Best Way to Clean Grout Without Breaking Your Back
Once upon a time our master bathroom floor was sparkly and clean and you couldn’t see the white grout lines against the white marble. But it hasn’t looked that good in a long time. I knew that the grout in our master bathroom had started to look a little dingy with dark lines and grungy corners. I’ve cleaned grout before ~ the hard way ~ and it is no fun. So when a way presented itself to easily clean the dirty grout in our master bathroom, I jumped at the chance. And believe me, this is the best way to clean grout without breaking your back.
Why do I think this is the best way to clean grout without breaking your back? Because several years ago, before Sweet Shark and I put our previous home up for sale, we knew that the grout in the master bathroom needed to be cleaned. The marble floors were a cream color and the grout was originally white ~ now it was even darker than the cream of the marble. Not a good look when you want to get top dollar for your home. We went to Lowe’s and bought a special grout cleaner for marble. And scrubbing brushes and rags. We set aside Saturday morning to get the job done.
Two days later, we finally finished the job. After a few more trips to Lowe’s to buy more grout cleaner, after realizing that we needed pads for our knees, after taking Advil for our aching backs, we finally finished. Did the floor look better? Yes, but after loosing an entire weekend and suffering from sore, achy muscles, we were done and swore we would never do that again. Next time the grout could stay dirty!
A month ago I saw a video online of the HomeRight Steam Machine used to clean dirty grout in a bathroom. It looked so easy, it worked so well, the floors looked great. You didn’t have to get on your hands and knees; you didn’t have to scrub. I can do that! So I asked the nice people at HomeRight if I could try out the Steam Machine. And I can tell you that using this machine beats anything I’ve seen for several reasons and for me, it’s the best way to clean grout without breaking your back.
Best Way to Clean Grout Without Breaking Your Back
So here is where I have to just grit my teeth and squeeze my eyes shut and show your our bathroom floors in all their dirty, grungy glory. This hurts because Sweet Shark and I are really neat, clean and organized people. I make my bed first thing every morning, I don’t have piles of laundry, I don’t leave toothpaste in the bathroom sink and I don’t leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. But the bathroom floor! Oh my. So here we go with the before pictures. Do keep in mind that we have a black lab who sheds like crazy ~ I have to deflect a little bit of blame for the sad state of these floors.
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The Dirty Grungy Grout Reveal
I never thought I would show anyone our toilet area.
Or the corners by the closet. Lots of Layla hair.
Or around the outside of the shower. I apologize. I know it’s gross. Layla hair everywhere. If you have a Lab, you’ll understand.
Or the dark lines around the 12~inch marble tiles.
Or behind the doors on the tile baseboards.
The HomeRight Steam Machine Reveal
The model of the Steam Machine is 053 and it comes with a very detailed Instruction Manual that explains all the parts, attachments, how to use it and how to clean and store it. Read it from cover to cover ~ twice.
The Steam Machine looks like a canister vacuum cleaner and comes with several attachments that can clean so many items around your house, from grills to ovens, glass, cars, and floors, cleaning pads and a funnel and cup to fill the machine with water. It is lightweight and has a handle for easy carrying. 2 extension wands are included, which I found really important ~ no bending over and breaking your back or kneeling on the floor.
A compartment is handy for storing some of the small attachments.
You need to use distilled water ~just like in an iron ~ to prevent any mineral build~up. Distilled water costs 99¢.
Before I started using the Steam Machine, I removed everything but the large linen cabinet from the bathroom to the bedroom.
Using the Steam Machine for Cleaning Grout
The instruction manual is detailed for setting up the steam machine, but I did watch a few videos just to make sure I understood the directions. As it turns out, the directions are really good and the videos weren’t really needed.
First, remove the safety cap on top.
Pour the distilled water into the 2~cup dispenser. I filled the cup 2 1/2 times to get the needed amount of water for a 45~minute amount of steam. That’s 40 ounces of water, the maximum the tank will hold. Place the funnel in the tank opening and pour in the water. Reattach the cap on the tank.
