The Easiest Way To Clean Your Floor Grout

Plus a handful of bonus tips—no scrubbing necessary!

Grout is literally the glue that holds your house together. Well, at least the tiled portion of your home. From the backsplash in your kitchen to your shower walls—and in this case, your floors—grout is an essential part of bonding tiles together and preventing loose dirt from becoming wedged between them.

Without proper maintenance, grout can get really dirty. Like, really dirty. We’re talking mildewy, stained and sometimes it can even crack. Cracked grout can cause problems like water leakage and more major issues, like warping or long-term damage to your subfloor.

Cleaning your grout is like flossing your teeth: sure, you brush twice a day, but if you’re not getting the bits in between your teeth clean, you’ll be sorry in the long run.

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We’ve compiled a simple, straightforward guide for how to best clean your floor grout using some of our favorite store-bought cleaning products—plus a handful of bonus DIY solutions using pantry items.

What is grout, anyway?

  • Grout is a filler for the joints between your tiles.
  • Grout strengthens your tiles, gives a crisp finish and helps keep dirt from getting stuck too far between tiles.
  • There are three types of grout:
    • Sanded grout is a traditional cement grout that has 1/8” or larger grit to it, used for wider grout joints.
    • Unsanded grout is a traditional cement grout with less than 1/8” grit, typically used for tile applications with narrower grout joints.
    • Epoxy grout is quickly becoming the new standard grout because of its many (literal) strengths, such as (lack of) water absorption and resistance to chemicals. Epoxy ground absorbs about 50x less water than cement grouts and has double the strength and an impressive chemical resistance, making it appropriate for tougher environments.

Tools for cleaning floor grout

  • Stiff bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Multipurpose cleaner
  • Dish soap, such as Dawn
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

How to clean floor grout

Clean the tile

  • Sweep or dry mop your floor to remove any loose dirt and debris from your workspace.
  • Vacuum to remove any remaining or stubborn particles.
  • It couldn’t hurt to run a wet mop over your floor, just be sure it’s as clean as possible. After all, you’re about to get real up close and personal with it. You’re really doing yourself a favor.
  • Clean the tiles with your favorite multipurpose cleaner or a simple mixture of a gentle dish soap, like Dawn, and hot water. Wipe tiles off thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove any soapy residue.

Clean the floor grout

  • Make a simple baking soda paste, using 3:1 baking soda to water ratio.
  • Apply baking soda paste into the grout, rubbing it into the cracks with a bristle brush or an old toothbrush. You don’t have to scrub the paste into the grout when applying it. Baking soda’s mildly abrasive qualities should lift the grime out of your porous grout, so it’ll be easy to simply wipe away.
  • Let the paste sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Wipe off baking soda paste with a clean, damp rag.
  • If your grout is discolored, rinse it off with hydrogen peroxide. You can either apply peroxide to a rag and wipe or soak a cotton swab in peroxide and really work it into the grout’s crevices. Peroxide is more gentle than bleach, but still a super effective cleaning agent.

Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for tough, stubborn (and mysterious!) stains

  • Run your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser under warm water, and give it a good squeeze to wring it out to activate its internal cleaning agents.
  • Using the Magic Eraser, rub your stained grout until the grime magically erases away.

DIY solutions for cleaning floor grout

There are lots of additional options for cleaning your floor grout and restoring it to its natural color. Depending what you’ve got in your cabinets (or fruit bowl), choose which method is most convenient for you. They’re all proven to be very effective, and might even freshen up the room’s odor—or neutralize it completely.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of our favorite miracle agents.

  • Fill a spray bottle with equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water. Give it a good shake, and then spray it directly onto the grout.
  • Let the vinegar solution sit for 5–10 minutes.
  • Once it’s absorbed, give your grout a gentle scrub with your brush or toothbrush.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe all the moisture or residue up.

Lemon juice

Not only a good source of vitamin C, this citrus fruit’s acidic qualities make it excellent for cleaning—plus, it smells fantastic.

  • Saturate your floor grout with lemon juice, which will eliminate grout stains naturally. You can either apply it with a spray bottle, dip a rag in the lemon juice and wipe onto the grout, or simply cut a lemon in half and rub the flesh side directly onto the grout lines.
  • Let the lemon juice sit for 5–10 minutes.
  • Once it’s absorbed, give your grout a gentle scrub with your brush or toothbrush.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe all the moisture or residue up.

Toothpaste

Remember that analogy we made earlier about flossing? What we really meant is use toothpaste. Especially toothpaste with a whitening agent in it (hint: it’s usually baking soda or peroxide, or both!). And your floors will smell minty fresh. Note: make sure the toothpaste is white to begin with—or you may end up staining your grout blue.

  • Apply toothpaste to grout lines with an old toothbrush.
  • Let the toothpaste for 5–10 minutes.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe the toothpaste off.
  • Scrub grout gently with clean, warm water to remove all remaining residue.

Maintaining your tiles and grout

  • We know it’s asking a lot, but everyday floor cleaning goes a long way. Even if it’s just a dry mop followed with a quick rinse with a Swiffer WetJet, your floors will live longer, happy lives. No mop bucket required! And you can just throw away the mop pads when you’re done.
    • Especially if you’ve got pets and children, who tend to wreak havoc on floors (spills, dander, dirt, urine, etc.), you should hit tile floors and grout lines with a once-over routinely to keep them in good shape.
  • Weekly deep cleanings keep grout looking fresh and help prevent mildew growth or bacteria buildup.
  • Know when it’s time to change or update the grout, and call a professional. If your grout appears to be permanently stained, badly cracked or crumbly, it might be time for an upgrade.

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