When your grout lines look tired and dirty the whole tiled area seems to carry a tired and worn appearance. If your grout is discolored, dirty, cracking, etc.; it is time to give it some love with a professional deep cleaning or replacement.
Tile is one of the toughest flooring options available and when cared for properly it can last a lifetime, but the grout is a different story. Grout is porous, soft, and easily stained. It is also a breeding ground for mold and mildew. In many cases, grout can be brought back to life with a professional cleaning, but in some instances, it needs a replacement.
Here is how you can determine whether you will need to call in a professional grout cleaner or start digging out those grout lines.
When it’s Time for a Cleaning
If your grout is merely discolored or stained there is a good chance it can be cleaned. If you want to take a stab at cleaning it up you can try to do so with a clean stiff-bristle brush dipped in a gentle scouring powder made for grout cleaning. Once the grime has lifted you can rinse with clean water.
If the scouring powder doesn’t work you can try a 50/50 solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Apply the solution with a clean sponge or spray on. Let the bleach water do its work for 10 minutes and then apply more bleach water and wait another 10 minutes. After the second application rinses off with clean water.
If stains remain after your first two attempts it is time to call in a professional tile and grout cleaner. They can use professional high powered equipment to clean deep down beyond where home remedies won’t reach. Once they get the grout nice and clean they can apply a sealant to help protect it from future staining. Ideally grout should be professionally deep cleaned and sealed at least once a year.
When it’s Time to Replace
If your grout is permanently stained, badly cracked, or crumbly it is definitely time to replace it. You can choose to hire someone to do it or you can do the project yourself. If you attempt to replace grout on your own, the first step is to remove the existing grout.
The type of tools you will need to dig out grout all depends on the size of your grout lines. For a quarter inch grout line or smaller you can use a grout rake, a small hand tool with a steel blade covered with a very sharp carbide grit. A grout rake is also good for jobs with a small square footage. It is simple to use, you just pull it through the grout line to “rake” out the yucky grout. For most grout replacement jobs you should only need to dig out the top half of the grout as long as the bottom half of the grout is still in good condition.
Read More How to Choose the Right Tile Grout
For larger grout lines, and jobs that cover a larger area, you will want a tool with a little more speed and strength. If you walk into a home improvement store you may find many motorized tools made for grout replacement, the best one for a DIY is an oscillating multi tool with a carbide grit removal blade. It is an easier tool to control than other motorized grout removal tools.
When you have the old grout removed, you will want to take a stiff bristled brush preferably nylon to get out all the dust and grit. Follow with a vacuum to make sure every bit of loose debris is gone. Now you are ready to mix some new grout. You can also buy pre-mixed grout. Once the grout is ready smear it into the grout lines with a grout float. Let the grout sit for 20 minutes and then use a damp grout sponge to wipe the tile surfaces clean. Next, let the grout cure for the amount of time on the grout package instructions. Once the grout is cured a sealant can be applied.
Read More: Cleaning Products That Actually Damage Tile
If you feel an expert opinion would be best to help determine if your grout needs a deep cleaning or a replace a professional tile and grout cleaner can help with that.
All Kleen has a team of experienced technicians that can help you determine how to breathe life back into your grout. Make an appointment online or call us anytime.
Read More: Hardwood Floors or the Wood Look Tile?