Grout Cleaning

Grout Cleaning Floors and Showers

Floor grout and shower grout are completely different types of grout and both take on dirt in a different way. Floor grout is in most cases a sanded grout. It is harder and stands up to the wear and tear that a floor must endure. The exception is marble and other softer natural stones which in most cases has un-sanded grout. Showers usually have un-sanded grout although there are many exceptions to the rule. Many showers with wider grout lines have sanded gout in the joints.

Dirty Floor Grout

dirty floor grout

Floor grout gets dirty in many ways. Soils that are tracked in from outside deposit themselves in the low grout lines. These types of soils in many cases can be swept or vacuumed out. Oily soils coming in from driveways, garages and kitchens require a bit more effort. They will most likely need some sort of chemical action to break the bond that grease and oil can form on both tile and grout. One of the biggest culprits is soap. Too much soap can really form a strong bond on both tile and grout. I have found that soap is actually more difficult to remove than other types of soils. The other issue with floor grout is dirty mop water being deposited into the grout lines. This occurs in most commercial installations but is also fairly prevalent in homes as well. Keep in mind that grout is the lowest point in a floor so most of the dirt will end up there. The nest way to keep floor grout clean? Have it sealed from the beginning.

Dirty and Moldy Shower Grout

moldy shower

Shower grout has its own set of problems. Due the temperature of the water and high levels of moisture found in the bathroom the possibility of mold is the first issue of concern. Mold can grow anywhere but the factors that contribute to it in a shower are improper caulking and poor shower pan drainage usually caused by clogged or caulked over weep holes in the case of fiberglass pans. Some tile floor showers are also improperly installed as well or the pans may fail in time. This will normally cause mold to begin in the grout near the floor and climb the wall with time. Shower and tub re-caulking may need to be performed every couple of years.

Hard water can also affect showers by sticking to the surface of the tiles and shower doors. Luckily this can be cleaned – read about it here.

Dirty Grout Prevention

In the case of showers and tub surrounds the best way to keep them clean is to dry them after each use with a towel or a squeegee. It only takes a minute and will keep your tiled surfaces looking good and help prevent hard water build up.

Floors are a different story. Since grout is the low point dirt will always accumulate there. Keeping the floor swept and vacuumed will go along way. Mopping with hot water works great – you van also add a little vinegar (not a good idea on acid sensitive stone floors). Do not use too much soap! Soap build up is very difficult to remove. Grouted floors need to be sealed from the start. Although this will not prevent the floor from getting dirty will aid in the cleanup process.

Keep in mind that keeping your grouted surfaces clean is a basic home maintenance issue and you may have to call in a pro from time to time for help. In some cases the grout may be un-salvageable. In the case of a shower or tub surround – they can be re-grouted.

Floor grout can be color sealed to be given a like new look for a fraction of the cost of replacement.

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