Tiles are often the perfect addition to a room, providing an excellent finish, ongoing durability and ease of care. However, the problem of maintaining the pristine finish of a tiling project does not often lie with the tiles itself, but with keeping the tile grout between the tiles clean.
Poorly maintained grout can leave the area susceptible to damp and mildew, not to mention looking unsightly. However, there are a variety of effective methods to clean and maintain your tile grout, which we will cover in this useful blog.
How does grout get dirty?
Grout is applied to the gaps between tiles to create a seal, so that water is not able to penetrate the area. However, the popular cement-based grouts are water-resistant rather than being completely waterproof, with very small holes that allow moisture to pass through. This tends to only be on a very small scale, so there is no damage to the tiles, but any dirt within the moisture will gradually lead to staining of the grout.
In addition, the grout lines themselves create small channels which allow liquids to rest between the tiles. The liquid will eventually evaporate, but stains and dirt will be left behind to leave an unsightly surface. This can be avoided by placing rugs throughout high traffic areas, which will help to minimise the grouts exposure to dirt.
How can I protect grout?
Many tilers will add sealant to the grout surface, so that spills, stains and dirty water are not able to do any damage. The type of sealant you require will depend on the tiles, with natural stone surfaces requiring sealing to both the tiles and the grout post installation.
There are many grout sealers available which are simple to apply and capable of providing effective protection. An example is the Lithofin KF Grout Protector, which is ideal for protecting kitchens and bathrooms from grease and dirt spots.
How do I prevent mould and mildew within grout?
The majority of grouts will contain antibacterial agents which are designed to prevent mould and mildew growth. However, mould spores will land and grow on surfaces where there is sufficient water, so it is always advisable to limit the exposure of your grout to water wherever possible. For example, you should avoid mopping or cleaning the tiled surface in a way which will push the water into the grout lines, especially if the surface is unsealed.
What is the most effective way to clean grout?
If mould or mildew does become an issue, there are various products which will effectively remove stains caused by mould, fungus and algae. For example, we stock HG Mould Spray and Lithofin KF Mildew-Away, which are both fast acting cleaners.
If your grout is heavily soiled, there are specialist grout cleaners available which will work effectively. For example, HG Extreme Power Cleaner, Lithofin FZ Intensive Cleaner and Lithofin KF Grout Cleaner. These professional grade products are designed to prevent and lift stains, without harming the tiled area. Simply follow the instructions on the grout cleaner and use a brush to lift the soiling.
In many cases, you will notice a drastic appearance in the cleanliness of the grout, however there are some stains which can be permanent, such as rust, dyes and chemical patches. If troublesome marks remain, there are a variety of products available which are designed to refresh the grout, including grout pens.
However, the superficial improvement is unlikely to provide the longevity you need, and you may find that the damage is too extensive. In these situations, we recommend removing the old grout and laying new grout to give the area an instant refresh.
We hope you have found this guide to guide to cleaning and maintaining tile grout useful, and we are sure you will be impressed with our product recommendations. If you are a retailer, wholesaler, or builders’ merchant interested in stocking our wholesale products within the UK or Ireland, please contact our sales team today.