Now that you have finished spreading your floor tile grout and forming the grout lines, the penultimate stage of the job is to clean the tiled floor completely free of grout streaks, before finally sealing the grout. Once the grout has been formed correctly, wait around 5 to 10 minutes after forming to begin cleaning the tiles. Whatever you do, don’t decide to leave it too long before you do this, as it will just give you more unnecessary scrubbing work to apply, so try to complete the whole process of grouting in one sitting.
With a fresh bucket of water, again wring out your sponge and begin to wipe down the tiled floor in circular motions to remove the excess grout from the tiles. The dry streaks should be completely wiped clean, and you will probably notice that your sponge will gum up very fast and congeal with grout. If you keep wiping the floor with the sponge in this condition, you will simply be spreading the streaks around the tiles, which will be more noticeable once the moisture evaporates.
This is where it is very important to always work with a clean sponge and fresh water. Wring out the sponge in water to remove the grout build-up on a more regular basis, and when the water becomes murky, change it for a fresh bucket. As a rough guide, you should find yourself changing your water for every 9′ by 9′ foot square area, but this of course depends on how clean your grout forming was.
If you don’t change the water regularly, you will simply be wiping the grout back onto the tiles and find your job totally frustrating, so common sense tells us that you can’t really expect to clean something properly with a dirty solution. Again though, as with grout forming, don’t worry about the tiles being perfectly clear of streaks. There is still one more process to go through before you are finally finished cleaning the tiles, but do try to get them as clean as possible to make this final stage a little easier.
Waiting a minimum of two hours after cleaning with your wet sponge, but certainly no more than 12 hours, otherwise you will find that the remaining grout streaks are caked on to your tiles, the final process is to buff the tiles down. Using a dry cheese cloth or dish towel for ideal results, buff down the floor tiles to return them back to their factory finish. Rubbing in circular motions again, dry polish the tiles and remove the haze left by the grout.
This is a relatively fast procedure, and you should notice an instant difference between a buffed tile and an unpolished one. Your cheese cloth will become clogged with grout dust eventually, but simply by taking it outside and giving it a good shake will remove any of the dust. Keep it dry though, and don’t wring it out in water, otherwise you will be back to square one with grout streaks.
With your floor now completely clean, you now want for your grout to cure properly. By taking a regular refillable spray bottle found in any hardware or garden store, give your floor a light misting of water every 8 to 12 hours for at least 2 to 3 days constant. This process allows the grout to cure slower which prevents cracking, found normally when grout dries too fast. Various temperatures can alter this factor greatly, so adjust accordingly depending on your climate or interior room temperature and humidity.
Your floor is now completely finished apart from actually sealing the grout, which should be done at least two weeks after the initial application of grout. This is a relatively fast and easy process, but in the meantime while you are waiting for the grout to completely cure, you can now begin to reinstall any fixtures such as your toilet bowl or free standing wash hand basins.
Be careful not to drop them and crack any floor tiles though, and try to prevent your unsealed grout from becoming dirty or wet. Work in your socks or bare feet to protect the floor from grime, don’t over-tighten toilet mounting nuts or you could crack the porcelain, and always fit a completely new rubber or wax seal when replacing. You don’t want to be going down that path again in the near future with leaking seals and unpleasant odors finding their way back into your newly finished tiling project.