In this picture, you can also see the hose and trigger. All the attachments fit on the trigger. A great feature on the trigger is the safety lock. It’s locked in place when you are not using the steam machine and when you are using it, the lock keeps the trigger engaged so your hand doesn’t get tired. I thought that was a great idea.
Another feature that makes the Steam Machine easy to use is the long cord so you don’t have to unplug and replug to move the machine around. Oh, and it has wheels on the bottom to roll around easily.
I attached the straight adapter to the trigger as instructed and then the jet nozzle to the adapter. I turned the machine on and waited the 8 minutes required to heat the water to steam. A red light and an orange light come on to show you that the steam is building up. When the orange light turns off, the Steam Machine is ready to use. At first I used the jet nozzle attached to the trigger. I pulled the trigger and locked it in place. I started in the toilet area and had a fit when I first started running the nozzle on the grout lines. They were turning white as the steam came out of the nozzle.
I soon realized that I need the 2 extension wands. I attached the wands and then I didn’t have to bend over at all. After all, I was trying to clean the grout without breaking my back. This made all the difference. I also change from the net nozzle to the small nylon brush, which did an even better job of cleaning the grout.
Now I was really in business. I found that the best way to clean the grout was by slowly running the nylon brush over the grout lines with just a little bit of pressure. Here you can already see that the grout lines are looking so much better. As the steam comes out of the brush, it’s clean, but as it rises, you can see the it has a brownish color ~ dirt!
TIP: One of the videos cautioned to wear close~toed shoes so I did.
Here are some of the areas where I’ve cleaned and where I haven’t yet. Quite a different.
TIP: Try to clean the lines in a grid: horizontal and then vertical so you don’t miss any lines.
I continued around the perimeter of the room: around the bathtub, under the vanity and behind the linen cabinet. The extension wands made reaching these spots very easy. This picture is before I started. You can see the dark line around the bathtub. How does that get so dirty?
When I was cleaning around the shower, I decided to also clean the shower floor. The grout isn’t dark, it just has a scum build up on it. I knew that the pressure of the Steam Machine would lift the scum off the floor tile.
I was about 80% finished cleaning the grout in the bathroom when the steam ran out ~ exactly the 45 minutes as predicted. I turned off the machine and took a lunch break. Before adding additional water, you want to let the machine cool down for 30 minutes. After lunch, I plugged in the machine, filled it will water again ~ this time I only used 2 cups of water ~ turned the machine back on to heat. It didn’t take my long to finish the entire rest of the bedroom. Just for good measure, I went over a few areas again.
Since I still had plenty of steam in the machine, I decided to use the squeegee attachment on our large glass~block window. It’s very hard to reach it since it is behind the bathtub and you would have to stand on a step stool inside the tub to reach it. I don’t know if it’s every been cleaned since we moved in the house 5 years ago.
With the squeegee attachment and the 2 extension wands, I could easily reach the window. I’ll be using this attachment for our shower doors, fireplace screen and other windows soon.
Shiny and squeaky clean.
The Final Step to Clean the Grout
All the grout was clean, so I decided to use the large cleaning brush to give all the marble a steam cleaning and pick up any remaining dog hair or debris. This attachment comes with a microfiber cleaning brush that can be washed in the laundry. It’s good on any hard floor surface except hardwoods. I plan to use it on the slate floors in our butler’s pantry and laundry room.
It easily clips on the brush.
Then you attach it to the angled extension and then into the extension wand. I should say that most of the attachments and extension wands just clip into each other very easily.
Using the large cleaning brush is like using a powerful mop that you barely have to push. This is the new best way to mop floors.
Here’s what it looked like after I used it. Not too bad. I’ll just throw it in the washing machine.
I should say that the trigger gun and hose do get very warm, but nothing that is uncomfortable.
TIP: If you are changing attachments when the machine is still hot, I recommend using one of the microfiber cleaning towels that come with the machine.
After I finished cleaning the marble, I used my dust buster to pick up any last bits of dog hair.
TIP: I would vacuum or sweep the area before you use the Steam Machine, just to get up loose dirt, hair or objects.
