Grout sealers, which often also seal and protect the tile surrounding the grout, are a crucial aspect of grout care. Applied annually–or even every six months if the tile often gets wet–you can lock moisture out of grout, keeping it looking its best far longer.
Deane Biermeier, licensed carpenter and contractor, as well as member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board, cautions, "Grout sealers are available in several 'easy application' forms, such as spray-and-walk-away. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, an overly easy application sometimes equates to less protection or shorter-lasting results. Your extensive tile and grouting projects deserve the small amount of extra work that applying a high-quality sealer can provide, so don't bypass a sealer that requires a little more effort to apply it if that also means bypassing superior protection."
We evaluated grout sealers based on effectiveness, longevity, ease of application, and versatility.
Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold
Safe for most types of stone, ceramic tile, and grout
No-sheen, non-slippery finish
Safe in food-prep areas
Very few complaints of white haze
Grout is both decorative and protective, and it acts as a filler to cover any space between tiles to form a solid surface. Since grout contains a portion of sand, it needs protection from a sealant to last, as otherwise moisture and regular use wears the grout away. Also, sand is porous, having small holes where dirt and mold spores can remain. The best sealers block these holes as much as possible to help prevent the buildup of mildew, which stains grout gray or black.
The Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold takes the top spot for its natural looks and extensive protection. This product is a water-based sealer that provides ample protection over the entire surface, including grout and tiles. It also dries with a no-sheen finish for a natural, non-slippery look and feel. For ceramic tiles, this will provide additional protection against staining and wear, and it can be used with stones such as granite, marble, masonry, and limestone. Use this as a pre-grout sealer on your tiles for extra protection in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. It's available in several different sizes from pints to gallons.
Price at time of publish: $56 per quart
Application Method: Rag, brush, or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Black Diamond Stoneworks Ultimate Grout Sealer
Fights mold and mildew growth
Some complaints of bleaching of colored grout
Not all budget grout sealers do a good job of protecting the grout from dirt, mildew, and other stains. So while an inexpensive option is a good choice for larger projects or for tighter budgets, you still need to be sure the sealer gets the job done. The Black Diamond UGS PT Ultimate is the best choice for this, since it’s meant to resist even tough stains from coffee, wine, and oil, yet it won't break your budget.
The sealer is designed to repel oil and water, which can lead to extensive damage in the grout over time. In places where moisture is common, such as the kitchen or bathroom, this type of protection can reduce the amount of maintenance your grout and tiles will need after extensive use. The sealer helps repel food, grease, and mildew, as well as mold to prevent ugly stains and damage from developing. Like most grout sealers, this one is available in several container sizes, including spray bottles.
Price at time of publish: $25 per 16-ounce spray bottle
Application Method: Spray, rag or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: No
Best for Bathrooms
Aqua-X Grout Sealer
Highly effective in wet areas such as showers
Won't change grout color
Long lasting protection
Not for use on stone or other materials
Some of the hardest-working grout in your home is in the bathroom, especially in the shower. Grout that's regularly exposed to moisture can quickly degrade, discolor, mildew, or even crumble. That's why a coating of Aqua-X Grout Sealer is so important. Just spray or brush this quick-drying sealer onto the grout, and wipe away any overspray from the tile. Once it dries, your grout is protected from moisture for up to five years. Although the product goes on white, it dries clear and won't change the color of your grout.
This is a water-based sealer with low VOCs, so you won't have to deal with awful fumes or odor. While highly effective at protecting grout that's routinely exposed to moisture, it's also a great choice for sealing grout elsewhere in your home, including the kitchen or even the backyard. It's available in pint or quart bottles.
Price at time of publish: $35 per quart
Application Method: Rag, brush, or spray | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: No
Best for Outdoors
Serveon Sealants H2Seal All-Purpose Stone Sealer
Holds up to the outdoor elements
Seals many types of stone
Few complaints that sealer didn't last long enough
Grout isn't only for the indoors; if you have an outdoor kitchen, counter, built-in fireplace or fire pit, or a tiled decorative trim, then you need a sealer that can keep the grout looking its best. For those situations, it's hard to go wrong with Serveon Sealants H2Seal All-Purpose Stone Sealer. This water-based, low VOC sealer dries clear, leaving your grout's color unchanged but providing excellent protection against damage from water—even saltwater—stains, and general grunge.
