Grout Cleaning Machine

If you are serious about cleaning tile grout, or if you own a restaurant, daycare, or other establishment that gets high traffic but must maintain strict cleanliness standards, then you might want to invest in a grout cleaning machine. Grout cleaning machines come in many forms, but essentially, they are some combination of a high pressure water stream and brush. There are many vendors for these types of machines, but you will most likely find them online. If you are interested in professional grout cleaning machines, then you probably should use professional strength grout cleaners or grout cleaning chemicals that are recommended by the machine’s manufacturer.

Some grout cleaning machines look and behave a lot like a carpet cleaning machine. These machines work on the principle of steam cleaning. Steam is expelled out of the machine under high pressure and penetrates deep into the grout. Then a powerful vacuum uses suction to pull the dirty water into a basin in the machine. Steam cleaning grout can be very effective if the grout is not too stained and you clean it regularly. Steam alone will not work very well on tough stains or stains caused by mildew. Other steam cleaners like the Bissell Steam Mop use a very small amount of steam and no suction and are better for everyday cleaning than for major grout cleaning projects.

Other grout cleaning tools uses brushes to help get the job done. The most popular models have a circular bottom. There are usually one or two outlets for high pressure streams of hot water. The water streams are enclosed in a circular curtain brush. The water comes out hot and with a lot of force. The brushes then scrub the grout in the curtain. With these types of grout cleaning machines, you usually apply a cleaner to the floor first so that the hot water can activate oxygen bleach or other cleaning chemical. These machines usually require a water source and a tank to collect the dirty water. That is why they are most often used by professional grout cleaning services and are hooked up to a truck like in this video.

The best place to try to find grout cleaning machines for your own use is online. This type of cleaning equipment is not typically sold in home supply stores or to the public. It is fairly specialized and usually is bought by businesses. Another good place to buy equipment like this is from cleaning services that are going out of business. Cleaning companies will be looking to liquidate their assets and might be willing to sell you their used equipment at a good price.

Grout Cleaning Services

For some homeowners, the time and effort it takes to clean your grout properly is just not worth it. The alternative these individuals is hiring a professional grout cleaning service. This is a third party vendor who comes into your home with their own equipment and their own grout cleaning chemicals. They take all waste that is generated with them and leave behind clean tile and grout. Before you decide whether a grout cleaning service is right for you, consider some of the pros and cons that are described below.

Pros

  • Saves time
  • Access to superior chemicals and equipment
  • Saves your body
  • Saves money when you combine with other professional cleaning services
Cons

  • Cost
  • Harsh chemicals and powerful equipment might damage your grout
  • Workers and equipment could leave stains in other areas of your home
  • You must let strangers into your home
Professional grout cleaning saves the homeowner time……but professional grout cleaning costs more money than cleaning your own grout.
Grout cleaning is a time consuming process and not every homeowner has the time to stick to an effective grout cleaning schedule or to clean your grout effectively even once. For those homeowners, hiring a professional grout cleaning service is the best way to clean grout in their home. The only time that needs to be carved out is the time it takes to make a few phone calls. The work can be done while you are out of the house at work or running errands and the professional grout cleaners will not affect your daily life at all.When you are trying to decide if you should clean your own grout, you need to decide how valuable your own time is in order to make an educated decision. If you estimate that it will cost less in the long run to hire a professional than to waste several hours of your week on the task, then a professional service is a good idea. If, however, you have lots of free time and little disposable income; you might decide that even though a professional grout cleaner could do the job faster, you are better off spending the time to do the job yourself.
Professional strength grout cleaners and industrial grout cleaning equipment are more effective……but harsh professional strength chemicals and powerful industrial equipment may damage or discolor your grout lines or tile.
The chemicals and equipment that a professional grout cleaning company has access to are far superior to any of the grout cleaners or grout cleaning tools that the average homeowner has in their possession. The grout cleaning chemicals are stronger and more effective and the grout cleaning machines can apply much more force and speed with their mechanical brushes than any person can with a scrub brush wielded by the hand. If you have really dirty grout lines then the only option may be to use the services of a professional grout cleaning company in order to get back to a good starting place where you will be able to clean your grout by hand. Most homeowners feel it is worth the investment in a single professional grout cleaning.Whenever you use a new grout cleaner on your tile or grout, you always want to test it in a small inconspicuous area to make sure that there is no affect on the color or consistency of the grout. Professional strength chemicals run a greater risk of harming your grout than most over the counter grout cleaners, so you want to make sure the efforts of the professional grout cleaning company do not cause more damage than they are trying to correct. The powerful scrub brushes can cause similar problems. You may scrub so hard with mechanical scrubbing that the grout starts to crumble and disintegrate. Damages of this type are not the fault of the professional cleaning service and you will not be compensated or have your money refunded.
Professional grout cleaning prevents injury or sore muscles ……but professional grout cleaners could leave stains on your carpets or other floors.
When you clean your grout by hand you often do this on your hands and knees. This posture is hard on your knees and back because you tiled floors are hard and you have to lean over your work. You may not feel the ill effects while you are cleaning or immediately afterward, but definitely by the next day. In addition, the repeated scrubbing actions will cause the muscles in your arms to ache. If you suffer from a bad back or chronic pain from arthritis it might be worth it to pay the money for a professional grout cleaning service in order to avoid more pain.Professional grout cleaners use grout cleaning machines that are hooked up to a water tank and a waste water tank outside of your home. That means that they must run hoses from a truck outside to the room where they are using the grout cleaning machine. If those hoses are not properly cleaned then it is possible that they could leave stains on your carpets or other floor surfaces between the front door and the tiles room you are cleaning. In addition, the work boots worn by your professional grout cleaners might leave stains or marks on your carpets as well.
Professional grout cleaning service could save money in the long run……but you have to let strangers into your home when you hire professional grout cleaners.
If you decide to pay a professional grout cleaning service, you might end up saving money on other professional cleaning services. For example, if you pay to clean the tile and grout in one room, a professional cleaner might give you a discount on a second room or on carpet shampooing in another area of your house. You will probably be paying someone to clean your carpets anyway. Paying for that service a la carte will be more expensive so using the professional grout cleaning service ends up saving you money in the long run.Whenever you hire third party vendors to do work in your home you automatically assume a certain amount of risk when it comes to your belongings. Even though any reputable professional service company will vet its employees, there is no way to accurately predict human behavior. There is always a risk that something might be stolen while strangers are in your home. To protect yourself, you should probably put away anything small and valuable while grout cleaners are in your home to remove temptation.

