Grout Cleaning For Natural Stone & Ceramic Tile

Grout Cleaning

Grout Cleaning – The Healthy Clean Way

You spend hours of your precious time each month mopping your tile floors because you like the look and feel of a clean house. Over time though, you realize that no matter how much of your schedule you devote to grout cleaning the grout just won’t come clean. It seems to get dirtier and dingier. Finally, you decide to do something about it.  You get out the scrub brush and the bleach, get down on your hands and knees and prepare to spend the whole day scrubbing grout lines. Let’s get real, you have better things to do with your time than scrub your grout on your hands and knees. Let Healthy Clean Carpet & Tile Care use our 12 step tile & grout cleaning process to remove unsightly soil build up from your grout in a fraction of the time it takes to clean it the old fashioned way.

Grout Cleaning X 3!

With our 12 step tile & grout cleaning process your floor is cleaned 3 times, with environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, leaving your tile & grout clean and vibrant looking. Using a high-pressure hard-surface grout cleaning tool and our natural tile & grout cleaning solutions, the first cleaning removes organic soil. The second cleaning removes inorganic soil. The third and final cleaning rinses any remaining soil and solutions and neutralizes the grout to prepare it for sealing. With proper maintenance your sealed tile & grout floor can go 18 – 24 months between professional cleanings. That will leave you with lots of time for doing more important things and save you some money too!

But Why Is Grout Cleaning Important?

Regular tile & grout cleaning is a key part of a healthy indoor environment. Dust, pollen, mold and fungi in the air will settle on the floor. Tile and grout surfaces won’t trap soils the way carpet does. Therefore contaminants are disturbed by foot traffic and returned to the air where they are breathed in by you and your family. Soil is also tracked from the tile or stone onto adjacent carpeted surfaces causing ugly traffic patterns on your carpet that will require additional cleaning. Regular tile & grout cleaning will help to maintain healthy indoor air quality and keep the other floor coverings in your home looking their best.

Founded in 1972, The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) establishes standards for the grout cleaning industry.  As an IICRC certified firm Healthy Clean Carpet & Tile Care abides by theses industry standards in all the work we do.

To adhere to the industry standard Healthy Clean Carpet & Tile Care has implemented the following 12 step tile & grout cleaning procedure.


Scroll to the bottom of this page to see a video of our 12 step grout cleaning procedure in action.


Grout Cleaning Vacuum TileStep 1. – Vacuum

Vacuuming is always the first and most important step in grout cleaning. It prevents dry soil from becoming mud during the cleaning process. It also removes dust bunnies and broken glass from underneath the refrigerator. Yes, we always find broken glass under the refrigerator.


Step 2. – Move FurnitureGrout Cleaning Furniture Slider

For the most thorough cleaning possible we need access to the whole floor. We will discuss with you what furniture will be moved. However, we are unable to move items such as pianos, entertainment centers, china cabinets, desks or objects with valuables and electronics on them. We use plastic sliders to safely move your furniture. When possible we move the furniture just outside the room. After the grout cleaning and sealing we move your furniture back to it’s original location.


Tile & Grout Cleaning Pre-spray TileStep 3. – Apply Alkaline Grout Cleaning Solution

After vacuuming the floor and moving your furniture, we apply the first alkaline grout cleaning solution. This is the only solution used on natural stone floors. Organic soils found in residential homes are mostly acidic. These soils, are suspended by first alkaline grout cleaning solution and held for rinsing.


Step 4. – Agitate Grout Cleaning SolutionTile & Grout Cleaning Tile Scrubbing

Mechanical agitation further loosens soil in preparation for the first rinse. We do this with a variety of tools. We have special brushes to scrub the grout lines brushes to get along the edges and in the corners and rotary floor machines for scrubbing the large open areas. When during a previous grout cleaning the grout was properly sealed this step is often unnecessary. The same goes for properly sealed natural stone floors as well. Since natural stone more closely mimics grout than ceramic tile it is important to seal the whole floor as opposed to just the grout lines. More about that later.


Grout Cleaning RinseStep 5. – Rinse with High-Pressure Hot Water

Now it’s time to rinse the floor. We use a specially designed grout cleaning tool to spray very hot water at high pressure onto the floor. 230°F water is released at 900 psi through 4 jets in the bottom of the tool. The heat and pressure blast the soil from every groove in the tile and grout. The water, soil and alkaline grout cleaning solution is then extracted from the floor and deposited in a recovery tank located on the Healthy Clean Carpet & Tile Care van where it is held for disposal. We go directly to step 10 from this point because the next step will damage natural stone. For ceramic tile, though, we proceed to step 6!


Grout Cleaning PresprayStep 6. – Apply Acidic Grout Cleaning Solution

We do not perform this step on marble, travertine, limestone and other natural stone and polished agglomerate surfaces like terrazzo. It dulls the finish of polished stone surfaces requiring polishing to correct.

With the floor thoroughly rinsed we can apply the acidic grout cleaning solution. This solution will remove inorganic material such as hard-water build up and rust stains. It even dissolves the top layer of grout which helps to remove some types of stains in the grout. This step also removes alkaline build-up caused by use of alkaline cleaners like Pine-Sol, Fabuloso and bleach. Alkaline build-up causes the floor to look dingy and dirty and it may not come clean during the first cleaning.


Tile & Grout Cleaning Scrubbing TileStep 7. – Agitate Grout Cleaning Solution

Same basic idea as step 4, however, heavy mineral deposits often found in showers, may require more aggressive measures.





Grout Cleaning RinseStep 8. – Rinse with High-Pressure Hot Water

We rinse the floor the same way we did in Step 5. The floor is completely clean at this point but the grout has a lower than normal pH. Because the grout needs to be slightly alkaline for the grout sealer to bond effectively, we proceed to Step 9.




Tile & Grout Cleaning 2nd Alkaline Pre-Spray

Step 9. – Apply Alkaline Grout Cleaning Solution

The second alkaline grout cleaning solution is solely for the purpose of returning the grout to an alkaline state. Grout is naturally alkaline. Grout sealer will create a better bond with alkaline grout than slightly acidic grout.




Tile & Grout Cleaning 2nd Alkaline Rinse

Step 10. – Rinse

Same as Steps 5 and 8.





Tile & Grout Cleaning Tile Speed DryStep 11. – Speed Dry

Mopping the floor with cotton bonnets absorbs standing water. This allows the floor to be totally dry and ready for use as soon as we leave.





Tile & Grout Cleaning Applying Grout SealerStep 12. – Apply Grout/Stone Sealer

Properly applied grout sealer after a professional grout cleaning will allow you to go 18 – 24 months between professional cleanings. The grout absorbs the grout sealer which prevents staining from spills like coffee, tea, and other colored beverages. It also prevents the grout from absorbing dirty water during routine cleaning and that keeps the grout from becoming dingy. Of course proper maintenance between professional cleanings is also very important.