You can apply this sealer with a sprayer, a brush, or a roller, whichever is most convenient for you. It dries quickly, generally in less than an hour. The sealer won't leave a slippery surface, won't dull the appearance of surrounding tile or stone, and won't change the color of your grout. As a plus, it is highly effective at sealing most types of materials commonly used outdoors, including flagstone, limestone, brick, stucco, travertine, porous tile, and concrete. You can even use it around your swimming pool. It's available in quart or gallon containers.
Price at time of publish: $48 per gallon
Application Method: Sprayer, brush, roller | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator Sealer
Won't alter the color or appearance of the treated surface
Suited for use on most types of stone, tile, and grout
Excellent protection against stains and water damage
Some complaints about odor
The challenge with grout sealers is depth. Since sand is porous, deeper holes need to be addressed, depending on the thickness of the grout. But most sealers use a water-based solution that doesn't penetrate much below the surface. This leaves the deepest portion of the grout unprotected. To reach further in, an impregnator like the Miracle Sealants 32-ounce bottle is necessary.
This sealer uses a solvent-based formula that penetrates deeper into the grout layer than similar water-based products. The deeper penetration means extra, longer-lasting protection for the grout and surrounding tiles. The sealer dries into a slip-resistant finish, so it is safe to walk on treated tile floors without worry. The extra protection will also keep stains from forming, preserving the look of the tile surface.
Formulated for both interior and exterior use, you can also use this sealer to protect outdoor tiled surfaces on patios or around swimming pools.
Price at time of publish: $31 per quart
Application Method: Rag, brush, or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Solvent | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Miracle Sealants 511 Spray-On Grout Sealer
Easy to use
Effectively repels stains and moisture
Only for grout, not other surfaces
Can create haze on nearby stone or tile surfaces if not applied carefully
Applying grout sealant can be a tricky process, depending on the method of application. Canned or bottled sealers require extra time and attention, along with a tool, sponge, or rag, to create a solid, even layer. Spray-on sealers are a great alternative, since it is easier and faster to get a level and complete finish over the grout and other surfaces.
The Miracle Sealants 15-ounce spray bottle uses a consistent pressure spray for equal coverage on the surface. The formula can be applied to grout, concrete, brick, and other natural stones (should you want to have a single protective layer over the surface as well). For floors, you can use the spray inside and out, since it will resist the common moisture levels found in outdoor environments. The product resists stains and damage from oil and moisture, and it doesn't change the appearance or color of the underlying grout.
Price at time of publish: $14 per 15-ounce spray can
Application Method: Spray | Water/Solvent Base: Solvent | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: No
Miracle Sealants Grout Sealer
Easy to apply
Only for small areas
Some complaints about difficulty squeezing sealer out of the tube
Tube grout sealers allow for precise control over the sealant as you work without need of a brush or rag. But since tubes usually don't contain a whole lot of product, they are best used for small projects or for touching up damaged spots. If you have grout, it's smart to keep a tube of sealant, like the Miracle Sealants Grout Sealer, on hand for spot repairs when needed. This helps to keep the grout intact over time.
The brush-topped tube contains 6 ounces of sealant, which should last a long time for the occasional touch-up or repair. Once fully dried, the sealer will resist mildew and stain buildup, making cleanup in bathrooms and kitchens easier and safer. The sealant also provides stain protection on tiles. It's a quick and easy way to tackle grout maintenance.
Price at time of publish: $9 per 6-ounce container
Application Method: Tube with attached brush | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: No
Best for Kitchen Counters
Black Diamond Stoneworks Granite Sealer
Suited to most types of stone
Safe for use in food-prep areas
Some complaints about haze on granite
A few complaints that directions are not clearly written
Sealant formulas vary, depending on the brand and manufacturer. Some formulas are specifically for grout and nothing else. But if you want to seal grout on a large stone surface, such as a granite countertop or marble floor, a multipurpose sealant like the Black Diamond Granite Sealer may be a good alternative. It's quick and easy to apply and dries within just a few hours.
