. This model is slightly different than the previously discussed Pocket Mops, but is still a quite effective floor cleaning tool to have in your house cleaning arsenal. This model of Shark steamer does not have the three steam settings, but it does come with three different mop heads so that you can use the steamer in almost any floor cleaning situation. There is the traditional rectangular steam head, an extra large rectangular steam head, and a triangular steam head. The various steamer heads mean you can clean the floors in your home more quickly than if you were limited by only one choice where it was hard to reach into corners and took too long because of the size of the room.

The Shark Steam Pocket Mop heats and delivers steam in just thirty seconds that is hot enough to kill 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria commonly found on household floors. The use of only water as a cleaning agent is a plus because you are not exposing your family or your pets to harsh and possibly toxic cleaning chemicals.

Shark Steam Mop

The Shark Steam Mop is the simplest of their upright steamer models. The Shark Steam Mop has only one steamer head, but it still delivers steam in less than thirty seconds and comes with the same micro-fiber washable pads as all the other Shark steamers. The pads are the key to the Shark steamer system because they lift and lock in the dirt that is loosened by the steam. This steamer is very lightweight and easy to maneuver so even a child could use it. Since there are no harsh chemicals being used and no fear of making a mess from a bucket and traditional mop, you can trust your hard floor cleaning to your children. In addition to the light weight, the easy grip handle also makes maneuvering this Shark steamer easy without straining yourself in any way. The price tag for this Shark steamer is significantly less than for the other Shark steamers we have discussed so far. It is, by far, the best deal in terms of a quality steamer from Shark.

Shark Portable Steam Pocket

The Shark Portable Steam Pocket is a handheld steamer that you can use to clean almost any surface in your home. There are ten different attachments to choose between so you are sure to find the perfect cleaning tool for any surface or area of your house. This Shark steamer can even be used to steam the wrinkles out of clothing or draperies. In addition to the extension hose and tote bag to carry everything, there are ten different types of cleaning attachments. They include a cylinder cleaning wand, a wedge cleaning attachment, two micro-fiber cylinder pockets, a cylinder dusting pocket, two micro-fiber wedge pockets, a direct steam nozzle, a garment steamer kit, two bristle brushes, a scrubber wedge pocket, and a squeegee wedge pocket.