Tile backsplashes, showers, and floors are a great way to add pizzazz to your décor and give your home a warm, natural appearance. Tiles are also a joy to clean, except for the grout that lies in between them. Grout is porous and light colored, and helps keeps the tiles together, but on the downside is quite prone to stains and damage from water.
Dirt and grime tend to stain grout in an entryway, while spills are often the cause of dirty grout in a kitchen, and soap mold and mildew are to blame for dirty grout in a bathroom. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, grout can become stained, mildewed, embedded with gunk, and in the worst cases, even crack.
When grout starts to crack or fall out, water can seep behind the walls and cause major damage, something that can be an expensive issue to fix. Thankfully, this can easily be prevented with regular, proper grout cleaning and maintenance.
Hand scrubbing is one of the most common ways to clean grout, but scrubbing in between tiles, especially in large areas as you can imagine, is no fun!
In a quest to find an easier solution, many homeowners ask do steam mops clean grout? Steam mops not only work remarkably well to clean grout but are an eco-friendly way of going about it given that there are no harsh chemicals involved.
But before getting into the benefits of cleaning grout and how to clean grout with a steam mop, it is important to understand why grout serves as a magnet for debris.
Why does Grout Attract Dirt and Debris?
When tiles are first installed, grout is inserted between them to fill the gaps and keeps the tiles in place. Cleaning the top surface of the tiles is quite easy, but tile grout, being cement based and containing finely ground silica sand, attracts gunk over time. If this gunk is not cleaned at regular intervals, it tends to work its way into the pores of the grout, which is a daunting task to clean at that stage by normal means.
Even using a stiff bristled brush and scrubbing vigorously with powerful cleansers may not produce the best results. What’s worse is the fact that using strong brushes to clean this hard gunk may chip away the grout itself as well as the fragile edges of the tiles, because the grout gunk at this stage is as strong as the tile grout itself.
If you notice flaking or breaking of the tiles, you will most likely have to change the grout as soon as possible. If you don’t know how to lay out the grout yourself and install it properly, it is wise to call a professional. This can be an expensive task, which can be easily avoided by cleaning the grout regularly with either a daily wiping and spraying routine or with a steam mop to prevent premature staining and damage. Together this will extend its service life.
How do Steam Mops Clean Grout?
If you have tiles around your house, buying the best steam mop is an investment that will serve you well for many years on end. Steam mops produce extremely high heat and moisture – both of which are the key to getting rid of tile gunk. The temperature of the steam emitted from most steam mops when it first hits the tiles is approximately 210 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the level needed to loosen soap, dirt, mold, and other debris.
This range of steam cleaning tools can also loosen hardened bath soap because the heat from the steam produced exceeds the roughly 140 F melting point of soap. However, this surge in temperature when the steam is first released tends to plummet rather quickly, often within seconds. The loosened gunk at this point moves freely owing to the leftover water from the mop, which needs to clean immediately or else it will blend in with the grout again.
One thing worth noting is that cleaning the grout with a steam mop will not cause the grout gunk to shed off by itself, but only loosen it so you will have to scrub the tiles, albeit gently. There are a few things you will need for effective cleaning of grout such as:
- Cloth rags
- Steam mop – preferably one that is specifically designed to clean grout gunk or one that heats up the water quickly and maintains steam for roughly half an hour.
How to use a Steam Mop to Clean Grout
1. First things first – grab the barebones steam mop i.e. without using any attachments and blast the grout to remove the hardened gunk.
2. When it comes to scrubbing, it is best to use a brush with nylon bristles as they do not damage the grout regardless of how hard you scrub.
3. Clean the tiles with the brush from the top and work your way towards the bottom. While doing this, it is a good idea to douse the steamed area with fresh water, and flush the gunk down the drain. The reason for this is because softened gunk can turn hard again quickly if it remains on the surface, causing you to scrub all over again.