I have a dirty little secret…. I’ve always thought of myself as a very clean person and a good housekeeper. Heck, I don’t even own a mop- I wash floors on my hands and knees! Does anybody else even do that anymore? So after wondering why the grout between the kitchen tiles kept getting darker and darker, I finally realized the problem- the installer didn’t seal the grout! Translation- Dirty Grout Lines!!!
Now, while this may not look dirty to you, the grout was originally a medium colored brown against a variegated light brown/gold porcelain tile. It is now dark brown like what’s shown in this picture, which is in the area around the food prep area and the island. Other areas throughout the rooms aren’t quite as bad.
The only places the grout is the original color are the areas that have never gotten any wear- the pantries, the linen closet, and under the hutch. The lighting is different in this photo vs. the one above, but this is an example of the original color of the grout. It’s not a true color, since it is showing up a little lighter than its original color, but I think you get the idea- it is clean!
I did an internet search to see how to clean the grout, and after much reading, I decided that the easiest and most economical way to do it was to use a steam cleaner. So yesterday I began the work. I stayed at it for an hour before taking my first break. I quickly found out that this was not going to be an easy job! And certainly not as fun as a decorating project, that’s for sure.
It will be a bear of a job and will take me forever, I just know it! Each and every one of the grout lines surrounding approximately 600 square feet of tile in the kitchen, bath, hall, and laundry room will have to be steamed and then scrubbed with a brush. Now you know why my knees and wrist are sore today.
My hand-held Shark steamer holds about two cups of water. That’s give me enough steam to clean a 4x5 area two times. I began by steaming the grout around each row then started scrubbing it with the brush. I finished by wiping it all down with a clear water rinse. Then I repeated the entire process one more time. I was really surprised at what I was missing in the first pass, so I’m hoping the two-step process will be good enough. We’ll have to wait and see if I’m satisfied once I’m done. Knowing my OCD, I may steam it a third time!
I’m wearing a set of knee pads to help cushion these joints of mine that have been abused by years and years of high impact aerobics. Even still, I have to get up and stretch. Contrary to how I perceive myself, I guess I am not a spring chicken any longer! You can see that the grout is looking lighter in this photo. And yikes- it looks like I have thunder thighs here! I blame the camera angle, cuz they really aren’t THIS big.
Here’s the difference between a clean and a dirty grout line in an area that isn’t too dirty. The vertical grout line on the left is clean, while the one on the right hasn’t been done yet. The clean grout looks amazingly as clean as the unworn grout in the pantries. I tackled the worst spots yesterday- the ones around the sink and the island.
So, even though I’m only about 1/4 of the way into the job, it’s very satisfying to know that I’m erasing a few year’s worth of grime. And you know that when I get the floor completely done, I’ll be applying a grout sealer on it so I’ll never have to scrub like this again! It’s my understanding that the floor should be re-sealed every year. At about $48 a gallon, that’s a very small price to pay in order to avoid the aggravation I’m going through right now! And that gallon should last me a while, too!
Well, I’m off to start working on it again. I just spent two hours with the Pella window salesman and found out how much 32 replacement windows are going to cost us. I have a bit of sticker shock right now! The only saving grace is that we can save 30% off the quoted price if we contract with them before Feb. 1. Can you say very loudly, “Revamp the budget, Sue!”
I guess this qualifies as a before and after, even though it is kinda lame! Visit Kim to see some real “decorating” boring to better projects!