Though tile may be easy to clean, grout often isn't. Grout can become discolored with time and can even become the persistent source of mold and mildew. For those who want a sparkling clean bathroom or kitchen, this can be problematic. Here are a few steps to getting your grout looking like new again.
Killing Off Mold and Mildew
One of the biggest issues with grout tends to be recurring mold and mildew. In general, this tends to happen because there is still some mold and mildew left somewhere — often behind the grout itself. In order to completely kill off living things that are growing in the grout, bleach can be used. If the grout is colored, however, bleach could potentially stain it. Instead of bleach, a wash of vinegar and baking soda is often recommended. Either way, multiple treatments may be required before the mold and mildew has been killed off.
Using Industrial Cleaning Equipment
For the purposes of tile cleaning, industrial power washing equipment is available to get deep down into the grout and stains. In general, it's usually best that this equipment be used by a professional. Even a small tile washer could potentially be damaging to tile if it's used at too high of a pressure. For those who don't have access to industrial cleaning equipment, a steam mop may also be effective. A steam mop will both clean and sanitize the area, though it will not have quite the washing effect of a pressure washer.
Sealing the Grout Properly
Once the grout has been cleaned to the best of your ability. it's time to properly seal it. Grout actually needs to be sealed fairly frequently; the seal itself will wear off with time. One of the major reasons that grout often becomes discolored and stained is because it's only sealed once or twice. Instead, every time the grout gets a deep cleaning, it should be appropriately sealed. Sealant can be found at any home improvement store and can be easily applied with the use of either a brush or a sponge.
Of course, sometimes grout simply needs to be replaced. If the grout is overly stained or discolored, a company that specializes in tile restoration and remodeling may be able to replace the grout itself. After this, it will simply be a matter of properly sealing the grout and engaging in regular tile cleaning. If you do decide to replace your grout, you may want to consider types of grout that are naturally resistant to water and staining. For more information, contact local professionals like Leo's Holland Floor Maintenance.