Skip to main content

Does Your Grout Look Dull? Is Frustration Setting In?

Here’s How To Get It Back To Uniform…

Young woman cleaning flor on her kneesGUIDE TO BETTER GROUT CLEANING
It takes more than effort to get grout clean. One must first understand whether you are dealing with dirt or stains, a sealed or unsealed surface, or whether a damaging cleaner has given you a non-uniform appearance. If you are not the first owner, prior attempts to address the situation with new grout, or staining to a dirt color may further complicate appearances and the problem. The good news is that everything can be addressed…once you know what you’re dealing with. MARBLELIFE offers a free estimate, during which we can read and provide pertinent guidance. Here are some quick tips to help get started. At least you can ensure your efforts are not wasted.

Rest assured, you are not alone. Many people make judgements on restaurants based on what the bathroom appearance looks like. Additionally, annual office-tenant surveys report the number 1 complaint that can go wrong in a big office building is in fact the appearance of the bathroom floors (grout). Certainly a common perception. As such, it’s natural to be concerned with your grout appearance, and desire that uniform and healthy clean appearance. Whether you need a service or just a cleaner, MARBLELIFE delivers clean, consistent, and continuous grout color every day. Here’s what you should consider as you figure out how to proceed.

  1. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE – Many people think they have grey grout, but a look in the pantry, under the carpet, or in an untouched corner of a room may prove that their grout was actually light tan versus the dirt gray they now see. This is an important start. Now you know what success will look like. If you are successful cleaning the center of your floor its going to REALLY stand out, until the entire floor is done.
  1. DEFINE YOUR PROBLEM – Are you looking to clean your tile? Are you struggling with a persistent staining, dark grout, mold or mildew? Understanding the problem will allow you to select an appropriate response that will ultimately produce the smile and happy home we seek. Failing to take the time to do so can sequentially lead to frustration. Good news though! MARBLELIFE has an answer for any “I don’t know”s or uncertainty. Contact MARBELIFE for a free local estimate. What may look dirty, albeit stubborn, is often an indication there is something more going on that needs to be addressed before a clean surface can be guaranteed- as there are some conditions that will go beyond cleaning. If just dirty, a quick test can be done with a toothbrush and a daily cleaner such as MARBLELIFE TILE & GROUT CLEANER. A little scrubbing will remove any surface dirt revealing your grout’s original color. MARBLELIFE MAX OUT CLEANER is useful if you have unsealed grout and need to float out material that has been embedded into the open pores. This product will literally turn gray as the dirt is floating out.
  1. IS YOUR GROUT SEALED? – IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE – The vast majority of grout needs to be sealed. While there are grout products that tout that they are polymer based and do not need to be sealed, the vast majority of the installed base is actually using a mortar-based grout that is in fact very porous (think sidewalk concrete when it starts to rain) and thus needs to be sealed. As conscientious as your tile installer may have been, other than getting the grout wet, your installer had little means to guarantee he applied enough grout uniformly to seal everything- as most sealers are designed NOT to alter the finish or color of the grout. So how do they know they applied enough to seal everywhere? – They just don’t.

MARBLELIFE has developed a COLORSEAL offering which is custom-colored to your grout color. Or, if you chose to change it to a new color, when applied, changes the grout color- so the applicator is assured the grout is sealed.

If already sealed, you simply just need a good cleaner. If it is not sealed, you WILL get stained grout over time, regardless how good the cleaner. Think about trying to clean the inside bottom surface of a test tube with a kitchen sponge- you just can’t get completely in there. Once sealed or stoppered, nothing stains or gets stuck in there.

If your grout is stained, then by definition it is not sealed. It will need to be cleaned and then resealed before you have a clean appearance that is easy to maintain.

  1. IS YOUR GROUT STILL SEALED? – THIS ONE IS SNEAKY – It gets worse; many tile cleaners are acidic. Acid attacks any seal present and unzips the chemistry. The acid also leeches out the grout’s dyes, lightening any colored grout. Overtime, it will purport to the appearance of concrete. What makes these cleaners so damaging is that they look like they are working as they damage the grout permanently (and if used on a marble surface they will remove the finish and generate etches). If your grout is stained, then you will need to get it sealed, but only after first having the grout powerwashed to flush out dirt and oil from the unsealed pores. You then have to make a choice between penetrating or topical sealers.

