While cleaning the smoother surface of the tiles is relatively straightforward, the grout channels are not so. Over a while, the grout region accumulates lime scales, dirt and water stains to change into a darker and much more unappealing version of the original white color.
Besides dirt, the grout also accumulates a lot of embedded dirt and residual detergent build-ups. The combined mutated deposition is often hard to remove or clean.
This gunk needs extra labor, time and additional help to clean in most cases. However, since the advent of steam cleaners, the cleaning of tile grout has become relatively a more straightforward job and without the need for additional assistance or external cleaning agents.
However, a question that is often asked by most of the people is “Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?” The answer is NO but Chemicals and other caustic agents used for grout cleaning have been reported for causing damage to the tile grout. Similarly hired cleaning assistance also does damage the tile grout due to the harsh scrubbing with metallic brushes and chemicals like acids and alkalis.
To understand how exactly steam cleaning works and to know the answer of the universal question Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout? let us dive a bit deeper into the details about the working mechanism of Steam Cleaner.
Best Steam Cleaners For Grout
Choosing the Right Steam Cleaner for Your Grout
There are numerous types of steam cleaners available in the market that has a different purpose. However, for cleaning the tile grout, a steam cleaner with specific tool attachments to reach those crevices and spaces are needed.
Besides the accessories, a handheld canister steam cleaner is also best suited for grout cleaning. The bathrooms are generally small and confined spaces where portability becomes an important factor that inhibits the cleaning process. A handheld canister cleaner does not occupy any floor space and is relatively easier to maneuver, making it perfect for tile grout clean up.
What do you need for grout cleaning?
- Steam cleaner with the accessories like brush and tool attachments
- Mop and sponges for post-cleanup wiping
What is the gunk and scum deposits on the grouts made of?
Grout areas are prone to accumulation of any and every kind of debris. The hardened or emulsified deposits on the grout area turn into a darker shade of brown or black over a period of time. The hardened mass consists of some of the most unhygienic and dirty wastages. These include skin flakes, shedding hair, body oils, dried urine droplets, fecal particulate, dried saliva, mud, oil/grease, Sand, dead bugs, minerals from the water like calcium, lime, rust, Microbes, etc. among many more.
Mythbuster – Steam Cleaning vs Chemical Cleaning
Since Chemical Cleaning has been with us for generations together, it is difficult to let go of this age-old cleaning technique. We often see sparkling results at the end of a Chemical cleaning session. The tiles are back to being their brand new self and thus making us happy. However, the aftermath is not very qualified health or wealth wise.
The reason being straightforward. Chemical cleaning leaves behind a very caustic smell and the expense of the procedure is not very light on the pocket. In case you are a person with respiratory or other such issues, the tiles and floors will need a few days of proper aeration before you can use it safely without falling ill.
In the case of steam cleaners, the process is relatively odorless and does not require professional help. Besides, it does not leave behind harsh chemical residue that is extremely unhealthy for the environment.
One of the positive aspects of using a steam cleaner for grout cleaning is that it does not apply forced pressure while cleaning. It also does it uses harsh corroding chemicals for cleaning. These two aspects in itself make Steam cleaning of the grout the least damaging cleaning mechanism of all the alternatives presented.
How should you clean the tile grouts?
Step 1 – Pre wipe the entire tile surface to remove excessive grit, gunk and cover scum that is easily removed. Using soap and scrub will only give a better and brighter result. Scrub removes most of the adamant stains and dirt, thus making it one step easier for the Steam cleaner to clean the grouts.
Step 2 – Set up the steam temperature of the Steam cleaner at max and fix the necessary attachments like nylon bristle brush to the hose pipe end. For stubborn and much more stronger scum and scale remnants, you could use the harder brass bristle brush as they are excellent for these kinds of dirt.
Step 3 – Scrub in a forward and backward motion with short strokes. This ensures that the stress is limited to a single toughened spot and thus gives a faster result.
Step 4 – Always start from the top section of the tiling and move downwards rather than the opposite. As the lower surface of the tiles is generally dirtier, the running hot steam from the upper section will flow downwards. This will ensure that the specks of dirt begin to loosen up slightly in the lower part.
