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How to Use a Pressure Washer to Clean Grout Properly

Does your kitchen flooring use tile and grout? What about your bathrooms? Tile and grout there? I bet a good number of people answered yes to these questions. I’m also sure that those people have spent some time cleaning those areas and know that it can be  quite labor intensive.

Grout can get dirty quite easily because of its porous nature. Traditionally, it requires a good scrubbing with a hand brush and a cleaning solution. However, there’s a faster and easier way. Grout can be pressure washed with a nozzle that has a wide spray pattern and using a low PSI setting.

The Internet has mixed opinions on this method. Some people say it’s too risky or that it makes a mess. Others vouch that pressure washing grout is a time saver. What I would say is that if you’re interested in pressure washing grout to be careful. Let me explain how you should properly pressure wash your grout without incurring damages.

Prep Work

Pressure washing jobs are usually done outside on surfaces like wood, cement and house siding. Taking the task indoors will require a little more precision and care because pressure washers put out a lot of water pressure that can damage things around the house. The blast from a washer can be hundreds of times stronger than a garden hose!

Use plastic coverings

You can put up plastic coverings around your kitchen cabinets and walls. Inside the bathroom, the same can be done. Use painter’s tape to secure plastic sheets to surfaces that you don’t want to get wet. This will make it easier to take off after the job is done.

Prepare sponges and towels

Things will get wet. The water sprays will ricochet off whatever surfaces you will be cleaning. Get ready some sponges and towels so that you can quickly wipe down excess water.

Find window to string a garden hose through

Pressure washers need a water source and this comes from a garden hose. So, you’ll need to have a long garden hose prepared. Connect one end to the outdoor spigot and the other end to the washer, going through a kitchen or bathroom window. 

Ready your washer

This is important. There are two types of pressure washers: gas and electric. Choose an electric one for this task. 

Gas pressure washers are more powerful than electric ones because they use a gas-powered motor. In this case, it would be excessive. You might even cause significant damage with this option.

Electric pressure washers are more common for simple cleaning jobs around the house. They require an outlet to be plugged in, so have one close by. You’ll want to plug this washer into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI) outlet for safety.

Steps on How to Pressure Wash Grout

Step 1: Attach the nozzle

Attach a black nozzle to the pressure washer wand. This color nozzle is generally referred to as the soaker nozzle because it’s used with detergents to create suds in preparation to pressure wash and rinse. In our case, you can simply use it without detergent.

The reason for this selection is because you want to start off with a wide spray pattern. It’ll be exert the least amount of water pressure compared to other colored nozzles you might have. Because I mentioned grout is somewhat delicate, you don’t want to start blasting away at full force.

If you have an adjustable nozzle, set it at the lowest spray pressure. You can always increase it later. But be sure you make incremental changes.

Step 2: Position yourself

Stand about 2 feet away from the surface you will be cleaning. You want to avoid standing too close initially because the spray may be strong. Adjust accordingly. If you feel the washer isn’t giving you enough pressure move closer.

Step 3: Pull the trigger

Start spraying the grout and surround tile. Use sweeping horizontal passes and keep your spray pointed at a 45 degree again. If you’re working on a wall, like a tiled shower wall, start from the top and work your way down. This way the dirty stuff simply slides down the tile and into the drain. 

Spend a little extra time on the stubborn spots or make several passes. The blasts of water should eventually dig out the stains. In bathrooms and showers, pressure washers are great for deep cleaning mold or mildew that builds up.

Avoid washing caulking or spraying directly on glass, such as the shower sliding doors. Try not to spray straight on, as the force might be too intense.

Tips Pressure Washing Grout

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while you’re cleaning.

  • For stubborn stains or heavily stained grout, apply a cleaning solution on the grout and let it soak in for a half an hour to let it loosen the dirt particles.
  • Grout can wear away over time if treated harshly. Save any intense scrubs with brushes for really stubborn stains.
  • Use hot water when pressure washing grout, if at all possible. On a molecular level, hot water loosens up the adhesiveness of particles a lot better.
  • You will find it easier to maintain grout if you have a functional cleaning routine. You should clean your grout by hand about once a week. Only use your pressure washer when you notice staining or build up that is not going away with your normal cleaning methods. 

Can I Use a Pressure Washer with Any Type of Grout?

Most types of grout, especially those typically used in bathrooms, can be cleaned with a pressure washer. Tile grouts can either be cementitious or epoxy. For cementitious grout you have those that are sanded and those that are unsanded.

Cementitious grout is the most common and combines cement, pigmentation, water, and other additives. The sanded variety of cementitious grout is better for wide lines, while the unsanded variety of cementitious grout comes in handy for thinner lines. 

Both sanded and unsanded grouts can be cleaned with a wide spray patterned nozzle, but it is best to avoid pressure washing sanded grout frequently as it is more prone to wearing away over time. 

Epoxy grout is specifically used in the wet areas around the house, such as the bathrooms as well as high traffic sections. The epoxy creates a layer impermeable to water, and other chemicals. Because of this, pressure washing is a great way of cleaning this kind of grout.

Are There Accessories That I Can Use?

Generally, pressure washing creates wet messes. That’s because water gets sprayed everywhere. When it’s done outside it’s fine. Inside it can be problematic.

Fortunately, we have an assortment of pressure washer attachments that are designed for specific tasks. In this particular case, consider a surface cleaner. You attach it to your wand and you use it like a steam mop.

Surface cleaners are circular in design, so they’ll give you easy access around walls and corners. They have multiple nozzles that spray rotating jets of water. Disinfect your tile floors and grout quickly with this attachment.

But as I mentioned above, things really can get wet and messy. So I would suggest that you cover up with plastic sheeting anything that you don’t want to get wet. And get those mops, towels, and sponges ready.

Conclusion

Tile and grout get dirty. It’s inevitable. Your kitchen tiled floors are probably one of the most trafficked areas in your house. The bathrooms are regularly filled with moisture, creating mildew and maybe even mold if not properly cleaned. Cleaning tile and grout used to mean getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing. Now you know that a pressure washer can be used to simplify this chore, making the task quick and easy to check off your todo list!

Choosing The Right PSI For A Pressure Washer
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