Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?

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Grout is a useful material that fills the gaps between tiles. However, it’s porous and can absorb liquids and stains. If you enjoy using steam as a cleaning method, you might wonder if it’s safe to use on grout.

Steam cleaning typically won’t damage grout if it’s appropriately sealed with a water- or solvent-based sealer. Over time, the heat and moisture from steam cleaning can break down the sealer. It’s best to reseal the grout after steam cleaning to ensure the integrity of the sealer and grout.

Because of the high heat, moisture, and steam pressure, it’s worth using the correct method to clean your tiles. This article will discuss if steam cleaning is safe on grout, the best steam cleaner to use and if you should reseal the grout after cleaning. Let’s get started! 

Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?

Many households have tile and grout in bathrooms, kitchens, and floors. A sealer is applied to the grout to create a barrier to prevent any liquids or other materials from penetrating it. When the sealer becomes weakened from regular use and cleaning, the grout can become stained or damaged from mold, mildew, or other stains. 

Steam cleaning doesn’t damage grout, but you should ensure that it’s sealed properly before using this cleaning method. 

Steam cleaning can remove the dirt and build-up if your grout is badly stained. However, after steam cleaning, you’ll need to reseal the grout to prevent stains, damage, and mold.

You should reseal your grout every 1-2 years unless it’s needed earlier. You should refrain from steam cleaning grout that has been recently sealed because it can take up to 48 hours to cure completely. Always check the product label for application instructions and curing times.

What Does Steam Cleaning Do to Grout?

Grout is a porous material that is typically protected by a sealer. Steam cleaning provides pressurized heat and moisture that can weaken or break down the sealer and penetrate the grout if you use this method repeatedly. Once the sealer barrier is compromised, the porous grout is susceptible to damage, staining, and mold. 

Steam cleaning can also alter the color of sealants and paints you apply to the grout, and the results will depend on the type of sealant you have—water- or solvent-based. 

Best Steam Cleaner for Grout?

The best steam cleaner for grout is PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner from Amazon because it has a detachable steamer with adjustable steam levels. It provides about 25 minutes of steam cleaning on the low setting, which is ideal for cleaning grout. It also has attachments to clean the grout effectively.

This steam cleaner is affordable and highly rated by over 40,000 PurSteam customers. It offers versatility to cover steam cleaning in all areas of your home with the many attachments included. 

Once you have the ideal steam cleaner for cleaning grout, follow the cleaning tips below to effectively remove all dirt, grime, and mold from your tiled areas:

How To Use a Steam Cleaner on Grout

If you want to avoid damaging the grout on your tiles, you need to be careful when cleaning it. Steam cleaning is an excellent way to clean grout, but it does require some caution. 

Follow these tips to safely and efficiently steam clean your grout:

  • Choose a steam cleaner with a low-pressure setting with a nozzle that can reach the grout between the tiles. High-pressure steam could damage the grout and make it more porous, making it harder to clean in the future. If your steam cleaner has a low-pressure setting, it’s safe to use on grout. 
  • Lightly pre-clean the tiled area with a damp sponge or mop, and vacuum and wipe the tiled flooring before steam cleaning. If you’re looking to invest in a durable vacuum cleaner, look at my other article, “4 Reasons Why Dyson Vacuums Are Worth it.”
  • On the low setting, hold the steamer and move it slowly back and forth over the grout line. Keep about an inch (2.5 cm) away from the grout. Only work in small sections at a time for the best results. 
  • Wipe away the residue with a clean and damp cloth.
  • Reseal the grout with a high-quality sealer of your choice once the grout has thoroughly dried.

Do You Have to Reseal Grout After Steam Cleaning?

You have to reseal grout after steam cleaning because the heat and moisture will break down the sealer. Grout sealer prevents the underlying porous material from being damaged by water, mold, and mildew. Reseal the grout with a high-quality grout water- or solvent-based sealer after steam cleaning.

Whether your grout sealer is water- or solvent-based, it can be weakened by excessive heat (like that from a steam cleaner). You can maintain your grout by reapplying the sealer. 

Many sealers are applied in a very thin layer, and they can be easily removed by frequently steam cleaning your tiled areas. Keeping the grout sealed is essential to prevent deterioration from water and mold damage.

You should reseal your grout every 1-2 years. 

What Sealer Should You Use?

To protect your grout, it’s best to use a reliable sealer, and the following are two types of sealers:

  • Water-based grout sealant. This product is designed to fill in any gaps that might be present in the grout and to fill in any small holes or pores. It’s also called penetrating sealer because it seals beyond the surface and into the pores. This characteristic helps protect from mold and mildew that can grow in the crevices, but more layers are typically needed during the application. 
  • Solvent-based grout sealant. These are chemical-based and more durable against traffic and cleaning. They are usually preferred in high-traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens. They are also often used because of their fast-drying characteristics. 

Is Steam Cleaning Safe for Tile Floors?

Steam cleaning with a non-bristle brush is typically safe for tile floors and is recommended as the most effective way to clean tile and grout. The heat and moisture from steam cleaning remove dirt, grime, and mold from it. Steam cleaning with a stiff bristle brush can damage the tiles.

Final Thoughts

Steam cleaning grout is a highly effective way to remove stains, grime, and mold. However, the high heat and moisture can break down the sealer, causing the barrier to become weakened over time, even with the most durable solvent-based sealers. 

When the barrier is weakened, grout can easily stain or become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Always reapply the grout sealer after a deep cleaning with a steam cleaner. Use a high-quality steam cleaner and grout sealer to keep the integrity of the grout intact. 

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