Tile and Grout Cleaning Tips from the Pros
Get on Pinterest and you’ll find a 100 ways to clean your tile and dozens of recipes for grout cleaner. Many of those methods will break down the binders in your grout, others are a total waste of time.
Find out what the pros consider to be the top cleaning methods.
- Best grout cleaner – steam cleaning method
- Best tile cleaner – OxiClean Powder with the recipe below
- Best daily shower cleaner – make your own or use Good Life Daily Tile Cleaner
- Best grout sealer – Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator
- Best grout – Any custom or polyblend grout
- Best grout sealer for inside a shower – Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator
- Best grout colors for hiding dirt – see below.
A couple things to note before I start in with my tile and grout cleaning advice that will save you a ton of time down the line.
Please, for the love of all that is good, don’t use a light grout color on the floor! Ok, so maybe you love scrubbing floors with a toothbrush. If you do, then go for it. Use that off white grout. Or if you have a butler or a maid and they have nothing else to do, then use that grout. If not – GO DARK on your floor grout.
I can not tell you how many times I have advised people to go darker on their grout and they didn’t like the look of the slightly darker color only to return to the job years later to see the grout color is that color anyway – the color changed over time from not being cleaned.
Just ten years ago there was one, maybe 2 choices in grout brands and a dozen or so colors. Today there are so many options in grout brands that it can be overwhelming. You also have the choice now of premixed tubs of grout for your convenience.
Our 1st Choice
Our 2nd Choice
Best grout cleaner for hardcore dirt - steam cleaning method.
I’m just going to be frank here. If you only have a $100 to spend, don’t by a steam cleaner. You may even read other review sites that say that those budget steam cleaners are great but DON”T do it! They will work great for a while but they won’t last long.
I talk to people all the time with tile floors who have used every sort of steam cleaner and there are only a few that have stood the test of time and really do the job a proper steam cleaner should do.
Remember, it’s not just that steam comes out, it is also the pressure of the steam.
You don’t want too little pressure or it won’t clean out the dirt but too much pressure could blow apart your grout and you’ll have to regrout. Yes, that has happened. And the homeowner was not happy about it.
A steam cleaner that is powerful enough should be able to do the job of cleaning your grout with absolutely no chemicals whatsoever. That was part of my justification for the purchase price when I bought my Dupray One.
The two options that we recommend and have seen last for many, many years are to the left. The 2nd choice is only second because we haven’t seen as many years use out of it but our customers seem to really like it. I personally own the Dupray One and love it with all of its attachments but do hear great things about the Dupray Neat.
Best Cleaners for Maintaining a Clean Tile Floor or Tile Shower
Weekly or Monthly for Maintenance
We have found that the best bang for your buck for your monthly tile scrub is OxiClean Powder. We did a test of several different cleaning methods, including my favorite hydrogen peroxide and baking soda method and OxiClean Powder gave me more for my money and with less effort.
At the same time, we tested out the water to OxiClean ratio and found that the recommended 1 scoop to 1 gallon didn’t do it for our floors. We tried several ratios and what worked best was 2 cups of OxiClean to 1 gallon. I know, it seems like a lot but I promise, you’ll thank me after you give it a try.
How to clean grout – best method:
OxyClean Powder! Love!
Best Daily Shower Cleaner - Maintenance is the key!
This is where the real magic is. I say that because if you stay on top of your shower daily then the magic is you pretty much never have to clean it. Seriously!
Your gut reaction to this statement might be – oh my goodness! I don’t have time to spray it daily. But, just hear me out.
If you just consider this – it takes me literally 70 seconds to squeegee the glass partition in my shower, do a quick squeegee of the floor and a spritz of my favorite daily shower cleaner. I know this because I timed it!
70 seconds versus 1 hour+ on your hands and knees scrubbing.
I choose 70 seconds with each shower. That’s because I really hate scrubbing on my hands and knees or even having to use the steam cleaner every couple of months.
With this method, I only have to steam clean the tile and glass once a year at most. I can handle that!
Make your own daily shower cleaner! Find the recipe here.