If your cleaner contains acid, you have damaged your seal (unless you have a topical ColorSeal floor). It’s not debatable. Acids reverse the equilibrium reaction used by silicone based sealers. The floor will need to be resealed before you can achieve the uniform, easy to maintain appearance desired. The good news, you are not alone, this is the most common situation in America due to the prevalence of acidic floor cleaners.


  1. KNOW WHAT YOU NEED, AND WHY — If your seal is damaged, not even the best cleaner will deliver the appearance you seek until the seal has been re-applied. After which, your cleaner decision will determine how well it is maintained and how your tile surface fairs. MARBLELIFE TILE & GROUT CLEANER will deliver phenomenal results.
  1. ACCOUNT FOR GROUT AND TILE – It’s not just your tile or just your grout; each of these dissimilar materials must be accounted for in your cleaner decision. Have you ever seen commercials for calcium removing cleaners? They look pretty impressive until someone uses it on a marble or travertine floor, but then they learn that these floors are made of the same material you are trying to remove – calcium. The wrong product will create white spots where the cleaners have dissolved the surface. No amount of cleaning can reverse this until a professional repolishes the floor. Ceramic and Porcelain tile are less sensitive, which is why we see more aggressive cleaners recommended for these surfaces- but which often are damaging to the associated grout. Acids will remove grout color. With ceramic-tiled floors, you need a grout-friendly surfactant cleaner such as MARBLELIFE TILE AND GROUT CLEANER. If unsealed, MAXOUT CLEANER followed by MARBLELIFE GROUT SEALER is suggested. If the surface color of the grout is not uniform or consistent, you likely need a powerwash and colorseal treatment. In less than 8 hours you can have a new floor appearance that is MUCH easier to maintain and generates a healthier floor. Once done, it is easy to maintain and will not stain again.
  1. RIGHT CLEANER – We routinely check the ingredients on our food, whether looking for low sugar, low fat, low carbs, high protein, no corn syrup, no gluten, low cholesterol, etc. to ensure our bodies remain clean and healthy. Luckily, your floor is easier to maintain, but still has a few needs. No acid to protect your seal. Use surfactant-based cleaners when wanting to flush out oil and dirt from your grout’s pores. Emulsion-based cleaners are ideal when looking to lift, surround and allow water to carry these oils away. Surfactants will surround the oil droplet so that neither the oil or the water see one another. The oil is effectively hidden from the water, which can lift away the surfactant surrounded oil drop with ease. MARBLELIFE offers specialty cleaners for MARBLE & TRAVERTINE, TILE & GROUT and GRANITE & QUARTZ. Select the cleaner that matches your surface.
  1. RIGHT EQUIPMENT – The right equipment is step one, knowing how to use it is step two. We provide more training on how to mop a floor, than any other training we offer. The most common error in mopping a floor is getting the floor wet, generally when someone simply wants to use a wrung-out, damp mop to lift the dust and oil off the floor and into the mop bucket. Truth is today, microfiber mops are far easier and effective. The numerous fibers create a larger surface area to capture and adsorb dirt and oil. They are easier to wash (yes one should wash your mop or microfiber between uses for the cleanest and healthiest floors). If you feel you need a brush, consider using a wallpaper brush to maximize your efficiency. Rule of thumb however, is if you need a brush, you should really consider having your floor powerwashed. This will save your knees and time, as well as provide a better means of flushing out pores in your floor.
  1. SERVICE MANUFACTURER ADVANTAGE – MARBLELIFE learned long ago, that if we helped people solve their problems our business would grow. With that said, we offer FREE ESTIMATES. We make the products we have developed for our service professional’s use readily available to make cleaning as easy and as efficient as possible. When trying to figure out what is happening with your own floor, it is natural to try the easiest routes first. We make it even easier. If you are using a MARBLELIFE cleaner, and realize that you need a power-wash service or need to have your seal restored, we will credit your service for the MARBLELIFE product you’ve purchased, making it a risk-free situation (wherever we have franchise offices). When we work together, you’ll see amazing results.


What Are Others Saying?

Read Our Reviews!

Read Our Reviews
Before and After

View Our Before and After Galleries

View Galleries

Used by our MARBLELIFE® stone craftmen

Shop Now