Under 2 hours
Grout fills in the spaces between tiles in your bath or kitchen, but beyond its functionality, it serves as a frame to highlight the beauty of the tile. However, because it forms a slight depression around the tiles, mold, mildew and dirt can collect in grout. Learn how to clean grout effectively to help make your tile walls or floors look almost new again.
Apply Grout Cleaner
- Wear gloves to protect your hands when cleaning grout and tile.
- Clean grout with a commercial grout and tile cleaner. Apply it to the dirty areas of the grout following the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you prefer cleaning grout with a DIY mixture, make a paste of 3/4-cup baking soda, 1/4-cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap. Apply the paste to the grout with a grout brush and scrub the grout. Grout brushes have compact heads and dense, firm bristles to help loosen the grime that builds up in the grooves.
- Do not use acidic cleaners as they may dissolve or pit the grout. Do not use waxy or oil-based cleaners as these can leave a film that will attract dirt and make future cleaning more difficult.
- Chlorine bleach may be used on white grout but will leach color out of tinted grout. Oxygen bleach is a better choice for preserving colored grout between tiles.
Scrub and Rinse Grout
How to Clean Grout with Stubborn Stains
Give old or stubborn stains extra attention.
- For stains that regular cleaning can't remove, thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons of oxygenated bleach into 2 cups of warm water. Test the solution on a hidden area of grout to be sure it won’t discolor.
- Pour the solution over a small area of stained grout lines. It's best to work in small sections and make more solution as needed.
- Allow the cleaner to sit for up to 15 minutes to give the ingredients time to work, then scrub and rinse until all the cleaner is removed. Use firm pressure and make several passes over each grout line.
- Assemble and load the steam cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use only water. Do not add additional chemicals or cleaning solutions to the cleaner’s water tank.
- Once the machine has heated up, turn on the steam function and apply the cleaning brush to the dirty areas of grout.
- Use a rag or mop to thoroughly dry up the residual water after steam cleaning.
- Steam cleaning can remove grout sealant along with dirt and mildew. After the tile has completely dried, apply grout sealer to protect the surface and prevent future stains.
Prevent Buildup on Grout
Clean grout regularly to prevent buildup of dirt and mold or mildew. Each week, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe down the dirty grout and tiles. This kills mold and mildew spores and help keeps the tile and grout clean.
DIY Grout Cleaner
Make your own grout cleaner. Most, if not all, of the ingredients you’ll probably find right in your cabinets. Here’s a few DIY grout cleaners you can try:
- Make a spreadable paste with 3/4 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap. Add more baking soda or peroxide if the mixture is too runny or thick.
- Put about two teaspoons of cream of tartar in a bowl. Add enough lemon juice to make a thick paste. Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray the grout first before applying paste.
- Mix equal amounts of plain water and baking soda to form a paste. Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray the grout first before applying this paste.
Once you’ve made your DIY grout cleaner paste, apply it to your grout. For best results, wait a few minutes before scrubbing with a grout brush or old toothbrush. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.
Keeping your grout free of stains and mildew is an important part of taking care of your tile. There are several ways to clean grout, and you can even make your own DIY grout cleaner. Now that you know how to clean your grout, make sure to maintain the look with regular cleaning. Anytime the stains are highly resistant to cleaning, use a portable steam cleaner. If you don't own one, you can a rent a portable steam cleaner from The Home Depot.