The spray-on sealer is water-based and non-corrosive, making it safe for granite, concrete, and most stone surfaces in addition to grout. The effective formula repels even tough stains from wine, oil, ink, and coffee, making it a great choice for kitchen counters and other dining surfaces. It's available in pint and quart spray bottles, as well as gallon jugs.
Price at time of publish: $25 per pint
Application Method: Spray | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Best Protection Against Oil Stains
StoneTech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer
Suitable for use on both sanded and unsanded grout
Effectively resists oils, stains, and moisture
Few complaints about darkening of grout
Whether it's spills of cooking oil in the kitchen, suntan oil around the swimming pool, or skincare products in the bathroom, oils can quickly create discoloration or stains on grout that are very hard to remove. StoneTech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer is a multipurpose sealant formula designed for both sanded and unsanded grout used with natural stone, porcelain, and ceramic tile. It’s formulated to provide the utmost protection against both water-based and oil-based stains, maintaining the good looks of your countertops, floors, or shower surrounds, and warding off ugly black spots, mildew growth, and other imperfections for months at a time.
For the most effective protection, apply this sealer with a paint brush or paint pad rather than a rag or sponge. You'll get a thicker layer of sealer that way. Let the sealer dry completely before adding the second coat. If using the sealer in an area with heavy moisture or exposure to oils. consider adding a third coat; it's worth it to keep your grout clean and attractive.
Price at time of publish: $56 per gallon
Application Method: Paint brush or paint pad | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: No
Best for Floors
Clean EEZ Stone & Grout Sealer
Keep your tile or natural stone floors looking their best with a grout sealer that locks out stains and discoloration from moisture and oils. Clean EEZ Stone & Grout Sealer is a water-based product that penetrates deeply into grout, ceramic tile, and natural stone for long-lasting, effective protection. It won't change the color or look of your tile or grout, and doesn't feel slippery underfoot. It's safe for use around children and pets, and it doesn't have a strong odor during application.
For best results, apply the sealer with a paint brush or cloth to dry grout and tile. Let it sit for at least five minutes to penetrate into the grout, and then wipe away excess. Apply a second coat and let it dry for 24 hours for full protection against moisture and other potential staining substances. While an exceptional sealer for grout on floors, you can, of course, also use it to seal grout on countertops, backsplashes, and walls.
Price at time of publish: $37 per quart
Application Method: Brush or rag | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Best for New Grout
Advanced Sealers & Cleaners Ultimate Fast Grout Seal
Generally, grout has to be fully cured before you can apply sealer. That usually means waiting at least 48 hours, more often 72 hours, before applying the grout sealer and finishing your project. But with Advanced Sealers & Cleaners Ultimate Fast Grout Seal, there's no need to wait. You can spray this effective grout sealer right onto newly installed, damp grout without any change in grout color. The sealer dries very quickly, leaving the grout protected against water and oil stains. It also helps protect against grout color fading as the grout dries.
Of course, you can also use this easy-to-apply, fast-drying grout sealer spray on existing grout. It won't change the appearance or leave haze on the surrounding tile, whether that's natural stone, ceramic or porcelain tile, or masonry. As a bonus, the product sprays on without much over-spray and requires very little cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $16 per 15-ounce spray can
Application Method: Spray | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: Yes
Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold takes our top spot thanks to its no-sheen, natural appearance, suitability for use over many types of natural stone and tile as well as grout, and superior protection against moisture and staining. But if price is a major concern, turn instead to Black Diamond Grout Sealer. This product is only for sealing grout—it won’t help protect your tile or stone surfaces—but it’s easy to use and does protect white or colored grout from moisture and oil.
What to Look for in a Grout Sealer
Grout sealer is available in spray-on formulas, ready-to-apply tubes, or larger quart and gallon size containers that require brush, rag, or sponge application. Take your pick of how you’d like to apply a sealant to your grout, keeping in mind the square footage you need to cover. While a tube of grout sealer is convenient, it probably isn’t a practical choice for larger jobs. Spray-on formulas help achieve a consistent, even layer of sealant over the surface, but gallon-size containers will offer the most bang for your buck.
