If you just bought a house or installed tile, eventually it will get dirty. Knowing how to clean and seal grout from floor tiles can really come in handy. Cleaning and sealing grout in floor tiles is one of the most difficult tasks around the house. No matter how well you do a job applying grout or sealing after installation, there will always be a time when cleaning is required. Knowing how to solve problems easily and effectively is important.
It doesn't matter whether you're installing porcelain or tile, or even some other type like travertine. All tiles use grout, which picks up a lot of dirt over time. Mold, mildew, food stains, and general foot traffic are responsible for most of the dirt. Keeping it clean is essential. Follow our how-to recommendations below to clean and seal grout to keep your tile floors looking great.
Table of contents
- How to Prepare Floors Before Cleaning and Sealing Grout
- Use household cleaning products
- scrub grout
- Experiment with sandpaper on a small area
- Rinse after cleaning and before sealing grout
- use a sealer
- How to Clean and Seal Grout – Nuclear Options
How to Prepare Floors Before Cleaning and Sealing Grout
Sweep the floor thoroughly to make sure there is no dirt or debris on it. Then rinse well with clean water. Make sure water gets into the tile grout. Let the water dry before proceeding to the next step.
Use household cleaning products
While you can choose to buy commercial cleaners, our favorite way to clean and seal grout uses things you probably already have on hand. Yep, just combine a few ingredients you have around the house and you can get great results.
Diluted vinegar combined with baking soda can be an effective grout cleaner. Make sure you wear gloves when handling chemicals so they don't cause any skin irritation on you. Apply a baking soda/vinegar or commercial cleaner mixture to the grout. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Use a sponge or floor brush to scrub the grout thoroughly. Again, this may take a little effort, as grout stains can be stubborn. If you're having trouble, reapply the cleaning products and let them sit for a while before you start scrubbing.
Experiment with sandpaper on a small area
Small areas may require less work than you think. You may find that small stains can be removed in a different way. Before you go to the trouble of smearing cleaner on grout, try removing it by rubbing — with sandpaper. We recommend starting with 80-120 grit paper with a rough surface.
Always rub in the same direction, and concentrate on hitting only the grout line. You'll want to use a little elbow grease to remove dirt or grout stains.
Of course, this method doesn't always work, and you certainly don't want to sand large areas.
Finally, you may still need to clean and seal the grout. However, it can save you some time and labor if you're just sprinkling something on a specific area. For very stubborn stains, plan to use some type of cleaner. You may even want to try the more aggressive "nuclear option" we outline below.
Rinse after cleaning and before sealing grout
After the dirt is gone, wipe the floor with a damp mop. This will remove all cleaning products from the tiles. Whenever you clean and seal your grout, you'll want to turn up the chemicals so they stop eating away at the material.
use a sealer
After the floor is dry, you should apply a grout sealer. A sealer prevents grout from getting dirty in the future because it creates a barrier that keeps out dirt, chips, stains and other things that can make it look dirty. Some sealants also block moisture to prevent mildew. Choose the right sealer for your tile carefully, and follow the directions on the container. Let the sealer dry before anyone touches the floor.
While the task of cleaning grout may still sound like a daunting task, following the steps above will ensure you get better results than just using commercial cleaners. However, once you apply the grout sealer, you will find it much easier to keep your grout clean. You will need to reapply the sealer every few years to maximize its benefits. Wipe off as much stain and grime as you can along the way.
How to Clean and Seal Grout – Nuclear Options
If you absolutely cannot clean grout, using a hand grout saw is actually a quick way to remove a thin layer of grout from the surface of your tile joints. You'll be amazed how quickly you can fly around the room, especially if the tiles have straight edges. Be prepared to pass the carbide insert every 100 square feet or so. Therefore, tools with removable blades are best.
For faster removal, grab the diamond grout removal blade and oscillating multitool. You can use this method to remove grout in a short amount of time. We recommend it for grout replacements or any larger areas.
After removing the grout, you can go back and reapply a fresh coat of grout. After doing this, your tiles will look as if they were freshly laid. Of course, when you're done, don't forget to clean and seal the grout so you won't have to do it again in a few months!