How to Clean Grout the Easy Way

Give new life to gross tile with this simple grout cleaner.

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Dirty grout is often the one thing standing between dingy-looking tile and tile that really pops. Knowing how to clean grout—especially white grout—is essential for floors, walls, and counters that look sparkly clean. While tile is resistant to dirt and stains, the grout lines between the tiles are porous, meaning they will absorb any grease, grime, or spills they come into contact with.

To buff away the stains without harming delicate tiles and finishes, try this at-home grout cleaner made from supplies you likely already have on hand. Learning how to clean grout will not only extend the life of your tile, but it will keep it looking its best. This is the best method for cleaning grout lines in any spot in your home, whether in the bathroom, in the shower, or on tile floors.

Considerations Before You Get Started

As with any cleaning project, begin with the mildest cleaning solution, such as a homemade, all-natural one. Highly caustic or acidic cleaners, like bleach or vinegar, will corrode and slowly destroy grout and tile finishes. You might be surprised how clean you can get your grout with just some hot water and a brush. With that said, if the grout is deeply stained, there are other effective grout cleaning methods to try.

How Often to Clean Grout

Shower Grout

The grout in your shower needs the most frequent cleaning since the constant moisture can lead to mildew and water damage. Run a squeegee over the tile after every shower to remove excess water. This daily maintenance will help prevent mold and soap scum buildup, making the shower tile look fresh and clean.

Then spray the tile with a daily shower cleaner. Or make your own natural shower cleaner by mixing ¼ cup baking soda with 1 cup water and putting it in a spray bottle for daily spritzing. In addition to this daily maintenance, give your shower grout a deep clean using the method below every one to two weeks.

Floor Tile Grout

In an area that's less prone to getting wet every day, like a tile floor or kitchen backsplash, stick to weekly or biweekly cleaning.

What You Need:

How to Clean Grout With Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Step 1: Prep the Area

  • Spray the grout with hot water and scrub with a stiff bristle brush (an old toothbrush is perfect for this) to remove any dirt or grime on the surface.
  • Follow the grout line as you spray and scrub in a circular motion. If you have one on hand, you can also use a steam cleaner, which is very efficient at cleaning grout.

Step 2: Mix the Cleaning Solution

Make a grout cleaner paste of two parts baking soda to one part hydrogen peroxide. If you're working in an area where grout is exposed to grease (like in the kitchen), add a few drops of dish soap.

Step 3: Apply the Solution

Spoon the homemade grout cleaner onto the grout lines and allow it to sit for around 10 to 15 minutes. Giving the cleaner time to work into the pores will result in cleaner and brighter-looking grout.

Step 4: Start Scrubbing

Using a brush, scrub the grout lines to lift up any dirt trapped in the pores. You should see the grout beginning to return to its original color.

Step 5: Rinse the Tile

After scrubbing, mix a few drops of dish detergent with hot water and use a sponge or cloth to rinse the tile and wipe up the remaining grout cleaner.

Step 6: Seal the Grout

The best way to preserve all of your hard work is by applying a grout sealer. Sealers fill the pores of the grout, keeping dirt and grime out. Before applying the sealer, wait at least 24 hours to make sure the grout is completely dry.

How often your grout needs to be resealed will depend both on the sealer you choose and how much traffic the area gets. If your grout lines are clean but still stained, consider tracing over them with a grout pen.

When You Need to Change Grout

If your grout is breaking apart or flaking off, it's time for new grout. Water damage is a real possibility when the space between your tiles is unprotected. You can call a professional to do it for you, but replacing grout is a home repair that you can DIY fairly easily.

To get started, measure the space between your tiles, which will help dictate which type of grout to buy. Remove the flaking grout with a grout saw and run a wet rag along the joints. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the grout and fill the space completely. Finally, remove the excess with a rag.

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