How to Clean Grout with 9 Easy Tricks
Do it all using ingredients you already have on hand
Tile is beautiful, sure, but it has a widely known dark side: grout. And we use “dark side” literally here, as in discolored and gross from grime and dirt getting trapped deep within its layers.
Much like cleaning behind the toilet, cleaning grout often feels like a job you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. And yet that dirty grime and dirt sandwiched between your tiles eventually gets embarrassing enough that you commit to getting rid of it whatever it takes.
At least scrubbing the grout is more fun than unclogging your shower head or changing your dishwasher filter? Well, maybe.
We get it. We’ve spent so much time confronting dirty grout, we’ve compiled 9 tricks to do it faster and more simply than most people realize can be done. So, without further ado, let’s get at your grout so you can get on with your day.
9 tricks for cleaning grout
- Tackle Your Grout With The Right Brush Your first course of action should be using the mildest cleaning method you can. Why break out the harsher stuff when the real hack is the kind of brush you’re using? Head on down to your nearest hardware store and buy a brush that’s designed specifically for cleaning grout, made of stiff bristles and nylon. (It’s a total time saver that your future self will thank you for.) Once procured, all you need is some water.
Dunk your brush in a bowl of water and give your grout a good scrub. Note: if you find that water’s just not cutting it, you can move on to the more aggressive methods below. Even if you do, scrubbing your grout with a good brush and water is a good first step for any of the methods listed here, since it helps prep the area by removing the first layer of scum.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Run your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (this one’s made specifically to fight bathroom grime) underwater then remove any excess water by giving it a few squeezes. You’ll notice that the product starts to foam and release a pleasant scent—that’s how you know the cleaning agents inside are being activated. Give your grout a few swipes and watch the dirt and grime magically erase away.
- Try Vinegar and Warm Water For A DIY Solution
Vinegar is a miracle ingredient for cleaning things around your home. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water. Give it a good shake and then spray the grout. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Once it’s absorbed, give your grout a scrub down with your brush. A stiff toothbrush is also a great option. Use a damp cloth to wipe all the moisture up. If your tile is on the floor, use a Swiffer Sweeper Dry to trap and lock dust, dirt, and rogue hairs for a final clean.
- Add Some Baking Soda For Extra Cleaning Power
Make a paste of water and baking soda by combining both ingredients in a bowl. Separately, make the mixture described in Method 3 (above) by combining equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, and mixing.
Use a brush to apply the baking soda mixture to your grout lines. Then, spray the baking soda mixture with your vinegar solution. When the grout stops foaming, scrub with a grout brush or toothbrush. Finish by rinsing with plain water.
Make Your Own Grout Cleaning Paste
This method begins with making a paste using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. The portions of each ingredient can vary, depending on how thick you want the mixture to be. (We like a nice, thick option, almost like toothpaste.) Start by pouring a few tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl, then pour over the hydrogen peroxide until you get to your desired consistency. Spread the paste out onto the grout with a brush and let it sit for ten minutes. Use a toothbrush (consider an electric toothbrush for speed!) to scrub the coated areas and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Bleach Your Grout Without The Smell
Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is gentle and doesn’t have that strong, chemical odor. Make a paste by combining 2 parts powdered bleach and one part water in a bowl. Once you’ve achieved the consistency of toothpaste, apply the mixture to your grout lines. Let it sit there for 15 - 20 minutes, then use a brush to scrub vigorously. To finish, wipe the area clean with a damp cloth and do a final mop-up using a high-quality mop, like a Swiffer Wet Jet.
A Special Mix To Clean White Grout
If you have white grout, a household chlorine bleach will do the trick and it’s pretty simple. One important word of warning, you need to wear protective gear for this method because chlorine bleach can be caustic to your skin and will ruin your clothes. We recommend safety glasses, rubber gloves, and old clothes. We also recommend opening a window to ventilate the area. When you’re prepped, simply dunk your grout brush into your container of bleach, apply it to the grout lines and scrub. Rinse the area thoroughly and dry with a towel.
A DIY Cleaning Triple Threat
One DIY grout cleaning trick we love is to combine the power of three different cleaners in one. More specifically, this recipe is one part baking soda, one part hydrogen peroxide, and a few squirts of dish soap. Mix everything in a bowl and apply it to your grout, waiting ten minutes before you start scrubbing with a grout brush. Rinse with water when you’re finished and then wipe dry with a towel.
Steam Out The Worst Grout Stains
For really difficult grout stains, turn to a steam mop. It’s not only an environmentally-friendly method, heat does a great job of releasing problem grime and mildew. Using this technique is even more effective when you keep up a regular cleaning schedule throughout the week. We recommend spraying your grout with vinegar and giving it a wipe down about once a week.
We know cleaning grout isn’t at the top of your fun-things-to-do list, but once you’re done you’ll be super satisfied with how clean your tile looks. Honestly, it’s like giving your backsplash, bathroom shower or floors a complete makeover. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to clean the rest of your bathroom. And we’re here for that every time.