Resolve Dirty Grout Problems Once and For All

My grout is always dirty!

Tile is pretty easy to clean. Grout, on the other hand, can be notoriously difficult to clean. Once grout is clean, keeping it clean on a regular basis can also be quite a chore. If your grout looks dirty or seems to be a dirt magnet, there are real, lasting solutions available.

Why Grout is Hard to Clean

Grout is porous, which means it absorbs dirt, grime, spills, and other unwanted substances. Sometimes these contaminants can be removed using routine cleaning methods, such as sweeping, mopping, and occasional scrubbing. When contaminants become deeply embedded within the pores of the grout, regular cleaning methods will not produce the desired results. At this point you have two options: aggressive DIY methods or professional cleaning.

Aggressive DIY Methods

Before you start scrubbing grout lines with harsh chemicals, there are a few things to consider. To what lengths are you willing to go to get results? Plainly stated, it may be possible to remove discolorations using DIY methods, but that does not necessarily mean it is advisable. Harsh chemicals can be dangerous to the health of anyone who inhales the fumes, including children and pets, and can damage your floor or the surfaces surrounding your work area.

Begin with the gentlest methods. For example, you could sweep, apply a mild cleaning agent recommended for your type of flooring, allow enough dwell time to soften the buildup, scrub with a soft bristle brush, and then mop with a damp mop. You don’t want dirty mop water to be left to dry in the grout lines. Let the floor dry thoroughly before you decide whether your grout lines are dark, because wet grout is darker than dry grout. If your grout lines come clean, that’s great. You did it!

If your grout still looks dirty and you do decide to use harsher chemicals, be sure to select products specifically formulated, or stated as safe for, your type of flooring and follow all the safety recommendations. We have seen many cases where homeowners or professional cleaning or janitorial services did a little research, learned that sulfamic acid solutions and floor strippers can produce good cleaning results, and tried these solutions themselves only to find that they had inadvertently damaged the floor or surrounding surfaces.

Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning can flush out contaminants that get trapped in the grout, sanitizing your floors and giving them a clean, fresh appearance. Most of the time, professional deep cleaning will produce the desired results. Qualified professional stone and tile restoration contractors know how to select and appropriately use chemicals to achieve the best possible outcome without causing damage.

Why Grout is Hard to KEEP Clean

Once your tile and grout floors are clean, whether you did this yourself or had a professional do it for you, within a few weeks, you may notice the grout lines starting to turn dark. If dirt and grime are simply coating the surface of your grout, simply sweep and damp mop to remove the discolorations. If the grout lines still look dark, it is because the pores in the grout are filling up with contaminants again, and those contaminants have seeped down below the surface.

Why Grout Sometimes Looks Dirty When It’s Clean

Sometimes, when grout is permanently stained or has an uneven appearance due to improper mixing of grout during installation, neither aggressive DIY methods nor professional cleaning will produce a completely uniform, clean appearance. The floor may be sanitized, yet still have a “dirty” appearance.

How to Keep Grout Lines Looking Fresh and Clean

Replacing your grout with epoxy grout is a possible solution to dirty grout problems, but not a very practical one, since grout replacement is a hefty, and more importantly, avoidable expense.

If the pores in your grout keep filling up with contaminants, clear grout sealer can provide a lasting solution. Note that clear grout sealer will not change the color of your grout, but it will help preserve the color of your grout. It fills up the pores so contaminants stay on the surface where they can be easily removed.

If your grout lines have permanent stains or blotchy spots, grout color sealer would be your best option, because it has all the benefits of clear sealer and more. A good, quality grout color sealer will cover stains and spots, creating a like-new look. The coverage is so good that, if you desire, you can actually change the color of your grout from dark to light or vice versa. Grout color sealer prevents stains and inhibits the growth of bacteria and mildew, and it lasts for years.

If you are not sure whether to have your grout clear sealed or color sealed, you want to learn more about what to expect with professional services, or you want to schedule services, contact us. We resolve dirty grout problems.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.