Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout? – Answered By Experts

In discussions revolving around the grout, we’re referring to that paste that’s responsible for holding tiles together on a given surface, such as the wall or floor. Grout is porous in nature, which means that the soil and moisture can find its way into the interior if the grout is not properly covered.  

Such unhealthy exposure can cause the mold, mildew, and other unwanted residues to build up atop the grout. Cleaning grout with soap and brush is not recommendable. Instead, experts advocate using a steam cleaner as an excellent grout-cleaning alternative that causes no harm to the grout. Using a steam cleaner not only helps clean the grout but also disinfect it.

What Else Can a Steam Cleaner Do?

Regularly cleaning the grout with a steam cleaner does more good than bad to your precious grout. A steam cleaner quickly washes away the mud and other residues on top of grout. This lets it sparkle in just a matter of minutes. Be careful not to use the additives along with water, though, because that’ll be hazardous to grout.

With steam cleaning, you’re only advised to incorporate pure water vapor as it won’t cause any harm to your grout. Apparently, many homeowners tend to steer clear of a steam cleaner due to the sheer amount of negative comments plastered across the web. More often than not, such comments regarding steam cleaning grout come from people with little-to-no understanding of the matter.

It’s easy to demystify the myths that steam cleaning damages grout. All you have to do is buy a high quality steam cleaner, which is a smart investment after all. A high-end steam cleaning machinery can wash away all sorts of dirt from grout, leaving behind a tidy and spotless floor.

So What Exactly Damages Grout? 

Steam cleaning is falsely blamed for causing damage to grout. This is not true. And besides, there are other reasons that may cause the grout to get damaged. These include but not limited to the following:

  • Leaving Grout Unsealed or Exposed to the Elements 

Grout that’s been left unsealed can be a recipe for disaster. Like we mentioned above, grout is soluble and penetrable in nature. That means if left exposed, the water and other liquids will seep into the grout causing it to weaken. With repetitive exposure to these outdoor elements, the grout may be completely damaged beyond repair.

The good news is that you can effortlessly salvage your grout by sealing it after use. Unsealed grout won’t be able to hang onto itself for a long time, and might get broken in a moment’s notice. This will call for immediate attention in the form of grout repair.

  • Excessive Saturation 

Another culprit that can lead to grout damage is unnecessary saturation. Most designers tend to over saturate the grout with a lot of water. 

Excessive liquid causes saturation and ultimately weakening of the grout. Pre-mixed grout is smoother and maintains itself for a prolonged period of time.

Should You Clean or Replace the Grout? 

Whether to scrub or substitute the grout is a question that’s been puzzling many homeowners for decades. While this question emerges every often when talking about grout maintenance, the answer is surprisingly simple. If you ever detect any minor marks or mildews on your grout, you need to do the washing with immediate effect.

Stains and mildew can damage the grout in the long run. But then again, wiping off stains and mildew can be a challenging endeavor. And using soap to wash hardened stains on top of the grout may not yield the expected results.

When it comes to dealing with mildew and associated residues, using a pressurized steam cleaner will do the trick. It helps soften the stains and mildew, making them easier to wash away. It’s also wise to cultivate a habit of regularly washing the grout as this will reduce the chances of contamination.

How Often Should You Clean the Grout?

Grout has to be washed and dried on a regular basis so it looks neat and spot-on. Constant exposure to moisture and debris weakens the grout, leading to a permanent damage if left unattended.

Being a porous material, grout can easily absorb whatever is exposed to it. Things like stains and mildew shouldn’t be left seated on the grout for far too long, because it makes the tiles look ugly and unwelcoming. This defeats the real purpose of tiling.

To keep the ground clean and tile inviting, try and gently wash it every single day. But if you’re a workaholic type that lacks the time to do the cleaning, you can still try and spare a few minutes once every week. Make sure the grout is clean and moisture free after every cleaning session, while tiles in the washrooms are mopped and dried after use.

How Should You Clean the Set-In Stains? 

In the event the stains have become caked onto the grout, you’ll need to scrub it up with a steam cleaner. With its heated steam functionality, a steam cleaner does miracles in blasting away any set-in dirt. This ingenious tool weakens caked-on stains and makes them easier to scrub away.

While a steam cleaner works like a magic bullet in removing the stains that have settled into the grout, you need to take a few steps to make it look brand-new all the time. After you’ve cleaned and disinfected your grout, it’s ideal to coat it with a coat of sealer.

Coating the grout gives it a clean and new appearance ad infinitum. What’s more, a coat of sealer keeps the soil, stains and moisture at bay, leaving the grout with a clean and fresh look – all the time!

When Is It Deemed Necessary to Replace the Grout? 

Prevention is better than cure, so they say. If you clean your grout with a steam cleaner daily or at least once every few days, it will remain healthy and long-lasting. Any grout that’s not receiving the proper treatment on a daily basis may degrade with time, thus demanding for a replacement. Now, at what moment should grout be replaced?

Replace your grout as soon as you witness the following key issues:

  • As Soon As It Gets Cracked

The most noticeable warning sign that the grout needs to be replaced is when it starts to break or crack. Even the slightest of a crack can eventually slip and cause grout damage.

If cracks or breaks are left unfixed as soon as they start to develop, it could affect the tiles as well. Always make an effort to replace the grout the moment these cracks emerge.  

  • When Holes Start Appearing

Another key indicator that it’s about time to redo the grout is when holes begin to appear on the surface. Never ignore even the tiniest holes, because they could allow moisture or humidity to percolate.

Grout and moisture have never and will never be friends. The moment the liquids start to seep into the grout, it may end up ruining the whole floor. Curb the damage from spreading by replacing the grout as soon as you see holes on the surface.

  • When Mold and Mildew Start Developing

Stains occurring on the grout surface can be considered normal. However, mold and mildew can be harmful as they affect the integrity of the grout.

In this regard, take the appearance of these micro-organisms as a strong indicator for the grout replacement. It’s advisable to act fast since mildew can spread like a wildfire.

The Takeaway 

Grout is designed to safeguard the veracity of floors and walls. But they too need to be taken care of appropriately in order to perform their duties as expected. So does steam cleaning damage grout? No, it doesn’t, but ensure that you adhere to the recommended instructions while steam cleaning your prized grout.

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