Nationally, the average cost of grout cleaning runs from $0.75 to $3 per square foot. The minimum cost per project averages $100 to $200. Many variables affect your final grout cleaning cost, including the type of tile involved, the grout's location and condition, and the labor costs in your geographical area. Typically, the square footage of the cleaning area is the most important factor in estimating the final cost of your grout cleaning project.
Grout cleaning can help you keep your home free of the mold, mildew, grime, bacteria, and discoloration that can accumulate between tiles over time. By understanding the basics involved in grout cleaning and pricing a professional grout cleaning project, you can get your home back on track for a fresher, cleaner look.
What's in this cost guide?
- How can I determine the square footage for my grout cleaning project?
- What types of professionals offer grout cleaning projects?
- What do grout cleaners typically include in their square-foot pricing?
- What other factors influence the cost of a grout cleaning project?
- How can I minimize the cost of a professional grout cleaning?
You can figure your square footage the same basic way whether you're cleaning grout between floor tiles or wall tiles. To estimate the square footage for a flooring project, multiply the length of the area by the width. To estimate the square footage for a wall project, multiple the length of the wall area by the area's height. This gives you a baseline to determine your potential project cost.
If your project is for a tiled shower enclosure, the grout professional may price the project based on the shower's overall size rather than their regular square foot pricing.
Grout and tile contractors typically specialize in grout cleaning services, but some other types of professionals provide grout cleaning services, too. Many floor restoration companies provide cleaning services as part of their restoration projects. Carpet cleaning or rug cleaning companies, such as Stanley Steemer, often offer cleaning services as well.
While most tile and grout cleaners use a square-foot pricing model, other types of companies may price your project by the hour or charge a flat rate for the entire project. If the price is by the hour, be sure you confirm how long the cleaning services should take before any work begins.
Grout cleaning specialists typically include the following services in their basic pricing: application of a cleaning solution, a high-pressure cleansing rinse, and a sealant to protect the newly cleaned grout against future buildup. Many grout cleaning services include filling in the old grout and smoothing it to give it a “like new," clean tile appearance. But, if too much grout is missing, expect an additional charge.
While many variables can affect costs, American Tile & Grout Cleaning of West Palm Beach, Florida, charges 75 cents per square foot (sq ft) to clean tile and grout. The Groutsmith of Sarasota, Florida, also charges for tile and grout cleaning and sealant application based on square footage, but the square-foot pricing varies depending on the size and type of tile involved.
Sealing is especially important because grout is porous. Unless you seal the grout, substances such as moisture, mold, dirt, stains, and bacteria penetrate the grout's surface and that leads to more grout cleaning down the road. Unless you really love to scrub the mold out of your bathroom tile grout, be sure to factor the cost of sealing into your budget.
When asked for an estimate on a grout cleaning project, pros may ask the following questions to determine additional costs for cleaning your grout:
- Will workers need to move heavy furniture or appliances? Some grout cleaners will move lightweight furniture out of the way for free, but they may charge extra for moving heavy furniture and appliances. Be sure and explain upfront if any large items are in the way. Be aware if moving involves antiques or delicate pieces, such as a full china cabinet – the cleaners may refuse to move them due to liability concerns.
- Where is the grout cleaning area located? The easier it is to access the cleaning area with the pro's normal grout cleaning equipment, the lower your costs will be. If the grout is in a place that's hard to reach or requires lifting heavy equipment up or downstairs, for example, costs may increase. This can mean higher costs when cleaners use truck-mounted equipment, such as a steam cleaner. Certain areas, such as a shower or bathroom enclosure, may require all the grout be replaced with mildew-free grout, which adds labor costs or higher square-foot charges.
- Will any areas require hand cleaning or spot cleaning? Any area that pros can't reach with grout cleaning equipment will mean extra labor charges for hand cleaning or spot cleaning, or to scrub or deep clean a difficult stain. The same applies to delicate tiles that might be damaged by machines. Hand or spot cleaning results in additional labor costs, typically $30 to $50 per hour or more, depending on your area.
- How long has it been since a professional cleaned the grout and tiles? Ground-in dirt, oils, stains, and other substances can build up over time and make your floor or wall tiles and grout harder to clean. If it's been a long time since a professional cleaning, your tiles and grout may require pre-treatment, deep cleaning or grout restoration, which can mean additional costs.
- Does your project require color-sealing? Some grout cleaners include basic sealant in their pricing, but not all do. Be sure and confirm that estimates include the sealant. You may also want to consider color-sealing, which changes the color of your grout. For example, you may have tile flooring with dark tiles and light grout that always looks dirty, even when you clean. Color-sealing can darken the grout — or lighten it — depending on your preferences.
- Does the area have any loose or broken tiles? A tile and grout specialist can re-bond or replace loose or damaged tiles. Your cost will depend on the number of tiles, as well as their size and type.
Give your grout cleaning professional as much information as possible upfront to ensure they have accurate information. Then take these steps to minimize your costs:
1. Move furniture or appliances beforehand. Clear the cleaning area and have it ready to go. Provide easy access to and from it.
2. Clean the tiles and grout yourself with a grout brush and commercial cleaning solution. Remove as much existing grime as possible to prepare the site for the pros. A store-bought cleaner may be more effective and even safer than do-it-yourself “remedies," such as baking soda, dish soap, white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Always check the label for your tile type. Natural stone tiles, for example, need special care.
3. Get an on-site consultation before you hire a professional to do the job. That way, the pro knows all the variables in your project before they give an estimate. Many grout cleaners and tile contractors offer free estimates in your home.
4. Bundle grout cleaning with another project. Some grout and tile specialists also clean and seal other surfaces, such as natural stone or granite countertops. They may also offer reglazing that can make Mexican tiles look like new. By bundling projects together, you may save money over the separate project costs.
5. Ask about discounts and warranties. Many tile and grout professionals will offer some type of discount and warranty. American Tile & Grout Cleaning, for example, provides a 10-year warranty on their work.
Grout cleaning is an important investment in keeping your home clean and healthy, and looking great for your family, visiting guests and potential buyers, should you ever decide to sell. By working with a qualified, vetted grout cleaning professional, you can ensure you spend your time and money well.