How To Clean Floor Tile Grout: The Best Ways

Almost all homeowners opt for tiling their houses as they are timeless, durable, and easy to clean. But when it comes to cleaning grout, things are pretty different. Grout is highly porous. It can absorb grime, dirt, grease, oils, soap scum, mould and anything else that comes into contact with it. And the truth is you have to deal with different kinds of dirt, depending on the room the grout lines are. (mud stains in the hallway, mildew in the bathroom, splatters in the kitchen).

man wearing orange rubber gloves cleans tile grout with a brush

To tackle dirty grout, you need a couple of good allies to stand by your side: a brush with stiff bristles and a grout cleaner. Hence, you don’t have to spend a fortune buying exaggerated cleaning products. You can face dirty grout with an old toothbrush instead of a grout brush and make your homemade grout cleaner with ingredients you already have on hand, and you use them daily for different purposes. Fortunately, many DIY cleaning solutions will help you clean tile grout. And along with a bit of elbow grease from your side and our cleaning tips, you’ll manage to clean it. 

How often should you clean the grout?

There isn’t a standard frequency for cleaning the grout. It would be best to clean it whenever it becomes dirty or discoloured with mould or mildew. How often you will do it depends on where the tiles are located. Bathroom tiles and shower walls need to be cleaned more often due to the moisture they’re subjected to than the living room. 

You should generally clean grout whenever you notice discolouration or other grout stains to prevent build up. Also, it would help if you’ve applied a grout sealer when you first installed the tiles. But you can still use a sealer afterwards. It’ll seal the grout and tile floors and keep dirt out. Clean the tiles very well and let them dry for at least 24 hours before applying the sealer. 

How to clean floor tile grout

There are many simple ways to clean it. One way is to do it like professionals. Or, you can use household cleaners that will do the trick as well. Let’s see a few simple ways of cleaning the tile adhesive.

A young blondie woman wearing safety glasses cleans the grout of the tiled wall using a sponge.

Using oxygen bleach

Oxygen bleach is a non-toxic bleaching agent that cleans stains and brightens clothes. It can also work wonders for many other household cleaning tasks as well, like cleaning grout. Let’s see how to use it.

Needed materials:

  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A bowl
  • Powdered oxygen bleach 
  • Lukewarm water
  • A sponge
  • A grout brush
  • A clean cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. Put on your rubber glove and mix 2 parts of powdered bleaching agent and a part of lukewarm water in the bowl. Stir until you get a paste. It should be similar in texture and composition to toothpaste
  2. Apply the paste to the grouting using a sponge. 
  3. Let the paste sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. After, scrub the paste on the grout lines with a brush. If you don’t have one, you can use a toothbrush
  5. Rinse the paste with fresh water and wipe the tiles with a clean, soft cloth.  

Note: If you want to apply a sealant, let the tiles dry overnight first. 

Using chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach is the most ordinary bleaching agent used to whiten and disinfect not only laundry but almost all surfaces. It’s stronger than oxygen, and that’s why it requires more precaution measures while using it. It’s also a traditional product to clean bathrooms and kitchen surfaces, plus an effective way to clean the grout.

Needed materials:

  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Brush
  • Water
  • A sponge
  • A clean, dry towel

Steps to follow:

  1. The first and most important step is to put on your rubber gloves and safety glasses. It is very toxic and caustic and can irritate your eyes and skin. Hence you need to be protected and take extra precautions.  What’s more, while working with the bleaching agent, you have to keep a window open or the exhaust fan to ventilate the room.
  2. Pour chlorine into a large bowl, soak the brush into the solution, and scrub the grout lines
  3. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse very well with fresh, clean water and remove every single bleaching residue with a sponge. Repeat until there’s no sign(or smell) of it.
  4. Finally, dry the tiles with a clean towel. 

Using an alkaline cleaner

Another effective way to clean grouting between tiles is by using an alkaline cleaner. It’s ultra-effective to dissolve fats, grease and oils, but it can work pretty well with all kinds of grout stains.

cleaning grout with a brush blade and foamy soap on a gray tiled bathroom floor

Needed materials:

  • A bucket
  • Alkaline cleaner
  • Water
  • A sponge
  • A small brush/ an old toothbrush
  • A cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill the bucket with water and add the recommended amount of alkaline cleaner as indicated on the package. 
  2. Apply the solution to the grout tiles with a sponge and let it sit for a while.
  3. Scrub the grouting with a brush. After a while, you’ll notice that the stains are disappearing, and the grout gets back its original colour. 
  4. Rinse the tiles with clear water and a sponge. Continue until there’s no residue of the stain remover left. 
  5. Dry the surface with a cloth.

