How to Clean Grout

  • September 15, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Wet Tiles

If you wondered what is the secret to clean and sparkling tiles on floors, counters and walls, well, the answer is very simple. Clean the grout. Dirty grout is what makes tiles look dirty and dingy. Tiles generally resist dirt, grime and stains and are easy to clean, but what about grout? Grout is light colored and porous and is prone to absorbing dirt, grease and spills and so it gets dirty and stained very easily.

Wet Tiles

Typically, dirt and grime are the main causes of stained and dirty grout in a tiled entry; in bathrooms, mold and mildew are the main culprits and, in the kitchen, spills are the key cause of dirty grout. Keeping the grout clean is vital for floors, counters and walls so that they look sparkling clean.

Grout is basically the porous material used by builders to fill in the spaces or cracks in between the tiles. Grout helps to create a smooth and solid wall, floor, counter and backsplash. Cement grout is the most common kind of grout used, which is made by mixing cement and water. Sometimes, sand is added to this mixture.

Understanding how to clean grout not only can help to extend the life of the tiles in your home but it will keep it looking beautiful and appealing. So, the important question is, how to clean grout? Well, cleaning grout is extremely simple and you can clean the grout and restore it by making use of common products that you have in your home and a little bit of effort. Here are some steps for how you can clean the grout in any part of your home.

Shower Stall

How to Clean Grout

Before You Begin

When you are starting out on your grout cleaning project, remember to start off with the mildest cleaning product. Cleaners containing acid or highly caustic cleaners such as vinegar or bleach will not only corrode and destroy the grout, it will also erode the tile finish and cause them to lose their shine.

Sometimes, just using a brush and some hot water can do the trick and you can get your grout all cleaned up. However, if the grout is very dirty and stained, then there are many other cleaning solutions that are quite effective. However, if you’re not really sure about a grout cleaner, then it is a good idea to test it out in a hidden spot such as behind the toilet or under a kitchen appliance, etc.

Things You Require

  • Stiff bristle brush or a toothbrush
  • Soap
  • Cleaning solution

Here, we have listed the methods of how to clean grout from the mildest to the strongest.

Hot Water and Brush

Start by spraying hot water on the grout and scrub it with a stiff bristle brush (you can also use an old toothbrush) to remove any dirt from the surface. Scrub with the brush in a circular motion along the grout line as you spray the water. Let the area dry.

Cleaning the Sink

Vinegar and Warm Water

Vinegar is a great cleaning solution for heavy dirt and mild stains. In a spray bottle, fill half-and-half parts of warm water and vinegar. Shake the bottle and let the vinegar and water mix well. Spray the solution on the grout and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then scrub using a stiff brush.

Baking Powder, Water, and Vinegar

If the grout is very dirty and grimy, you may want to add more power to your cleaning solution. Add some water to baking soda and make a paste. Cover the baking soda paste on the grout lines and spray the vinegar solution as prepared above. When the mixture stops foaming, scrub the grout with a brush and then rinse with plain water.

Hydrogen Peroxide

If the grout is moderately stained, then you may have to use hydrogen peroxide, which you can buy from any drug store. You can use the hydrogen peroxide straight on the grout.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

You can make a paste with 1-part hydrogen peroxide and 2-parts baking soda and apply it on the grout. If the portion of grout that you’re cleaning is exposed to oil and grease, then to the above mixture, you can add a few drops of dish cleaning liquid.

Baking Soda

Oxygen Bleach

For grout that is really grimy and heavily stained, you can make use of oxygen bleach to clean the grout. This is usually available in a powdered form and some of the popular brands of oxygen bleach are Clorox OxiMagic, Oxiclean and Biocleen Oxygen Bleach Plus. Whichever brand you decide to use, ensure that the area you are cleaning is well ventilated.

Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow the directions closely. Apply the bleach solution to the grout for around 10-15 minutes and let it work. Rinse the grout using clean water so that the dirt and grime do not settle back into the grout lines.

Chlorine Bleach

In extreme cases of dirty and stained grout where none of the above cleaning solutions are effective in cleaning the grout, you can use chlorine bleach or commercial cleaners that contain chlorine to clean the grout.

However, these must be used very sparingly and carefully. And, you must take care to rinse off all the previous attempts to clean the grout, especially vinegar, before you use chlorine bleach or cleaning products that contain chlorine because when the bleach mixes with even traces of vinegar, it will produce chlorine gas, which is highly toxic.

The regular use of caustic cleaning solutions like chlorine bleach is not recommended because the long-term use of these can erode the grout.


You can use steam cleaning to remove the worst dirt and stains from the grout. Steam cleaning is not only very effective, but it is also an environmentally-friendly process of cleaning grout. In fact, steam cleaning is the best method of cleaning any hard surface in your home. There are many brands of steam cleaners available on the market for household use.

Rinse with Water

Once you finish cleaning the grout using any of the above methods, mix in a few drops of mild dish soap with some hot water and using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe off the cleaning solution from the grout. Then rinse the grout and tiles well with clean water.

Small Kitchen

Keeping the Grout Clean

Applying grout sealer to the grout after cleaning it is the best way to maintain all your hard work. The sealer helps to fill the grout pores and helps in keeping the dirt, dust and grime out. However, wait for at least 24 hours and ensure that the grout is completely dry before you apply the sealer. The frequency for resealing the grout will depend on how much traffic there is in the specific area and the type of sealer you use.

You can keep the grout clean and free of stains by spraying it with vinegar and wiping it every week. Wiping the grout with some alcohol can help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Running a sponge or squeegee over the tiles after each shower you take can help to prevent the build-up of soap scum and mold and makes the shower tiles look clean and fresh. Just a little bit of maintenance can go a long way in saving you the time and effort and keeping your home looking clean, shiny and attractive.