Steam cleaners such as the Vapamore MR-50 are the power tools of various types of deep cleaning, including tile grout. They make quick work of an otherwise tedious task that demands immense elbow grease. These machines heat water to more than 200°F and have nozzles that direct steam blasts onto the grout.
Ceramic tiles are durable, come in various colors, patterns, types, and mesh well with any living space. However, they get dirty relatively fast, so keeping them clean can be an uphill battle. Luckily, this guide will walk you through the ins and outs of how to clean floor tile grout with steam cleaner.
What Makes Grout Get Dirty?
Upon installation, the tile grout is forced between the tiles for stabilization and to fill the unsightly gaps that would be left behind. Contrarily, given that tile grout is positioned slightly below the tile and contains sand, it lures in all kinds of debris.
In showers and bathtubs, the gunk becomes hardened mineral scale, grime, and mold due to the moist environment. On tile floors, the debris mostly constitutes embedded dirt. However, it may house the buildup of detergent residue.
The muck seeps into the grout pores and becomes increasingly more challenging to get rid of with standard cleaning after a while. Furthermore, even a vigorous scrub with a stiff-bristle brush coupled with the best cleansers may yield an unsatisfactory outcome.
Steam cleaning with the most powerful machines is more effective as it uses simultaneous scrubbing and steam without relying on harsh detergents to get the job done.
To get started, you’ll need the following items.
- A steam cleaner or steam mop
- A mop
- A sponge
- A broom
- A bucket
Step-By-Step Process: How to Clean Floor Tile Grout With Steam
To kick off the cleaning process, follow the steps below.
1. Clean the Tiles
Before you can get to the grout, you’ll need to begin by cleaning particular areas that you’ll steam clean later. Doing so will guarantee that you eliminate the gunk, goo, grit, and grime that will make the steam cleaning process a nightmare, and that’s the last thing anyone needs.
Furthermore, excess dirt or soap scum may clog the cleaner’s brush. If you’re cleaning floor tile, then damp-mop and sweep beforehand. If you’re cleaning tiled walls, use a sponge dabbed in gentle detergent and rinse afterward.
You can also use baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a small amount of dish soap. Put this cleaning solution onto the tile and let it sit on the grout for at least ten minutes. The cleaning solution with the baking soda will loosen some of the stuck on dirt, making it easier to clean up. Simply wipe the floor with a damp cloth.
2. Prepare the Steam Cleaner
It’s time to fill up the reservoir of your steam cleaner. Switch on the machine and activate the ‘steam’ feature as per the user manual. Typically, it’ll take up to 10 minutes for the device to begin emanating steam.
As per the instructions, connect the steam cleaner to the hose. Ensure you select a suitable brush size based on your type of grout and tile. When in doubt, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
We advise you to start with a bristle nylon brush that’s a beast at cleaning the grout while protecting the tiles from damage. For stubborn dirt, you can switch to a brass-bristle brush. Although it’ll get the job done, it’s worth considering that these brushes easily damage the tiles.
3. Scrub and Steam
Switch on the steamer and adjust it to the recommended spray rate. Move it back and forth, directly over the grout to get the area spick and span. You should tackle one section at a go to avoid missing a spot.
If you’re scrubbing tiled walls with grout, start from the top, slowly working your way down. Doing so guarantees the filthy water runs downward rather than the clean sections.
4. Rinse and Repeat
Once a particular area is clean, that’s your cue to rinse it to get rid of the filthy water. After all, the last thing you need is for it to settle back into the tile grout and dry, rendering your efforts futile. Keep refilling and reheating the steam as you deem necessary.
Repeat the process as many times as you need to achieve pristine grout. Wrap up the process by cleaning the entire area.
Selecting a Steam Cleaner
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On the consumer market, a few tools were designed with steam cleaning floor tile grout in mind. General-purpose canister steam cleaners surpass the boiling point of water in minutes. Additionally, they maintain steam for up to 30 minutes.
If you’re looking for a device to clean tiles on bathroom walls, then a versatile canister steam cleaner is your best bet. While some steam cleaners are solely meant for cleaning floors due to their bulky nature, versatile steam cleaners come with various attachments best suited for different surfaces.
You have free rein to buy a steam cleaner or rent out one at your local rental outlet or home center. Most rentals are perfect for cleaning tiles which is why you need to do your due diligence by ensuring you have the ideal brushes for grout.
When to Hire a Professional
Now that you’re aware of the nitty-gritty of how to clean floor tile grout with steam, it’s essential to keep in mind that the steam cleaning process doesn’t always yield the results you want. That’s because consumer-grade models contain small water reservoirs, hindering their ability to produce adequate steam to clean a large area at once.
These units also don’t expel the steam onto the tile floor with the same pressure found on commercial steam cleaners. Therefore, if your efforts to steam clean your tile floor and grout prove futile, it might be time to rope in an expert.
Alternatives to Steam Cleaning
If cleaning floor grout with a steam cleaner isn’t ideal, here are a few options to consider.
You can tint the color of your floor tile grout to conceal stains. The color becomes darker and not vice versa. Readily available tint pens will allow you to easily alter the color just as you would with a marker.
While the removal and replacement of grout might seem tedious, it’s a straightforward process with the right tools. Electric, rotating multi-tools chip out the grout effortlessly while ensuring the tiles remain intact.
Does a Steam Cleaner Come In Handy on Sealed and Unsealed Grout?
One of the perks of steam cleaning tile grout is that you can deep clean sealed and unsealed grout without ruining the sealer. Once your tile grout is looking pristine, you can maintain it by sealing it with a grout sealer that’s available in two types: penetrating and topical.
Keep in mind that both categories have their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, ensure you weigh your options as per your tiles. Furthermore, some sealers may impact the grout color and sheen, which is why you need to take the time to read and understand the instructions to determine the most suitable sealer for your tile grout.
Steam cleaners are amazing for cleaning smooth tiles, porous tiles, and, more importantly, grout lines. Although their pores and crevices make grout lines an uphill task to clean, hot steam penetrates all nooks and crannies to effectively loosen grease, dirt, and grime. Furthermore, with a unique, top-grade floor tool, shine restoration and tile maintenance are a breeze.