Best Grout Sealer for Inside your Shower
Not everyone with tile needs to maintain with a sealer. Tile, Stone & Grout sealer is made to penetrate into the surface to create a water and stain resistant barrier.
Here’s how it works with sealer. Think about sealer if you have any of the following boxes checked:
- You have a porous stone like slate or travertine.
- You have a grout with no additive. If you aren’t sure – does it stain? If it stains easily then you can save yourself a lot of time cleaning with a good sealer
Want to do deep in your search for the perfect tile sealer? Or, do you have a very specific need? Check out this intensive review on many grout and stone sealers.
See NATCO’s Grout and Stone Sealer Reviews of:
- AquaMix Sealers Choice Gold
- AquaMix Ultra Solv
- DryTreat Stainproof
- Dupont Grout Sealer
- Grout Boost
- Grout Shield
- Miracle 511 Impregnator
- Quick Seal Aerosol Sealer
- Stonetech Bulletproof
- Stonetech Impregnator Pro
- TileLab Grout and Tile Sealer
- Tile Lab Surfacegaurd
I have used many of these various sealers over the years but I don’t like using some of the stinky, caustic ones in my customer’s homes so I stick with the ones that I know work well without adding noxious fumes to a home.
That’s why I have used Miracle 511 Impregnator for many years and have had super good success with it. We also like the StoneTech Heavy Duty sealer but I mean to tell you – this stuff stinks. Don’t even try and use it inside a home. It literally takes weeks to off-gas.
Best Grout - Grout is Cheap So Use the Best
There have been a lot of changes with tile grout recently. The options are many for regular, cement grout but now, you can also choose from a variety of epoxy grouts as well.
What you may choose for your floor or backsplash may not be the same as what you would choose in your shower.
So, I can sure understand why you would be searching the internet looking for the best grout available.
If you love getting into the nitty gritty about all the different types of grouts available check out this DalTile Blog Post.
More than likely though, you just want to know what the best grout is and what the pros use day in and day out. After much testing, the grout that we use 100% of the time and in every application is Prism Color Grout. There has been a recent redo on the recipe that has made it my first choice. And, it’s easy to work with, unlike many epoxy grouts that can dry fast and be a major clean up headache.
Best Grout Colors for Hiding Dirt
I would have to say that this is really what I consider to be step one in your plan to keep a clean and good looking tile floor. We have tested dozens of tile colors over the years but really the fail-proof way to make sure that you won’t be either scrubbing your grout constantly or hating your grout daily is this:
Take a baggy full of the dirt outside of your house with you and match that dirt up as best you can to the grout color you choose. That is step one, now step 2 would be to find a tile that either goes well with that grout color or even go a little darker if that looks better. You won’t be sorry if you do this!
What About Grout Stains and Paints like Polyblend Grout Renew?
This is often the last ditch effort after all the different cleanings have failed. If this is you and you are trying to clean up the look of a very stained grout, sorry, I don’t have very good news for you. Grout paints and stains are bandaids at best. They might make your grout look better for a while but you will be a slave to it from now on.
A few exceptions would be if you are painting grout in an area that gets very little use.
There are even grout paint pens now that make it really easy to do but if you read through the reviews you will find that it doesn’t work well long term – especially in wet areas.
A better choice – if you must do this is Grout Refresh made by Mapei. You will also need to get an applicator like this one to do the job right. Just make sure that the grout is VERY clean and VERY dry before application. Also, do thinner layers and several of them allowing them to dry in between instead of thick layers.
Are there products you should NEVER use on grout and tile?
Never use the following products on grout, no matter what Pinterest says 🙂
- Bleach on dark grout.
- Muriatic Acid – breaks down the binders over time.
- Ammonia – harsh on grout, and your lungs.
- Wire brush or super-abrasive scrubber.
- Lysol toilet bowl cleaner – you’ll find this suggestion on Pinterest. Don’t, just don’t.
Most hydrochloric-based acids will dissolve hard water deposits, but can also damage the structure of the grout over time and with continued usage. Too harsh an acid will erode the grout and emit vapors that can tarnish metal fixtures like faucets and stainless partitions. Use only acids specifically formulated for tile and grout applications.