Grout is one of the most common materials in interior design. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and durable enough to last years in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Cleaning grout can be a pretty simple task when you know how to go about it. The problem with grout is that it’s porous, and dirt and other particles can get stuck in the cracks between tiles. When you clean grout, it may seem like a good idea to seal the grout afterward to keep whatever’s in there from coming back out – after all, who wants to re-grout every time you want your shower floor clean?
Well, sealing off your grout isn’t always necessary or even a good idea if the cleaning product you’re using gets rid of whatever was in there in the first place. Grout is porous so anything dirty will get trapped inside, but any cleaners used should be strong enough to break through such barriers and deep-clean. If this isn’t the case, it could be worth considering sealing your grout.
However, keep in mind that all grout needs to breathe to some extent – even though you can’t see it, allowing too much moisture to build up inside a tile or grout line could lead to leaking and damage. If your grout has been sealed already, try not to wet it too frequently just as a matter of caution. Evaluate the situation where necessary; if you’re regularly cleaning out small amounts of dirt from tight spaces (like shower corners), there shouldn’t be any noticeable buildup that would justify more-frequent cleaning. If this is happening, then it may be time for re-sealing or removing old sealant.
If you’re not sure if your grout needs to be sealed, cleaning it thoroughly of any dirt and debris with a household cleaner should tell the tale. If there’s no new buildup after a few weeks or months then you know that frequent regular cleanings are enough to keep things under control. If this isn’t working for you, however, consider using an acid-based cleaner like diluted muriatic acid to determine whether dirt is getting trapped inside before sealing your grout. Another option would be sealant strips like those designed for countertops; these sticks can give you an idea of how well your sealant is standing up against regular exposure to moisture without committing to applying full-strength sealant everywhere on the floor.
Generally speaking, however, keeping your grout clean should be enough. If you can remove whatever gets trapped in there, sealing grout may not be necessary at all after cleaning it.
Just remember – for the most part, all grout needs is an occasional thorough cleaning! If that doesn’t keep things clean enough for you then it may be time to re-evaluate your grout installation.