How to clean tile grout was always an issue with our white tile and light grout. Until we found an easy solution! A few years ago Hubs offered to rip up our ugly white tile and replace it with new tile. It was a very tempting offer, but I didn’t have the heart to send all that waste to landfill.
As much as I didn’t love the floor, with its pink and blue wisps running through it, what I hated even more is the filthy looking grout and all the dirt it holds. I thought to myself that one day, I would scrape it all out and replace it so it looked fresh again. But that never happened! Who has that kind of time – not to mention a strong back and the patience of Job? Not me. So I made do, and at least fixed the chips in the tile.
Let’s backtrack to a few weeks ago. Hubs found a miraculous quick and easy fix! It not only made the grout look good as new again, in just a few hours, but disinfected the tile too! It’s steam cleaning!
Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?
Yes and No. If your grout is already broken and loose, then steam cleaning may loosen it even further. If you grout is sound, then you won’t have a problem. However, before you start, long time reader William also let me know that steam cleaners have been known to “strip” the glazing on cheaper tiles. I didn’t know that, so proceed with caution. If you’re not sure, test underneath an appliance first 🙂
Steam Clean Grout
Hubs was able to borrow this steam cleaner from a friend to try.
Be sure to read the instructions on your own particular model before you start:
How to Clean Tile Grout
Stage 1: Disinfect
Mission clean floors is a two stage process: disinfection of the entire floor and then the grout. To disinfect, Hubs bought a package of microfibre cloths.
He cut one to size to fit floor attachment.
Then he wraps it around and secures it in the clips. Hubs did all of this before I was even awake so he recreated this for me after already steam cleaning the tile.
If you can vacuum, you can have sparkling clean tile again too.
The cloth will hold all the dirt it removes from the floor.
Stage 2: I’m Gonna Wash that Dirt Right Outa My Grout, and Send it On It’s Way
This is the part that minds me of this song in South Pacific. Just switch up the words or use it as catchy tune to whistle to as you work. Give it a listen and tell me that’s not a catchy tune!
No soap or suds required! Lifting all the dirt out of the grout just takes water, heat, pressure and time. For that, there is this attachment.
Just run the stiff brush along each grout line and the steam magically separates the grime from grout.
After all the years of calling Hubs my ‘partner in grime’ on this blog (and in real life), I think this project embodies that best!
Now take a cloth and wipe away years of buildup! If only reverse aging was as easy as this!
Depending on how dirty your grout is, you may have to repeat the process again until you’re happy with the outcome.
How to Clean Tile Grout – Comparison
Look at the difference after just one pass. The grout on the top left side was steam cleaned and is back to its original silver grey colour. Compare that to the still-black grout section the arrow is pointing to (bottom right)!
Which one would you prefer? I don’t really need to use my grey matter to answer that one!
Hubs and I are amazed at how much better the grout looks now! It looks like the tile was just laid! Once the grout was clean again, Hubs sealed it to keep it the way!
Our tile runs throughout most of the main level. From the hall, to the kitchen, to the family room, that’s a lot of tile surface. With the right decor and accessories to detract from the colour of the floor, the tile actually looks quite decent now. As you can see in this quick video, the tile and grout are spic ‘n span!
I’m happy I made the decision to keep it. It was the right choice for us – and for the environment!
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did you seal both tile and grout? what sealer did you use? looks fabulous.
Thanks Patricia! Just the grout. The sealer we used is called HG but we just picked it up at a local tile store. There are many good ones on the market. We also used an applicator from Home Depot called HDX; it’s a plastic bottle with a wheel tip to roll it on. If you try steam cleaning, test it on the tile underneath an appliance. One reader told me that steam can lift the glaze on cheaper tiles. Thanks for your question; I’ll have to update our post 🙂
Thanks and congratulations on your nomination. will let you know how it works out. 🙂
Thanks Patricia; we’re pretty stoked about the nomination! Looking forward to hearing back on how it works out for you!
First of all congratulations on the award nomination! Woo hoo! And second, I can’t believe you wrote this post, because I have to clean my grout and the thought of sitting on the floor with the toothbrush was killing me. I have a steam cleaner!! Off to give it a go!
Thanks so much Kim; congratulations to you also! I’m happy to hear this was timely; I hope it works for you! If I had to sit on the floor to scrub grout, I’d never get up again 🙂
Thanks for this! I was about to get down on my hands and knees and paint my dirty grout. This looks so much easier and I can rent a machine just a few miles away.
You’re welcome Barb! Happy to hear this was so timely! Don’t forget to test first in an inconspicuous area, like under the fridge or stove 🙂