Cleaning and Sealing Grout

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated August 3, 2009)

Grout, grout, grout. It does a great job of keeping your tiles in place, but it can get dirty pretty easily if not sealed properly. You can check to see if it is sealed properly by putting a drop of water on it and waiting to see if it is absorbed or simply beads. If it beads, your grout is sealed well.

When you first install your tile, you will need to wait a total of at least 48 hours before the grout has set well enough so that it can be sealed. When it is time, you can choose from one of two different methods of sealing: membrane-forming and penetrating.

In the membrane-forming method of grout sealing, grout is applied to the entire surface of the tile and keeps out liquids. Membrane-forming sealant is used on unglazed tile because it simply will not adhere to slick, glazed tile, like those used in showers. Often, this kind of sealant comes mixed with pigments to match your decor. Something nice about this kind of grouting is that the color of the pigment can be changed. A problem with this grout sealant is that it does not allow the grout to dry if water gets into it.

Penetrating sealers are really quite interesting. They sink into the grout itself and fill all the little holes in the grout, so that when the base ingredients evaporate a solid material is left inside all the previously vacant crevices. This reduces the chance that staining substances can get inside and stay there. This sealer works on shower walls since water will just slide off of your grout when you use this method for sealing.

When cleaning grout, it is important to use a pH balanced cleaner and cleaning brush. If that does not remove the problem stain, you can move up to an alkaline cleaner and then, if that does not work either, an acidic solution. Some people like to use buffing machines on their tile and grout. No matter what you try, be sure to rinse after every cleaning.

One recipe for homemade grout cleaner is a half a cup of baking soda, a third a cup of ammonia, a fourth a cup of white vinegar, and seven cups of water. This makes a good spray that you can apply and wipe off of dirty grout.

Author Bio

Cassandra Merkling

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