Water vs. Solvent Based
Most grout sealers today are water-based formulas, but there are also solvent-based products. Water-based grout sealers offer more surface-level protection and won’t penetrate as deeply into porous grout, but they also don’t produce as many odors or VOCs as some solvent-based formulas. For deep protection of your grout, however, a solvent-based impregnator-sealer is the best bet, since it’ll fill spaces and protect your grout from deep within.
While some grout sealers are intended for grout only, other formulas can be used on ceramic or porcelain tile, cement, granite, marble, and other types of natural stone. Look for a non-corrosive formula to ensure that it won’t damage your treated surface. And if you plan to use it on a food-prep or dining surface, like kitchen counters or a bar top, then look for a product that's labeled as safe for contact with food.
How do you apply grout sealer?
While applying grout sealer isn’t difficult, it can be a bit tedious if you have a large area to cover. Still, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours at most to finish the task. Always read the specific product application directions before applying sealer, but as a general guideline this is how the job is done.
- If the grout is new, wait at least 48 hours—72 is better—before applying grout sealer. This gives the fresh grout enough time to dry completely. Otherwise, you could get cloudy or bubbled results.
- If sealing old grout, be sure it’s as clean as possible before resealing it. Otherwise, you’ll trap dirt and stains beneath the sealer.
- Apply painter’s tape to block off and protect any trim, such as baseboards, that you don’t want to wet with the grout sealer.
- Choose your appropriate application tools. If applying the sealer to a large tiled floor, and using a product safe for use on tile as well as grout, it’s fastest to apply the sealer with a sponge mop. But for most jobs, you’ll do best with a small paint brush, sponge, or roller. Some products come in applicator bottles with a roller top built right in; this is especially handy for thin grout lines. Aerosol products spray on directly.
- Wet your applicator with the grout sealer, and begin wiping the liquid into the grout lines. If you are sealing both horizontal and vertical surfaces, start with the vertical tile.
- Apply enough grout sealer to soak the grout. Work slowly and methodically to ensure you evenly coat all grout surfaces.
- Wipe excess sealer off the tiles, unless you are using a product meant to seal both grout and tile.
- Let the sealer dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer. This is typically anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
- Apply a second coat of grout sealer, following the same general guidelines.
- If the sealer leaves any hazy or white splotches on the tile, dampen a clean cloth with a bit of the grout sealer, and wipe the area until the blotch is gone. Now wipe the tile with a clean, dry cloth to remove any lingering residue.
- Once the grout sealer is completely dry, flick a couple of drops of water onto the sealed surface. If it’s properly sealed, the water should ball into droplets. If the water soaks in, however, the grout isn’t completely sealed, and you’ll need to apply another coat of sealer.
Do all types of grout require sealing?
Not all types of grout need to be sealed. Synthetic-based grouts, such as epoxy or urethane grouts, do not require regular sealing. However, if you want to keep your cement-based grout—the most common type—reasonably free of dirt, stains, and mold spots, you’ll need to apply a grout sealer on a regular basis.
How often does grout need to be sealed?
Sealing grout isn’t a one-and-done task. As a general rule, you should reseal grout that isn’t often wet—such as walls, floors, and fireplace surrounds—once per year. But for best results, you should plan on resealing grout twice per year in areas that often get wet, such as inside a shower or tub, on a kitchen counter, or behind a kitchen or bathroom sink.
How long does it take for grout sealer to dry?
While the specifics can vary, as a general rule, grout sealer is dry enough to walk on within two or three hours of application. However, it can take up to 48 hours for the sealer to cure completely, so wait a couple of days before allowing heavy traffic on your newly sealed tile floor, taking a shower or bath in a freshly sealed tub, or putting your just-sealed countertops to heavy use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs.
For this roundup, she considered dozens of grout sealers, evaluating each for effectiveness, ease of use, and feedback from customers, both positive and negative. She also received advice from Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.