Cleaning grout is a tedious job. It can take hours, and it’s often not worth the time because of how quickly it gets dirty again. You want to make sure that you are using the right tool for the job! In this article, we’ll talk about all about steam cleaning grout, what tools work best, what to avoid when steam cleaning grout, and the best tips for making it quick and easy.
Need more ideas? Check out 45 Ways to Use a Steam Cleaner in Your Home
Are steam cleaners good for cleaning grout?
Because cleaning grout can be such an incredibly tedious job, a steam cleaner can be your very best friend. They make quick work of an otherwise time-intensive task that most people avoid altogether because of the difficulty.
Steam cleaners are great for cleaning grout, but they’re not perfect. You need to know what you’re doing and use them with care so as not to damage your precious grout! Cleaning the grout in your home can be particularly daunting if you have a lot of tiles.
How to Steam Clean Grout
There are several easy steps to steam clean your grout. If you’ve ever cleaned your grout without a steam cleaner, you’re going to be absolutely blown away with how easy it is to clean grout with a steam cleaner. It’s a no-brainer in my book and I think they are just as valuable as a vacuum cleaner! So here are some easy tips to get you started with steam cleaning your grout!
Move Everything Out of the Way
For you to clean effectively and at an uninterrupted speed, you need to move everything out of the way. This includes furniture, window treatments, and anything else that blocks your steam cleaner’s path to the grout lines in your floor or wall tile.
Sweep the Tile
The first step is always to vacuum up loose dirt or debris in your tile so that the surface is as clean as possible without obstruction from dust or anything else. This will allow you to see what’s coming up out of the actual grout more clearly when it’s being steam cleaned.
Mop the Tile
Next, take a mop with some cleaner on it (specifically made for tile) and start scrubbing at all those dirty spots! If your steam cleaner has special attachments available, this might be helpful too! It may seem useless to mop the floors before you get them dirty again but this will really help you to get a clear picture of the grout and what is all the way clean and what dirt remains in the grout.
Turn on the Steam Cleaner
The first step in using a steam cleaner is to add the water. Read the instruction manual to make sure you are using the correct amount for your unit. I highly recommend that you use distilled water. This ensures that you are not adding extra hard water and minerals into the grout by introducing bacteria from your tap water. You can get gallon jugs at many stores like Walmart for cheap so there’s no excuse! Distilled water also helps your unit to last longer because there isn’t any hard water build-up inside of it.
The next step is to plug in the steam cleaner. Because the unit uses steam, you need to let the steam cleaner heat the water and gain pressure. The steam cleaner will need around 8 minutes to heat up depending on the size of your unit (Smaller units only need a couple of minutes). I have used a few different steam cleaners and my favorite unit by far is the Dupray NEAT steam cleaner. It has up to 50 minutes of cleaning time between water refills.
Scrub that dirt away!
Now that your steam cleaner is heated up and ready to go, you can start cleaning! Take the steam cleaner (with a brush nozzle attached) and gently scrub the grout lines. You want to avoid scrubbing too hard or you will wear out the bristles on your brush and potentially damage the grout!
Wipe away the grime
After you scrub the grout, you’ll be able to see the dirt and grime rise to the sides of the grout. Take a dry towel and wipe away the dirt. This will help you see how much dirt is remaining.
Depending on how dirty your grout is, you may need to go for round two and steam clean it a second time. Use the same methods as before, but scrub and wipe a little more vigorously.
After you’re done with the steam cleaner for round two, make sure to give your grout some time to dry so that you can see what areas need to be cleaned again, if necessary. You may need to use a hairdryer or fan if necessary!
When cleaning vertical tile and grout, make sure to work from top to bottom so the dirt, water, and steam drip down onto the dirty tile and not the clean tile.
How does a steam cleaner make cleaning grout easier?
Typically, if you are cleaning your tile grout without a steam cleaner, you would use some cleaner and a small brush in the small space of the grout. It would require a lot of effort to scrub every little nook and cranny, which is why steam cleaners are so helpful.
The steam cleaner’s hot water blasts the dirt out of the crevices. This not only makes it easier to clean grout with your steam cleaner but also means you’ll be less likely to damage delicate surfaces or have particles flying all over your room! Sealant can then be applied after cleaning for added protection against future stains from getting into those cracks in tile and grout.
A great way to make sure that you’re using an effective steam cleaner on tough jobs like this one is to purchase a steam cleaner that has powerful steam, a nozzle attachment, and various brush heads.
