Mrs Hinch shares tips for cleaning tile grout
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Whether it’s between the tiles of your kitchen floor or on the walls of your bathroom, dirty grout can be unsightly. Although regular cleaning can help ward off discolouration, there is an essential DIY job which holds the key to keeping your grout “cleaner for longer”.
According to Aaron Dallison, from AKD Joinery, making sure your grout is sealed is an “important” step against staining.
This is because grout is a porous substance, which ends up absorbing water and other particles, resulting in staining.
Mark Atkins of LTP, a UK-based manufacturer of tile cleaning, sealing and maintenance products, told Express.co.uk: “Most cement-based grouts used between tiles are water-resistant but not waterproof and this makes them vulnerable to staining.
“Moisture carrying particles of dirt can penetrate the joint, causing deep staining.
“Any newly installed area of tiles – especially floors – are often then let down by the appearance of the grout.”
This is why it is vital to ensure your grout is sealed between 48 hours and one week after your tiles have been laid.
Sealant should then be reapplied every six months to a year.
Mr Dallison told Express.co.uk: “The sealant makes tiles and grout more durable. It acts as a barrier to protect the tile, which means it keeps tiles and grout cleaner, for longer.
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“Any surface that’s porous should really have sealant.”
Sealing grout can also save on elbow grease during routine cleans.
Mr Atkins explained: “Sealing grout ensures that any dirt and grime remains on the surface and is prevented from being absorbed into the joint, making it easier to clean.”
However, if regular grouting sounds like a daunting financial investment, there is good news – especially for the DIY savvy.
According to Mr Dallison: “Any competent DIY’er can seal tiles at home.”
How can you seal your grout at home?
The process of sealing your grout depends on when your tiles were laid.
If your tiles have been freshly laid and grouted, Mr Dallison recommends “leaving at least 48 hours, but ideally one week, to allow the tiles and grout to fully dry”.
Once they have dried, and before you add the sealant, he advises cleaning the area with lukewarm water.
He added: “Apply the sealant, according to manufacturers instructions, with a sponge or brush ensuring that all the tiles and grout are covered.
“The sealant is transparent, so make sure you have a process for ensuring all the tiles are evenly covered. Allow to dry and apply a second coat.”
There are a number of sealants available for purchase from DIY and home goods shops.
However, Mr Dallison says it is important to make sure you pick the right product before embarking on the task.
He said: “Make sure to buy the correct sealant for the tiles that have been used. For example, if you have laid natural stone tiles, you will need a natural stone sealant.”
The job can be made easier by-products such as spray-on sealants, according to Mr Atkins.
He said: “LTP has a product that can be sprayed directly onto the joint and the surface of the tile. It’s called LTP Grout and Tile Protector.
“You hold the canister about 20cm from the tile and spray along the joints.
“A 25 square metre area can be protected in just 20 minutes. Overspray onto most tile surfaces will dry and be invisible.
“If your tiles have a polished finish or glossy glaze, any visible excess can be removed by wiping the surface with a microfibre cloth.”
However, even if your grout has been sealed, it is important to stay on top of cleaning for maximum results.
Mr Dallison said: “Regular cleaning will help, at least once per week.
“You can use a small soft brush, like a toothbrush, to clean the grout.
“If grout is starting to look dirty, you can re-grout to give your tiles a facelift.”
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