The Clean Bathroom Grout Reveal
Except for cropping and resizing, I tried not to edit these photos so you could see how well the Steam Machine cleaned the grout. I returned the stool, table and waste baskets to the room.
Awesome job, uh? I told you this was the best way to clean grout without breaking your back. I will say that I had a hard time reaching under the shower door. I think we will have to remove the weatherstripping first.
Layla wasn’t sure what all the commotion was. She loves to nap in our closet and she wasn’t happy about getting booted out.
I can’t believe how nice the toilet area looks now.
I can’t tell you how happy I am with the results. I estimated that from beginning to end, including reading the instruction manual, watching a few videos, setting up the machine, removing “furniture” from the room, 2 sessions of cleaning, including the shower tile and the window, a short lunch break, and returning everything to the room took about 3 hours. Compared to the last time I spent 2 days cleaning a bathroom floor, this was a piece of cake.
But here are the reasons that this is the best way to clean grout without breaking your back:
- Uses steam only to clean ~ no products to buy, no chemicals needed in your home.
- No bending over or scrubbing on hands and knees ~ no sore muscles or hurting back.
- Different attachments for different jobs, making it a complete cleaning machine for grout and floors.
- No additional equipment is needed, such as scrubbing brushes, cleaning rags or pads for your knees.
- All parts are easily assembled.
- The machine rolls around easily so no pulling or dragging.
- A long extension cord means less time spent plugging and replugging machine.
- Minimal cleaning up of machine so less time spent on project.
- Compact machine, lightweight to carry with handle.
- Storage compartment for smaller attachments.
- Only need one person to clean grout.
- IT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY TO CLEAN GROUT!
As you can tell, I’m a confirmed believer in this product. The truth is in the pudding, and my bathroom floors are a testament to how well it works. If you want one of your own, here’s a link to the Steam Machine. Let me know what you think about it.
Now I can focus on the fun part of celebrating the home I love ~ decorating and DIY, food and fun painting projects. And I’ll have more time for them because I don’t have to clean grout anymore. If you’re interested in other HomeRight projects that I’ve used and love, check out these posts: Turning an Ugly Pot into Gold, Using Paint Sticks, Why You Need A Spray Shelter.
Wow! What a difference. I love this steam cleaner and recently used it to clean the stubborn pollen off my patio screen door. There are so many uses for it and after seeing this post, I’m going to do the upstairs bathroom before company comes this weekend! Thanks for all the details.
Diane, That’s a great idea. I’ve been thinking of other ways to use it: cleaning our chandeliers, the umbrella on the patio, our patio cushions, our slate floors in the laundry room, the inside glass of the ovens. I wonder if I can blast the squirrels from coming in our backyard.
That was a lot of work but so worth the effort! I’m happy to see that it really works. My mom bought a different brand steamer and when I tried it, it left huge streaks everywhere that were worse than the dirt buildup that was already there. Showers and floors just get the mess over time. This is a great solution!
Stacey, this was a breeze compared to doing it the old~fashioned way: on your hands and knees with grout cleaner and a scrub brush. No achy back or shoulders at the end and no buying chemicals; only way to go.
HI Carol- This looks great. So how many hours from start to finish did it take. Your bathroom is similar to ours in size and those before corner shots! Great post! laura
Laura, I estimated 3 hours, including watching a few videos, a lunch break and catching up on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Used it for 45 minutes until steam run out, then lunch, then another 45 minutes to finish and put everything back in the room. Sweet Shark thinks the room is about 13 X 15. Thanks for following up.
Wow. I need one of these.
Katie, It may seem pricy on the front side, but will pay for itself many times over.
This is great Carol! I didn’t know they even made such a thing. Looks much easier to use than the old toothbrush, bleach and Ibuprofen way!
Cindy, I’ve used a scrub brush on my hands and knees ~ never again. This method is so much easier, faster, and cleaner.
Eilis, that’s what we did to get our home ready to sell. Never again. I think in the long run, using the Steam Machine is less expensive because you can use it over and over for so many tasks.
okay, first I love your bathroom, second, I need this machine!! xo
Katherine, I wish I could give one away!
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