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.
Cleaning dirty grout is one of the most labor intensive and difficult cleaning projects in your home. Even though it is difficult, it is extremely important to keep your grout clean. There are health benefits to keeping grout clean as well as monetary benefits. If you ever decide to sell your home, having clean grout could make a difference in the decision of a prospective buyer. When your tile grout is clean, the whole room will look brighter and larger. Those are huge advantages when trying to sell your home. You might even be able to get more money for your home because the buyer will feel like they can move right in. Dirty grout poses a health risk because bacteria and allergy inducing molds can grow in the porous grout lines if you let them get too dirty. When it comes time to do some cleaning in your bathroom, kitchen, or any room with tile floors or tile walls, here are a few grout cleaning tips to keep in mind.
Grout clean often
Use the gentlest grout cleaner possible
Gels, pastes, and foams are better than liquid grout cleaners
Scrub with circular motions
Stained grout is not the same as dirty grout
You do not have to clean grout by hand
Apply grout sealer
Grout Clean Often
The number one key to keeping your grout looking clean and bright is to clean it as often as possible. The reason that grout gets dirtier than tile or other areas of your home is that it is more porous. The porous nature of grout surfaces means that dirt and stain causing spills can work their way deep into the grout lines. It is harder to clean stains and get out dirt that is deep into the grout rather than just on the surface. If you clean your grout often enough, you will never give the dirt long enough to work its way very deep and as a result the cleaning will be much easier and faster.
I find it is best to get on a schedule and work that schedule into your daily routine. The shower is the hardest tiled area to keep clean because of the wet ad warm environment. That is why I pay special attention to this tiled area. I spend an extra five minutes in the shower each morning cleaning a section of the tile and grout. I have broken up my shower into seven parts and a I clean a different section every day. That means that the entire shower gets cleaned once a week, but I only spend a few extra minutes in the shower each morning where I will be spending time anyway. Even if I miss a day because I am away or just in a hurry, I know that I will hit that area again in a week and the grout will never go long without cleaning.
Use the Gentlest Grout Cleaner Possible
It is possible to damage your grout or even your tile if you use a chemical that is too harsh or abrasive. That is why my next grout cleaning tip is to use the gentlest grout cleaner that you can in order to get the grout clean. If you are cleaning your grout for the first time, I would suggest starting with the mildest option, which is steam, and working your way up to the harshest option which is chlorine bleach products. When you find a cleaner that works, you do not have to go any farther and you know you have been as gentle on your grout and tile as you could be. If you start to clean your grout regularly, you may find that you can even go down a level or two for ongoing cleaning. For more information on the different types of grout cleaners, go here.
Gels, Pastes, and Foams are better than Liquid Grout Cleaners
My next grout cleaning tip is to try to use grout cleaners that have more substance like gels or pastes rather than liquid cleaners. The reason for this is that most grout cleaners are more effective if you give them time to sit on the grout and start to break down stains and grime. On vertical tiled surfaces especially, the liquid grout cleaners just run off and do not get a lot of time to do their work. Gels, foams, or pastes will stay on the grout lines and do a lot of the grout cleaning for you before you ever pick up a scrub brush or turn on a grout cleaning machine.
Scrub with Circular Motions
When you are scrubbing grout lines, it can be very tempting to scrub directly along those grout lines in a back and forth motion. It feels as though that scrubbing action is the most efficient use of your time and energy because you shouldn’t waste time scrubbing the rest of the tile. The problem with that approach is that the back and forth motion actually deposits dirt back into the grout lines. With every forward stroke you are dislodging dirt and grime, and then with every backward motion you are putting the dirt you just removed back into the grout. The correct scrubbing motion to use when cleaning grout lines is a circular one. Scrub along the grout lines in small circular motions so that you dislodge the dirt and grime and then deposit what you removed to the side on the tile before moving on to another section of grout. While it seems like you are scrubbing more area and taking more time, you will actually end up saving yourself effort and time.
Stained Grout is not the same as Dirty Grout
Another grout cleaning tip to keep in mind is that stained grout does not necessarily mean dirty grout. You may find as you progress in your grout cleaning project that there are particularly bad stains that you just cannot get out of the grout lines. One of the reasons we clean our grout is to remove bacteria and mold that could cause illness or allergy problems. These stains that are hard to get out are not saturated with bacteria or mold. They are harmless to your health and you should keep that in mind as you clean. You may never be able to remove a stain, but that does not mean that your family’s health is at risk. If you have a stain that cannot be removed with any of your cleaning efforts, then your only choice may be to remove that section of grout and start fresh.
You Do Not Have to Clean Grout By Hand
When most homeowners start to think about grout cleaning they immediately think about cleaning grout by hand, but that is not the only way to get clean grout. There are two other grout cleaning methods that are worth mentioning and giving a try under the right circumstances. The first is a grout cleaning machine. You can purchase steam cleaners are other grout cleaning machines at department stores or large home improvement warehouses as well as from online retailers. You may even be able to purchase industrial grade equipment from a professional cleaning service that is going out of business. Grout cleaning machines use the power of steam and powerful scrub brushes to clean your grout better than you ever could be hand. The second alternative grout cleaning method is hiring a professional grout cleaner. Professional grout cleaners have access to all the best grout cleaning chemicals and grout cleaning equipment. The best part about hiring a professional grout cleaner is that you do not have to spend any of your valuable time on grout cleaning. For information about hiring a grout cleaner for your home, go here.
Apply Grout Sealer
The last grout cleaning tip that I have to share is actually a preventative measure that every homeowner should take in order to avoid a lot of difficult grout cleaning down the road. Grout sealer is a product that is applied to grout after it cures or dries. The grout sealer will protect your grout from outside influences by creating a barrier that water or dirt cannot penetrate. There are different types of grout sealer to choose from depending on what kind of tile you are sealing, where the tile is, and what it will be exposed to. For more information on selecting the right grout sealer go here and for more information on how to apply grout sealer, go here.