Using a  toilet cleaner

Toilet cleaners containing sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite can remove stains and grime on grout. If you don’t want to be exposed to harsh chemicals, you can choose an eco-friendly toilet cleaner. Thus, you should give it a try!

Needed materials:

  • A toilet cleaner
  • A small brush
  • A sponge
  • A cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. Pour a small amount of the toilet cleaner on the grout and let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. Next, scrub with a brush
  3. Once you’ve scrubbed all the surfaces, rinse with a wet sponge. Keep rinsing until there’s no cleaner leftover. 
  4. Dry the tiles with a cloth. 

Note: If you’re cleaning the grout in your shower walls, make sure that no one has taken a shower within 2 hours. 

Extra tip: A helpful way to rinse the tile binder is to mop it. You’ll find that mopping is a faster rinsing way than using a sponge. Just make sure you use clean water and repeat the process several times.

Using baking Soda and water

Baking or bicarbonate of soda is the most typical cleaning agent that almost everyone uses to clean everything, from clothes and carpets to wall tiles. It’s an efficient, inexpensive and safe cleaning ingredient. That’s why we’re going to use it to also clean grout.

A jar of baking soda on a wooden surface, a handy ingredient to remove limescale from the toilet

Needed materials:

  • A bowl 
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A brush
  • A sponge
  • A cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. Mix equal parts of soda and water parts in the bowl to form a paste.  
  2. Apply the paste on the grout and let sit for a while.
  3. Scrub, then, with the brush.
  4. Wipe away the paste with a damp sponge and dry the surface with a clean, soft cloth. 

Extra tip: Instead of applying the paste on the grout, you can first dip the brush in the paste and then scrub. 

Using vinegar and water

White vinegar is also a popular household cleanser used in many cleaning tasks. Due to its acidic nature, it can clean so many things, including stained grout

Needed materials:

  • A spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • A brush
  • A sponge

Steps to follow:

  1. Mix equal amounts of vinegar and warm water in the spray bottle.
  2. Spray the vinegar solution onto the stained area and start scrubbing with the brush.
  3. Then, wipe away the solution with a damp sponge or rinse it with warm or hot water.
  4. Finally, dry the surface with a clean cloth.

Note: If you have natural stone tiles, avoid using vinegar as its acid properties may etch the stone.

Using soda and hydrogen peroxide

The bicarbonate of soda is effective enough. But if it’s combined with hydrogen peroxide, they can work miracles. Let’s see what you need:

Needed materials:

  • A bowl
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap
  • A brush
  • A sponge/ damp cloth
  • A clean, dry cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. In the bowl, mix ½ cup of soda, ¼ cup of peroxide, 1 teaspoon dish soap to form a paste.
  2. Apply the paste onto the grout and let it stay for 5-10 minutes.
  3. After the time has passed, scrub the paste with the brush. 
  4. Finally, rinse the paste away with a damp cloth or sponge and dry very well with a clean, dry cloth. 

Tips for keeping grout clean longer

Due to its location, tile grout is never thoroughly cleaned, even if you mop tile floors daily. However, there are some tips and tricks that can help you keep them clean for a bit longer.

  • Place floor mats. Place some floor mats to collect as much dirt and debris as possible, like in the hallway where you take off your shoes.
  • Seal the grout. As soon as you have cleaned the tiles and the grout, allow them to dry completely ( that might take overnight) and then apply a grout sealer
  • Wipe the grout every week with alcohol. A few spritzes can save you time and effort. 

man wearing orange rubber gloves cleans tile grout with a brush

Cleaning grout is a tedious process. It needs time to be done and a bit of elbow grease. Hopefully, it’s a task you can do without using harsh chemicals. Just a pinch of soda or a few drops of vinegar can do the job. 

Try all the cleaning solutions and keep the one that best suits your needs!

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