Grout lines are magnets for dirt and grime, and dingy grout can detract from the good looks of pretty tile. Eliminate dirty grout for good with these tips for cleaning and removing stains.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated May 13, 2020
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Grout is porous, making it tricky to keep clean. And because the grout lines between tile are often slightly deeper than the surface, simply wiping down your tiled surface often isn't enough for tough stains or grime. On tile floors, crumbs, dirt, and other debris can be left behind along the grout lines, even after sweeping. Luckily, you can clean dirty grout using a few common household products and minimal scrubbing. These methods for how to clean grout, including tips for reducing grime over time, work for floors, showers, kitchen backsplashes, and other tiled areas. With just a little time and effort, your grout can look as good as new.

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How to Clean Grout

Follow our simple step-by-step instructions for cleaning grout with natural ingredients.

What You Need

  • Wet cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Water, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide
  • Mixing bowl
  • Grout brush or old toothbrush
  • Grout sealer

Step 1: Prep the Grout Area

Begin by wiping down the tile with a damp cloth. Remove any visible dust, dirt, or general grime. If there is any buildup or stains, take the time to clean those, too.

Step 2: Mix Cleaning Solution

The best solution for cleaning grout depends on the state of your tile grout. To remove everyday dirt and debris, mix two parts baking soda with one part water. For stained or discolored grout, mix two parts baking soda with one part vinegar. And if you have coarse or fragile tiles, mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide. If desired, you can also use a commercial grout cleaner.

Step 3: Apply Grout Cleaning Solution

Use a grout brush or old toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout lines. If you're using the vinegar solution, apply a small amount of paste to an inconspicuous area to make sure the acidic vinegar doesn't stain the tile.

Step 4: Scrub and Seal Grout

Let the paste sit on the grout for a few minutes, then scrub all of the grout lines. Rinse clean with water. Let the grout dry for 24 hours, then apply a sealer to preserve your hard work.

Editor's Tip: To get twice the scrubbing power, use an old electric toothbrush to apply the grout.

More Grout-Cleaning Tips and Tricks

For lightly stained grout: To clean stained grout, you can also use a strong bleach solution (3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water) and scrub with a small brush or toothbrush. Don't scrub too hard, though, or you risk damaging the grout. Wear safety goggles to prevent the bleach from splattering in your eyes, and keep the work area ventilated. Alternatively, try a foaming grout cleaner, which might need to soak for several minutes to be effective.

For deeply stained grout: If grout is deeply stained and discolored, replace it. Tile stores sell and sometimes rent tools for removing grout. Run the tool along the grout, taking care not to scratch the surrounding tile. Clean the space between the tiles with a strong bleach solution, then apply new grout and seal it. Do not spill bleach on porcelain because the solution might cause pitting or yellow or pink stains.

For new tile and grout: Because grout is so porous and prone to collecting grime, start your grout-cleaning regimen with prevention. If you recently installed new grout or renewed existing grout in a tile floor, keep that new grout looking its best by using a grout sealer 10-14 days after the grout cures.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
August 16, 2018
Helpful Tip, thank you.
Anonymous
August 15, 2018
Simple Green and an old tooth brush. Works great!