Ceramic and porcelain tile is a versatile option available to home owners due to its wide range of colors, sizes, patterns and uses. It is a sturdy covering for floors, walls and back splashes, impervious to water. There is a drawback; although tile is easy to maintain, the grout between the tiles is highly susceptible to dirt and stains.
Sealers Don’t Stop Staining
The best quality sealers will not protect your grout from staining when it is not given immediate attention. Grout is very porous and definitely more resilient when sealed. However, the sealer loses effectiveness when the stain is allowed to sit.
You may have noticed this in high traffic areas of your home, where the grout near the walls appears fresh and new. The areas that get heavy foot traffic and use look dingy and dark. Check the discoloration that occurs in the grout on bathroom walls near water sources or on the back splash behind your kitchen stove.
No amount of scrubbing or bleaching gets it clean. Once the stains have been absorbed below the immediate surface it is very difficult to remove.
Epoxy Versus Standard Grout
You may be fortunate to have a tiling contractor that used epoxy grout. It is over triple the cost of standard grout and looks similar, but it is non-porous. It is almost maintenance-free and more durable.
The majority of tile is installed using standard grout that comes with or without sand. It must be coated with a sealer and given regular attention.
Regular Maintenance is Required
“Why is my grout always dirty?” That is a question we are frequently asked by home owners. We offer several recommendations for you to “do” and “not do” when caring for your tile floors and walls.
Do this to maintain your grout:
- Clean your tile when it becomes dirty, even if that is once a week or more often
- Vacuum or sweep up the loose dirt first
- Use a pH neutral cleaning solution for grout and tile, following the manufacturer’s directions
- Use a soft scrub brush to apply the cleaning solution and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes
- Rinse the grout thoroughly with clean, hot water
- Change the water when it gets dirty and rinse out the mop or sponge frequently
- Use a clean, cotton towel to dry the grout
Do not do this to your grout:
- Stay away from detergent or soapy cleaning products, since these leave a sticky residue that binds the dirt to the grout
- Avoid strong chemical cleaners, ammonia and bleach since these with dissolve the sealer, leaving your grout totally vulnerable
- Never use scrub brushes with hard or metal bristles – these will scratch and wear away the sealer
Keep a spray bottle with pH neutral tile and grout cleaning solution handy for emergency spills. Spray it on the spill immediately and wipe it up with a damp sponge or paper towels. This will stop it from absorbing into the grout.
Restoring Soiled and Damaged Grout
Grout that is cracked and crumbling must be replaced. We recommend having it re-sealed annually. Grout that is intact, but stained can be restored professionally to look just like new. Since it is a porous material, not only does is absorb dirt, but it is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. We offer services to clean as well as sanitize your grout and tiles.
Between professional cleanings, follow the steps described above to keep your tiled surface looking fresh. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of rinsing with clean water and drying thoroughly to remove the dirt. We invite you to contact us at Dr. Clean Home Care to answer your questions about tile and grout care.
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