Step 5 – After every few minutes of cleaning, stop the scrubbing process and rinse the area thoroughly to remove the loosened particles. This will also help you see the cleaning progress and whether or not you have missed any spots. Keep repeating the rinse and scrub process periodically until the very end.
Step 6 – Though steam cleaning is valid on both sealed and unsealed grout areas, it is crucial to seal the grout post clean up to prevent seepage into the gaps. Grout sealers are a must if you want to increase the longevity of your bathrooms tiles.
Can Steam Cleaner Clean the Tile Grout Effectively?
Cleaning tile grout is a very tiring process. In most cases, it even requires external cleaning service assistance. Leaving the tile grout in the darkened and unsanitary condition, while cleaning the tile surface are often chosen as an alternative by many.
Even if the tile surface is clean and sparkling the border area is what prevents the entire wall and floor surface from looking clean, sparkling and hygienic.
The scum and grit that accumulates over a long period in the end also become the home ground to many unhealthy and invisible elements like microorganisms and molds.
The cleaning service provided by external agents is often burdensome on the pocket while chemical agents are very caustic and cause a detrimental effect on the health.
This is where a Steam cleaner comes into play. It is a one-time investment that does not need additional assistance, nor does it require any other caustic chemicals to clean.
Many are skeptical about the working mechanism of a steam cleaner and if investing in it is a wise decision. However, steam cleaner works under an elementary yet effective principal. Superheated and high pressured steam is used to clean. This superheated steam emitted causes the emulsified scum and other remnants to dissolve and loosen up from the grout area.
Using tools like brass and nylon bristle brushes to scrub along while steaming only fastens the process and gives a much more superior result.
Where Can Grout Steam Cleaner be Used?
Grout steam cleaner can be used on floors and walls with equal ease. It works perfectly well on any surfaces like –
- Sanded Flooring
- Unsanded Flooring
- Epoxy walls and floor surfaces
How often should Steam cleaning of the Grouts be done?
Regular cleaning of the grout will only deteriorate the condition of the area. Even though steam cleaning is relatively harmless, it only increases the chances of moisture entrapment and dissolution of the chemicals that make up as the grout sealant.
If grouts are left uncleaned for a longer tenure, the dirt, grime, and scum begin to accumulate and harden, thus making it difficult to clean later on.
To prevent such situations, steam cleaning of grouts every 8 to 10 days is the best and most suitable practice. The dirt and scum are not hardened to excess, nor are they very loose enough to wash away. This is the perfect and optimal time to steam clean the grout to remove the remnants easily without the need of adding repetitive stances.
How much does a Grout Steam cleaner cost?
Contrary to popular belief, Grout steam Cleaner is much less expensive than expected. Ranging between 90$ to 120$ the Grout steam cleaners often last for at least half a decade before giving away. In retrospect, the cost of inviting an external cleaning service is nowhere less than at least 500$ or so per visit. Imagine the total expenditure on cleaning service in the 5 yrs time spent using a Steam Cleaner?
The fumigation and the remnants of chemicals along with the smell after the cleaning service people leave is way more of a hassle than what you need. Since steam cleaner only uses water and an occasional bout of mild detergent, it is not light on the pocket. Along with that, it is also great for the well being of your respiratory tract.
Since steam cleaning is just a one-person job, there is no extra expense of hiring additional help and incurring more cost.
Check – Best Steam Cleaner for Bathroom
Final Verdict – Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?
Absolutely NOT! Steam Cleaning never harms or damages Grout.
Compared to various other cleaning alternatives, steaming is a better alternative. Since the foreign deposits on the grout are cleaned using high-pressure superheated steam minus any caustic elements, the lining of the grout does not dissolve or break off, as that happens in case of chemical cleaning,
Secondly, even though brass and nylon brush extensions are used for cleaning the grout, the pressure exerted by them is very mild compared to the one used manually by cleaning services. This prevents chipping or breaking of tile grouts thus once again proving the far superior efficiency of the Steam Cleaner,
Thirdly If you think cleaning grout is a robust and expensive job, then you are entirely wrong. Investing one time on a Grout Steam cleaner is a sage decision that can save a lot of money for the next few years.
It can be your secret cleaning weapon to be used every time you are planning to host several people at home. The sparkling walls and floors will leave most mesmerized and curious about your financial standing.