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If you’re like most of us, you probably love the look of sparkling clean tile surfaces in your home or outdoor area. Keeping tiles looking great is essential. This requires the grout lines to stay clean and free from dirt, mold, and stains.
Over time, grout can get discolored and, let’s be honest, a bit gross, which takes away from your tiles’ overall charm.
Pressure washing is often used for cleaning surfaces. It is a fast and efficient method that can remove even the toughest grime. But the question is: can you pressure wash tile grout to make it look brand new again?
What is Tile Grout?
Grout is a dense cement-like material. It is used to fill the gaps between tiles. This helps to create a smooth and finished look. Additionally, the grout helps to keep tiles in place.
This mixture usually consists of water, cement, sand, and sometimes color and polymer additives. These additives enhance the mixture’s performance and make it easier to use.
Common Types of Grout
Two main types of grout are used in residential and commercial applications: cement-based grout and epoxy grout.
- Cement-based grout: This is the most common type of grout available in sanded and unsanded varieties. Sanded grout is used for wider gaps between tiles, while unsanded grout is used for narrower gaps. Cement-based grout is porous and can absorb moisture, making it more susceptible to staining and mold growth.
- Epoxy grout: Epoxy grout is a non-porous, highly durable grout option made from epoxy resins mixed with filler powder. It is more resistant to stains, moisture, and chemicals, making it an excellent choice for areas with high humidity and heavy use.
Factors Affecting Grout Durability and Cleanliness
Several factors can influence the durability and cleanliness of your tile grout, including:
- Grout sealer: Applying a grout sealer can help protect your grout from stains, dirt, and moisture. Sealers come in penetrating and membrane-forming varieties, each with its own set of pros & cons. Regularly reapplying grout sealer is crucial to maintaining its effectiveness.
- Exposure to moisture and humidity: Grout in areas with constant exposure to water, such as bathrooms and kitchens, is more likely to develop mold and mildew. Proper ventilation and prompt cleaning of spills can help minimize these issues.
- Dirt and stain buildup: Over time, dirt and stains from everyday use can accumulate on your grout lines, causing them to become discolored and unappealing. Regular cleaning with appropriate methods and products can help maintain your grout’s appearance and prolong its lifespan.
When Pressure Washing Tile Grout Is Recommended?
Outdoor tiled areas
Grout is porous and can absorb water, so it tends to get dirty faster than the tiles themselves. Pressure washing will remove dirt and grime from the grout lines, making them look cleaner and brighter.
Durable grout types
Pressure washers can clean tiles with durable grout, such as sanded or polished porcelain. This will not damage the surface or the joints between tiles.
Higher pressure on your machine will result in better cleaning of these types of grouts.
Pressure Washing Tile Grout: The Pros and Cons
- Fast and efficient: Pressure washing is known for its efficiency in cleaning various surfaces. When it comes to tile grout, a pressure washer can quickly remove built-up dirt, grime, and stains, saving you time and effort compared to manual scrubbing.
- Deep cleaning: The high-pressure water stream penetrates the grout’s pores, effectively dislodging and removing trapped dirt and contaminants that may not be visible to the naked eye.
- Mold and mildew removal: Pressure washing can eliminate mold and mildew that may have formed on your grout lines, making your tiles healthier and safer for your family.
- Potential damage: Can you pressure wash tile grout without causing harm? The high-pressure water can be too harsh for certain types of grout or tiles, potentially causing them to crack or become dislodged.
- Water penetration: Pressure washing can force water into the spaces between tiles and under the grout, leading to potential issues like mold growth, loose tiles, or damaged subflooring.
- Skill required: Using a pressure washer effectively and safely on tile grout requires some skill and experience. Choosing the correct pressure settings and nozzle is essential to avoid damaging your tiles and grout.
Alternative Methods for Cleaning Tile Grout
Steam cleaning is one of the most popular alternatives to traditional methods of cleaning tile grout. It is also referred to as hot water extraction, steam cleaning, and steam mop cleaning.
This method uses an electric or battery-operated machine that heats tap water to a high temperature.
High-temperature steam loosens dirt, grease, and other contaminants from tile grout. A special attachment then vacuums them up.
- It is safe for all types of tiles, including marble, granite, and ceramic.
- No chemicals are used in this method. Therefore, no residue is left on the surface after cleaning.
- It can be used on stained or dirty grout because it does not require any pre-treatment before application.
- Steaming can leave water spots on your floors or walls, so be sure to wipe up excess water after steaming
- Equipment is expensive
Chemical cleaning is a popular and effective way to clean grout. It’s also the most common method used by professional contractors and DIYers alike. The most significant advantage of chemical cleaning is that it can be done quickly and easily.
You can purchase various products at your local home improvement store or rent a machine from a tool rental company.
- Quick and easy
- Available in many stores
- It can be used on all types of grout
- It cannot be used on all types of tile; chemical cleaners may damage some tiles
- Chemical cleaners are not environmentally friendly
There are a lot of grout cleaning solutions available in the market; however, we recommend the Black Diamond Stoneworks ULTIMATE GROUT CLEANER. It is an acid-free cleaner designed for both white and colored grout. It also comes bundled with a grout-cleaning brush for easy application.
Black Diamond Stoneworks ULTIMATE GROUT CLEANER
- Acid free
- Works with white and colored grout
- Deep clean
- Safe for all types of tiles
- Bundled brush
Don’t be afraid if you’re ready to tackle this cleaning job yourself. Pressure wash the tile grout only after you have inspected it.
And always wear the proper safety equipment—especially goggles! If you are unsure or inexperienced with pressure washing jobs on small or large properties, call a professional to do it instead.