A beautifully tiled countertop can quickly turn into a messy looking kitchen if you do not seal the grout-lines. The lines between tiles will accumulate food, grease and oil stains leaving your countertop looking dirty and messy. Unsealed grout is also the perfect place for bacteria to flourish. Once the bacteria grows in the lines, it's pretty easy for them to make the leap to your foods and fingers. Bacteria never mixes well with food. Grout is a somewhat porous material and will trap bacteria making your kitchen a health hazard. Sealing the lines is an easy job for do-it-yourself homeowners. Always seal only clean grout or you will trap dirt and stains under teh sealer and make your countertops look dirty and unappealing.

Cleaning Kitchen Countertop Grout Before Sealing

Mix equals amounts of white vinegar and water in a bowl, small bucket or spray bottle.

Dip a soft bristled toothbrush in a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water or spray the grout-lines with the vinegar and water from the spray bottle.

Scrub the lines with the toothbrush to remove grout stains.

Follow the grout-lines around the entire kitchen countertop to clean and disinfect them.

Dip a clean rag in plain water and squeeze out excess water.

Wipe the grout-lines to remove the white vinegar residue.

Rinse the rag and squeeze out the water, wipe the grout-lines. Repeat several times to get all remaining white vinegar residue off the surface. White vinegar can etch the tiles if it is allowed to stay on the surface.

Removing Stains From Grout Before Sealing

If any stains remain on the grout-lines, add 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach to 1 cup of hot water.

Dip a soft toothbrush or nylon scrubber sponge into the bleach and water solution and scrub the grout-lines.

Follow all grout-lines, even the ones without stains because bleach will lighten and brighten the color of the grout. If you only add bleach to certain sections, the grout will look blotchy.

Allow the bleach to sit on the grout for 5 to 10 minutes.

Wipe the grout with a clean damp cloth several times to eliminate the chlorine bleach residue.

Allow the grout to dry completely before sealing it.

Sealing Countertop Tile Grout

Purchase a commercial tile grout sealer. They are available at tile stores, hardware stores and home improvement stores.

Shake the grout sealer bottle to mix the contents.

Uncap the bottle and place the small applicator into the grout sealer. Most applicators look like a small brush or small foam wheel.

Begin at a corner of the countertop, if your backsplash has tile, begin on the top line of your backsplash.

Paint the grout sealer onto the grout-lines working from left to right or right to left. Go across the etire backsplash or first row of tile on the countertop.

Move to the second row and work your way across. Continue to paint the grout sealer on all of the horizontal grout-lines one by one.

After all horizontal lines are sealed, begin at an edge and paint all vertical grout-lines one by one.

Reseal your tile grout every year or sooner if you use your countertops frequently.

Always protect your countertops with a cutting board when chopping or cutting.

Immediately clean up leaks from meats with an equal mixture of chlorine bleach and water to prevent the spread of bacteria in your kitchen.

Wait to at least three to four days after adding new grout to your kitchen countertops or backsplash.