Shower cubicles can be the most difficult of tiled features to keep clean. Most are exposed to various acid-based soaps and shampoos on a daily basis, allowing mould and general muck to quickly build up along the grout lines and silicone. This leaves the entire area looking quite unappealing. In some cases, the grout lines become stained beyond a point where they can be restored to their original condition, so property owners will typically request to have the grout cut out and replaced however a faster and cheaper method is to have the grout completely recoloured.
Such was the case with this Ceramic tiled shower cubicle at a house in Wigan. It would take a lot to get the cubicle looking great again, having not been cleaned properly for a long time. The property owner decided to contact me for a professional refresh, including cleaning, new silicone sealer and recolouring of the grout.
Cleaning a Ceramic Tiles Shower Cubicle
I started the refresh by applying Tile Doctor Mould Away spray to the tiles and grout, and leaving it to dwell for an hour. As the name of the product suggests, Mould Away is a fast and effective cleaner for the removal of mould from silicone and grout, making it ideal for use on shower cubicles similar to this one. I then rinsed the entire area down with water before scrubbing the grout lines and tiles with a stiff grout brush to remove any remaining mould and lime scale, leaving them looking a lot cleaner.
Colouring Grout in a Ceramic Tiles Shower Cubicle
The cleaning process made a big improvement however the grout was still too stained so after removing the silicone strip from around the base of the shower I proceeded to recolour with our white Grout Colourant. The colourant is painted onto the grout and any excess is wiped of the tile before it dries which both improves the appearance of the grout and seals it in to protect it from further staining. The last step was to apply fresh white silicone along the base of the shower.
The customer was very pleased with the refreshed appearance of their shower and you must admit it looks much more inviting now.
Keeping the tile and grout in shower cubicles clean is often a headache for homeowners and this cubicle at a house in Edinburgh was certainly no different. You can see from the photograph below that although the glazed ceramic tiles were in good condition they were being made to look grubby by the stained condition of the adjacent grout and there were also signs of mould build-up. If you catch this early you can overcome the problem spraying on a product called Tile Doctor Mould-Away however in this case a full refresh was required.
Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout
We started by spraying the tile and grout down with Tile Doctor which is a strong alkaline cleaner Pro-Clean, spraying it on mixes it with helping it to stick to Vertical surfaces where it can get to work on the dirt. We left it to dwell for ten minutes before scrubbing it in by hand using a stiff grout brush; this process certainly improved the grout but unfortunately it had become too badly stained to be satisfactory so it was agreed with the owner that we would recolour the grout using a white grout colourant.
The grout colourant comes in a tube and is very straightforward to apply although I must admit the work is quite tedious. Two coats of white colourant were required to get the uniform appearance needed and I think you will agree the effect is quite transforming. The other advantage of these particular colourant products is that they are epoxy based and form a barrier of the grout preventing future staining and making it very easy to clean going forward.
The last step was to carefully remove the existing silicon strip along the base of the cubicle with a sharp nice and replace with new. The final result was a shower cubicle that looked recently installed.
This ceramic tiled shower cubicle was installed at house in Silverdale, you can see from the photographs below that there was staining from the chemicals in domestic products and there was also a build-up of mould on some parts of the grout and silicone sealant. Mould can get a grip here due to a porous top layer and this is especially a problem in the UK where bathrooms tend to be small with inadequate ventilation.
Cleaning Tile and Grout
The ceramic tiles and grout was treated using Tile Doctor Oxy Pro which is a ready to use tile and grout shower cleaner that comes with a trigger spray attachment which allows the cleaner to mix with air making it lighter and allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces. It was then worked in using a stiff scrubbing brush by hand before being rinsed off with water; this process was repeated a number of times until we had managed to clean all the areas and then left to dry.
Unfortunately it’s not possible to remove mould from silicone sealant, the only solution is to have it stripped off and replaced. Once this was done the edges were cleaned up and fresh mould resistant silicone was applied.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that silicone will last longer if the residue from soaps, shampoos and body washes etc. are rinsed away with clean water after having a shower as it’s the chemical and not the water that damages the silicone in the first place.
The results are plain to see and my customer was very satisfied with the work.
Prevention is always better than the cure and another tip you might find useful is to improve ventilation which is a major problem with draught free modern housing fitted with insulation and double glazing, if this is not possible try leaving your shower room door wide open after having a shower. Another option is to look at installing a ventilation and heat recovery system which extracts the hot air from kitchens and bathrooms through a heat exchanger to warm up fresh air from outside and recycles it back into the house.
Shower problems must be the most common problem we come across at Tile Doctor where we often here of issues with discoloured shower tile and grout usually combined with a build up of mould. Discolouration problems tend to come from the dyes in bathroom products such as body washes and shampoo, where as mould is due to inadequate ventilation or extraction magnified by our cold damp climate as we keep the windows shut and increase insulation to reduce drafts and keep warm.
Removing Mould and Discolouration from Shower Grout
The photographs shown on this page come from a ceramic tiled shower cubicle in the Surrey town of Caterham which you may have heard of as it’s where they make the Caterham Sports Car. You should be able to see from the photographs areas of discoloration and mould on the grout and silicone sealant which unlike the glazed ceramic tiles are slightly porous and have allowed the dyes and mould to taken a hold.
To resolve the problems with the tile and grout a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was mixed in a spray bottle and then sprayed on; mixing the product with air allows it to stick better onto the vertical surface otherwise gravity causes it to run off. The Pro-Clean was allowed to dwell onto the surface for a few minutes before being worked in with a grout brush. The next step was to rinse the Pro-Clean down and then re-apply the process to areas which we had missed or needed further attention.
The tile was then left to dry before replacing the silicone sealant between the tile and shower tray; whilst Tile and Grout can normally be treated once mould gets a hold on the silicone the only thing you can do is to replace it. In some cases I’ve come across the grout becomes too stained to treat and in that case the only thing you can do is scrape the top layer of grout back using a screwdriver head sized to fit into the grout line.
Shower Grout Sealing
The last step was to seal the grout for which we used Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a penetrating sealer rather than one that sits in the surface. The sealer should prefect staining in future however given the location it will need to be re-applied more frequently than usual.