You can prevent the huge headache that comes from not sealing grout in a shower by doing that very thing as soon as the grout in your newly installed shower tile has dried. In addition, wiping down the walls and glass of your shower each and every time you use it will also prevent the mold, mildew, and mineral deposits everyone dislikes so much from forming.
Portland cement gets used with natural stone such as marble tile shower designs, as well as for glazed ceramic tile grouting. In both instances, cleaning it can be a chore. Experts recommend using a high-quality alkaline cleaner and/or stripper to remove mineral deposits, soap scum, and, of course, the nasty-looking mold and mildew that has built up after repeated use.
Never use vinegar– which has been recommended by some installers of natural stone tile- to clean any kind of tile (or grout) other than vinyl (which you probably won’t find in a shower anyway; it’s only used for flooring). Vinegar, an acid, can etch and pit your high-priced, beautiful tile and also erode the grout, making re-grouting sometime in the near future a much bigger job than if you’d maintained the tile and grouting appropriately in the first place.
The only difference between protecting grout in marble tile shower designs and other natural-tile showers, and that of ceramic tile grouting is in how you apply the sealer. With ceramic tile, spilling or splashing the sealer on it will not harm it because the tile is glazed. The sealer cannot penetrate glazed tile. On natural tile, however, you want to wipe up any excess sealer immediately because sealer can discolor marble tile shower designs and other natural tiles.
When choosing sealers, keep in mind that mineral-based sealers give off a powerful, unpleasant odor that takes days to go away even with a thorough airing. Professionals advise using a latex- or acrylic-based sealer to avoid this and to also speed up the drying process. Sealers must be applied every year or so to keep up their protective qualities.
So, in a nutshell, to keep your grout looking clean and new, apply sealer and wipe down your shower surfaces after use. It’s an old truism, but an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.