How to Hire a Grout Cleaning Service

If you have weighed the pros and the cons and decided that it is in your best interest to hire a professional grout cleaner then you may be wondering how to go about it. You want to make sure that you get your money’s worth and that you do not have to do extra work once the professionals are done. In order to make sure you get the most for your money when hiring a grout cleaning service, follow these simple steps.

  1. Measure
  2. Ask for referrals
  3. Select at least three companies
  4. Call to get quotes
  5. Ask for proof of insurance and bond
  6. Check references
  7. Sign a contract

1. Measure

In order to get an accurate quote for grout cleaning services you need to know as much about the room you will be cleaning as possible. The first step is to get accurate measurements of the entire tiled surface. Take note of how much of the tile is on the floor and how much is vertical. If you do have tile on the walls, take some notes about how high up the wall it extends or if there are painted areas above or below. In your measurement notes you also want to indicate how dirty the tile is on a scale of one to ten. Some professional cleaning companies will charge more if the grout is really dirty so you might want to say something if things are particularly bad in case that has an effect on the price. You should also take note of how large the tiles are which will directly affect how many linear feet of grout needs to be cleaned.

2. Ask for referrals

If you are hiring a grout or tile cleaning service for the first time the best place to start looking for grout cleaners is your friends and neighbors. Ask the other homeowners that you know if they have ever hired a grout cleaning company and if so what they thought of the results. The input you get from your peers will be valuable in determining who you want to call for estimates.

3. Select at least three companies

After asking friends and neighbors for referrals, you can search for professional grout cleaners online or in the yellow pages. Many companies will not be listed as grout cleaners specifically. You want to look for companies that do floor care or general house cleaning and then check their websites and ads to see if grout cleaning is among the services that they offer. Once you have some results, decide on three companies that you want to move forward with. Three is a good number because it gives you enough variety without being overwhelming in terms of the amount of work you have to put in getting estimates. Narrow your list down to three by choosing companies that come highly recommended by your peers and the ones that have the most information about themselves available.

4. Call to get quotes

Once you have your list of three, start making calls or sending online requests for quotes. Make sure that you have all of the information you gathered in step one available when you make the calls so that you can get the most accurate quote possible. Be wary of companies that will quote you a price without asking any questions about the size of the room or condition of the grout. One size fits all quotes tend to have hidden charges or unreliable results. In this day and age, it is also prudent to be careful about how much information you give to a stranger over the phone. For example, there is really no reason for a company to ask for your credit card information in order to give you an estimate.

5. Ask for proof of insurance and bond

Before you make your final decision, make sure to ask all the candidates you are considering for proof of insurance and bond. Worker’s compensation insurance will protect their employees in case of injury and liability insurance will prevent a situation where you could be held liable for something like equipment breakage. If a company is bonded that means that you will be reimbursed for any damages done to your belongings or home that were caused by their negligence or incompetence. Having both a bond and insurance means that a company is responsible and moral. If a grout cleaner refuses to show you proof of insurance or a copy of their bond certificate, then you do not want to work with them.

6. Check references

In addition to making sure that they are covered by insurance and bond, you also want to make sure that they do good work. Ask every grout cleaning company that is giving you a quote to give you three references that you can check. Again, any reputable grout cleaner will have no problem with this request. Make sure that you call each reference and ask them all the same series of questions. Find out if they were satisfied with the work that was done and how it was to work with the company. Do not be afraid to ask about how much they paid and whether they thought it was worth the investment. Sometimes a company with better references will be worth a slightly higher quote.

7. Sign a contract

Once you have selected the professional grout cleaning service that is going to be working in your home, make sure that you sign some kind of contract or agreement with them. This contract is to protect both you and the professionals. Make sure that the agreement clearly states what you expectations are and what the grout cleaning service is promising. Make sure there is a clause that dictates exactly what will happen if the grout cleaning company fails to deliver what they promised so that you have every chance of getting your money back.

Grout Cleaning

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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.

Aesthetics

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.