The brush heads are what allow you to gently scrub the grout and loosen the dirt (with the power of steam, of course). Depending on the steam cleaner you purchase, it will come with various brush heads that have a variety of soft or stiff bristles. Always start at the softest brush and move to harder brushes if it’s not working. The stiffer brush heads were more effective in my experience, but make sure it isn’t damaging your grout as you go along. It’s normal to feel a bit of the grout ‘grit’ on the floor but only a little bit.
Typically if you are cleaning grout without a steam cleaner, there are several different product recommendations online but they all involve letting harmful chemicals soak into your grout. Then you have to proceed to scrub the dirty grout with a toothbrush or similar brush. I worry about this method because there will inevitably be leftover cleaner left in the grout, and over time it could result in discoloration or it could lead to even more dirt build-up. With a steam cleaner, you just let the steam do all the work and there isn’t any residue left behind to worry about!
Another thing to note about this process is that it may take some time before you see results with grout because you’ll be scrubbing off dirt and debris which has built up over time versus just washing away residue left behind on tiles after mopping.
Do I need to pretreat grout with cleaner before using a steam cleaner?
One of the benefits of using a steam cleaner to clean grout is that you do not need to pretreat your grout beforehand. The steam setting will do the work for you by melting away any dirt and grease, leaving no residue behind.
Pretreating the grout with cleaner would only lead to wasting time and money, plus it would be a lot harder to get the grout clean.
How can I prevent my grout from getting dirty again?
Two ways will really help prevent your grout from getting dirty again. The first way is to use some sort of grout sealer that will essentially ‘plug up’ the porous grout texture so that dirt can’t work its way in.
The other way to help prevent your grout from getting dirty again is by using a steam cleaner regularly. It will be hard for dirt and grease to work their way in when you are constantly cleaning the grout with steam every few weeks or so. You don’t necessarily have to use the nozzle attachment but use a steam mop in place of using cleaners and a regular mop system. The cleaner will embed itself into the texture of the grout and attract more dirt. So if you can avoid it, avoid using any cleaners on your tile and grout and use a steam mop instead. And please especially avoid using a Swiffer mop. The cleaner builds up over time and makes a gross layer all over the tile.
What do I look for when choosing a steam cleaner?
It’s important to consider what you will be cleaning when choosing a steam cleaning unit to purchase. Some units are heavy and cumbersome to carry around. If you want a unit that can easily clean walls and floors I recommend purchasing a unit that has a base with a long hose.
Many steam cleaners have a wheeled base that makes it convenient for moving it around the house and getting it to where you need it to go. If you have a steam cleaner with a short hose, oftentimes you’ll have to lift the unit to get it to reach high places. This can get tiring after a while, especially if the unit is heavy.
A really popular steam cleaner is the Bissell Steam Shot. This unit is nice because it’s compact and easy to store and carry around. However one of the disadvantages is that because of its size, you’ll need to refill the tank quite frequently. Some other steam cleaners have a larger tank capacity that allows you to clean for a longer period of time between refills. This is a really nice feature if you have a larger home or have a big job ahead of you.
As I mentioned above, hose length is a really important factor to consider when purchasing a steam cleaner. It’s much easier to clean for an extended period of time when you aren’t lifting a heavy steam cleaning machine. So having a long hose will really extend the length of time you’ll be able to clean.
What is the best steam cleaner for grout?
Because I’ve used several different steam cleaners personally, I have a pretty good grasp of what features are important when steam cleaning grout. Overall I would highly recommend the Dupray NEAT steam cleaner. I am not sponsored by them I just truly love their product. I love the versatility of the unit, how long it runs, the long hose, and all of the mini attachments that it comes with.
The more attachments that a steam cleaner comes with the more ability that you have to use it in different cleaning situations. The Dupray NEAT can mop floors, clean grout, steam upholstery, clean out your car, and tons more! I’ve owned this steam cleaner for a few months and it’s by far the best one that I’ve used. Not to mention that because of the tank size, I can fill the water tank much less frequently enabling me to be more efficient with my time.
If you’re like me, then your grout is looking a little dingy and dirty. I know that scrubbing it with a brush or using chemical cleaners can be tedious and time-consuming. It’s also not always great for the environment because they are often toxic to humans and animals alike. That’s why steam cleaning grout is such an amazing alternative! This process takes minutes rather than hours, doesn’t require any chemicals, and just about anyone can do it. Besides being environmentally friendly, this technique will save you money in the long run by saving on potential repair costs of tiles damaged by tile cleaner residue after many years of use.