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ajmckay 11-05-2012 11:44 AM

Cleaning and re-sealing sanded grout in a shower
I have a tiled shower with light colored sanded grout (ceramic tiles though). Unfortunately, due to my ignorance I have used many harsh chemicals to clean it (tilex, bleach, etc...) and I haven't re-sealed it in the 3 years I've lived in the home (who knows when it was sealed before I moved in). It seems like the grout is growing mildew much faster than before, and I've learned that grout occasionally needs re-sealing (especially given the harsh chemicals I used). I've stopped using tilex and bleach in favor of "Zap" brand tile and grout cleaner, but it doesn't work as well with existing mildew.

Can someone recommend a good product/procedure to clean up the grout to prepare it for re-sealing? Also, what would be the best sealer for a shower?

Also, is the "Zap" tile cleaner good stuff?

Thank you!

pwgsx 11-06-2012 08:18 AM

About how old is the shower? You may have clogged weep holes around your drain, causing water to collect in your pan and grow mold faster than before when it was able to drain. IF you apply sealer, you need to make sure the grout is very dry- dont use the shower for a week or maybe more. Also sealer does not make it waterproof!!!

ajmckay 11-06-2012 09:05 AM

Thanks for the reply pwg. I think the tile was installed between 4 and 6 years ago.

Also, I should have clarified that the tile is just on the walls, it's a normal tub on the bottom, so no problems there. But water does collect around the tub a little where the grout meets right up to the tub and that's where the mildew growth is the worst.

As for the grout being dry, I didn't know it was so important! A week without showering probably won't work for me, but I'm wondering if I use a fan or something to speed up the process to a day or 2 if that would work.

So let me ask you this, do you think that the increased mildew growth/grout discoloration is likely caused by the original grout sealer wearing off/breaking down due to time and the harsh cleaners?

Additionally, do you think that using a grout cleaner product and re-sealing the grout would give increased resistance to mildew and the associated staining (along with not using such harsh cleaners in the future)?

pwgsx 11-06-2012 10:40 AM

Being it is tile on the walls and tub bottom a few days to dry would be fine, some tile guys tile directly on wall board which is a big no no. Im hoping they used cement board on your install or you might have water soaked drywall causing growth. Yes sealers will repel water- you need moisture to cause mildew growth so that may help. I do not think that lack of sealer is causing your increased mildew problem though.

Where is most of the mildew at? Corner of tub and tile? IF so pull out all the caulk and re-caulk with 100% silicone caulk. Also a nice towel dry of the tub shower area will also help after each shower.

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