A good steam cleaner or steam mop will leave your tiled floors, walls and other surfaces spotless, but an exceptional one can get at all the gunk stuck inside the grout, too. This is good news for those of us resigned to painstakingly scraping out all manner of muck and grime accumulating in the gaps over the years, or having to pay up to replace grout altogether. High-pressure steam and the right steam cleaner attachments can work together to remove soap scum, food bits and other nasties otherwise slowly molding between tiles and turning your floors or bathroom walls into toxic wastelands of germs and pathogens.
The low-moisture vapor molecules get right into the highly porous textures of grout, expanding and pushing dirt out, loosened further with the aid of steam cleaner attachments like brass utility brushes, while killing any pathogens and allergens lurking in there. After that, it’s a matter of a little scrubbing and mopping it all off and you’ll be surprised by how much cleaner your grout will be, without needing expensive replacements or excessive and futile elbow grease. That is, as long as you pick the right steam cleaner for the job.
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
Don’t underestimate this machine – despite being filed under the ‘portable’ category of steam cleaners we’re ready to champion it as a jack of all trades as well as a master of them. The large 48-ounce water tank allows you enough firepower to continuously blast highly pressurized steam for 40 minutes straight, great for tackling longer stretches of flooring, walls or other surfaces without having to repeatedly stop for refills. The lockable trigger system is also a brilliant design choice, giving us complete control over whether we’re applying intermittent bursts of steam, or a constant stream of it.
Capable of heating up water into low-moisture, high-pressure steam in just under 8 minutes, you can quickly get to work with this portable but heavy-duty cleaner, smooth-rolling caster wheels and an extra-long, 15-foot power cord as well as extension wands making accessing even the highest stretch of your bathroom wall or the narrowest gap of tile between pieces of furniture that much easier. A convenient carry-handle also makes it simple to transport quickly from room to room, on-board storage ensuring all the tools you need are ready at hand.
Speaking of tools, the unit comes with an impressive assortment of over a dozen accessories, including mop head attachments to give your tiled floors a quick and thorough shine, scrub and microfiber pads, triangle brushes, squeegee attachment perfect for using on tiled bathroom walls and ceramic surfaces and of course utility brushes to tackle anything from caked-up grime building in grout to old dried grease in ovens.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
BISSELL Steam Shot Hard-Surface Cleaner
Color us impressed with how well this quaint little handheld steam cleaner tackles even the toughest of grimy grout. Specifically including a grout brush to really get down into the dirt building up between tiles, the unit heats up water quickly in about 30-minutes, the long 16-foot power cord and lightweight construct making it easy to lift up and around and use over a variety of surfaces without it feeling too cumbersome.
While the smaller tank capacity – holding about 6.6 ounces in the measuring cup included with the unit – means you have to contend with more frequent refill breaks and shorter steam cleaning times, we’re still fans of this unit, not just for the extremely pocket-friendly price-tag, but also because despite being small, it packs a big punch. An intuitive trigger at your fingertips and grip-handle make holding and using this unit where you need it a simple business. A variety of attachments aside from the grout brush, including a squeegee, angle contractor, flat scraping tool and even a fabric steaming attachment for steam cleaning clothes, linen, duvets and so on, gives you a versatile but compact, decently priced steam cleaner with an array of possible applications.
Sienna Eco Pro SSC-0412 Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
A 40-ounce water tank makes for 40 minutes of continuous steam cleaning, intuitive controls letting you work out steam output with a lockable trigger allowing you to alternate between bursts of short, intense steam treatment to a constant blast of high-pressure steam. A light indicator lets you know when you’re ready to steam clean, as well as a refill indicator so you have an idea of when to get ready to fill up the tank again without the machine abruptly shutting down on you when it runs out. Featuring 23 accessories as part of the kit, the unit not only comes with bristled heavy-duty utility brushes to loosen the gunk out of your grout, but also packs tools for a variety of different uses, including attachments to let you comfortably steam clean carpets, squeegee attachment to wipe down windows and tile, extension wands and more.
Wagner 0282014 On-Demand 915 Power Steamer
An 8-foot hose, extension wand attachments and caster wheels let you maneuver this unit wherever you need, its relatively compact build letting you position it in narrow spaces while still being able to access hard to reach spots. A carry-handle allows you to deposit the unit easily from place to place.
Thanks to the lockable power trigger right at your fingertips, you can easily switch between sporadic bursts of steam and continuous steam cleaning, the included accessory kit equipping you with all you need not just to get rid of the gunk in your grout, but also leave those floors and walls – and lets add to that grease-crusted stovetops and oven grills, the ceramic surfaces of sinks and bathtubs, sealed countertops, car tires and more while we’re at it – squeaky clean. Including utility brushes, a mop head attachment, squeegee and more in its list of accessories, this unit features an indicator system to let you know when the water is being heated, and when the machine is ready for steam cleaning.