Steam Cleaning Cure to Prevent Grout Damage

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We recently bought a house to flip with tan tiles and dark grout in the kitchen. However, I noticed the grout was not a consistent shade. I wondered if steam cleaning would help to remove mold and grime from grouting? 

Grout is a porous material that can easily become stained and damaged if not taken care of properly. One way to prevent grout damage is to steam clean your floors regularly. Steam cleaning will remove dirt and grime from the grout lines, keeping them looking good for longer.

Many people use harsh chemicals and elbow grease to clean their grout. But you can quickly and effectively clean grout with a high-quality steam cleaner.

Picture of dirty tile grout.
Picture of clean grout after steam cleaned.

Steam Cleaning Your Way to Whiter Grout

Steam cleaners are great for removing dirt and stains from your kitchen and bathroom tiles. They can also be used on other surfaces like carpets, upholstery, curtains, bedding, and more!

First, remove any surface dirt and grime with a light anti-bacterial spray or Peppermint oil cleaning spray for a chemical-free alternative, and rinse with hot water. 

Turn on and prepare the steam cleaner as required. Using a brush attachment and hose is recommended but not needed. When ready, start from the top tiles and work down to allow the steam vapor (now water), to run onto lower uncleaned tiles.  

After steam cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to remove any leftover dirt, grime, and excess water to leave a whiter, cleaner finish to the tiles and grout.  

Can Steam Cleaners Revitalise and Whiten Grout?

Over time, grout can start to build up dirt and unclean water stains (limescale), which can slowly begin to darken the once white grout. But how can you prevent it from darkening? 

Steam cleaning is a great way to clean and revitalize your tiles and grout. With steam cleaning’s high-temperature steam, it’s able to clean in hard areas like grouting where normal tools can’t. Steam cleaning is a quick and easy way to whiten grout.  

Using a small amount of hydrogen peroxide is an effective way to whiten grout quickly. However, long-term, hydrogen peroxide can damage and weaken the grout, making it patchy in areas. Also, hydrogen peroxide can be harmful to the skin. 

A chemical-free alternative is baking soda and lemon juice.

Baking soda is a mild abrasive which helps to lift stains from the surface. Lemon is naturally anti-bacterial to help remove bacteria and dirt. 

Lemon can also be bought as a natural oil for a more concentrated formula. 

Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grouting?

After showing a few friends how well steam cleaning worked on our tiles, I was surprised they asked me if steam cleaning damage the grout. The thought never crossed my mind.

Steaming cleaning doesn’t damage grouting. Steam cleaning is a chemical-free alternative, which only uses high-temperature water/steam to melt and break down the dirt and limescale on top of the grout.

Unlike harmful chemicals, steam cleaning doesn’t affect the strength of grout, even when used over long periods. Steam cleaning softens dirt and lifts stains making it easier to wipe away.

Stay away from using stiff brushes which can loosen and remove some of the grout and may chip it.  

What Can Damage Grout?

Harmful chemicals – When cleaning grout, stay away from high acidic chemicals which can, over time, cut into the grout allowing more and more water to penetrate its protective layer.

This can make stains harder to remove, leave an odor, and shorten grout lifespan. 

Unsealed grout – make sure your grout is sealed correctly. Unsealed grout allows for water to be absorbed. 

Can Steam Cleaners Work on all Tiles?

We tried our inexpensive handheld steam cleaner, the one designed for material, to clean grout and it failed miserably. We also tested a Rainbow Vacuum with the steam attachment, and it work great.

Steam cleaners work on every tile I tried, but their effectiveness depends on the type and quality of the steamer more than the tile. It is a great way to remove and break down dirt, mold, and bacteria build-ups on tiles.

Steam cleaners work on most surfaces, penetrating deep into the dirt: But, how effective it is depends on the quality of the model. Most of the steam cleaners I used for grout cleaning loosened the dirt well but still required some scrubbing.

I don’t own a Rainbow Vacuum but sat through a sales pitch recently. The Rainbow representative brought a vacuum to our house and went through countless demonstrations showing us the benefits of their machine.

After they were done I asked them to use the steam feature on our grout. I was blown away, the Rainbow cleaned the grout with one quick pass, with no scrubbing.

These machines work great but they cost a fortune. However, Amazon has some used Rainbow Vacuums that come with a five-year warranty at a reduced price.

Most steam cleaner models are created for specific jobs, but they all work in the same way; e.g., the Russell Hobbs RHSM1001-G steam cleaner is a great device created specifically for carpets and laminate flooring, which could be used to clean tiles, however, it is not as effective as the Kärcher SC3.  

Similarly, our handheld steamer works great for numerous projects, but it’s not effective for removing grit and grime from grout floors.

Also, get to know what surface material you’re cleaning. This can help to find the right cleaning solution for your situation.

Different cleaning processes can change slightly due to the surface material, e.g., natural stone tiles are vulnerable to harmful chemicals and can become damaged over time.

Check out this YouTube overview of the Karcher SC3

How Often Should I Steam Clean My Grouting?

Even though your tiles may look clean, your grout surely won’t be. But will cleaning them too much damage the grout? 

After we had all the grout lines cleaned thoroughly we kept them looking good by steam cleaning them before every other mopping. You can do the same with your shower walls or anywhere you have tile.

Using harmful chemicals too often can weaken and soften grout and weaken the waterproof protective layer. Because steam cleaners only use water, they can be used as often as required and it won’t affect the strength or lifespan of the grout. 


Steam cleaning is a great way to remove dirt and revitalize the appearance of grout and tiles as often as needed without causing damage.  

Reframe from using harsh chemicals and hard cleaning tools which can damage and weaken the grout.  

Another chemical-free alternative is baking soda and lemon, leave on the grout for 10-15minutes, brush gently and clean away with hot water and wipe excess off with a microfiber cloth. 

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