How to Clean Tile Grout With Household Cleaning Products

You don't have to buy anything fancy or expensive to get your grout clean.

1 / 6

What Is Tile Grout?

What is grout? Basically, it’s the stuff that fills the gaps between the tiles. There are cement and non-cement (epoxy and other materials) versions of it. Grout is not what holds the tiles to the surface, but it does help strengthen the tiles and add to the visual appeal.

It’s also there to help keep the surface clean by preventing dirt and grime from getting wedged in the gaps that would otherwise be there between the tiles without it. Of course, keeping grout clean poses its own set of challenges.

Frequent exposure to hard water, soap and hair care products can quickly turn clean bathroom tile grout into a dingy mess. The good news is that, in most cases, dingy grout can be effectively cleaned with a mixture of common household cleaners.

How Often Should You Clean Tile Grout?

That depends on where the grout is located. For a tiled shower where there’s regular use and constant moisture, the grout will need to be cleaned more often than a tiled wall. It’s best to clean grout as soon as it starts to look dirty, discolored or whenever mold and mildew start are starting to build up.

How to Clean Grout

The recommended cleaning method depends on how dirty your grout is to begin with. Some solutions will be more suitable for regular grout cleaning and maintenance, while others are made to really get after the gunk on especially grimy grout. Here are four methods for cleaning grout using common household cleaning supplies that you probably already have under your sink.

2 / 6
Family Handyman

Maintain Grout with Warm Water and a Stiff Brush

If the grout between your tiles appears to be in good shape and you want to keep it that way, clean it regularly with warm water and a stiff brush. Fill a spray bottle with warm water, then spray and scrub along the grout lines. Avoid brushes with metal bristles since those could strip away any sealant, damage the grout and scratch the tile.

3 / 6
Family Handyman

Create a Water and Vinegar Mixture

If plain water no longer keeps your grout clean, then it’s time to add vinegar. Start by filling half of a spray bottle with warm water and the other half with white vinegar. Regular distilled white vinegar will work fine, but go with cleaning vinegar if you have it on hand. Spray the mixture along the grout lines and wait for at least five minutes before starting to scrub, once again using a brush with stiff (but not metal) bristles.

4 / 6
Family Handyman

Clean Tile Grout With Baking Soda

As anyone familiar with creating their own household cleaning products can tell you, baking soda is not just for baking. It can be used to deodorize shoes, clean upholstery and yes, scrub dirty grout. Make a paste of baking soda and water and spread it across the grout lines. Once the paste has been applied, spray some of that half-vinegar and half-water solution on top of the paste. This will cause it to foam. Once the foaming subsides, scrub the grout with a non-metal brush and rinse.

5 / 6
Family Handyman

Add Hydrogen Peroxide

If you’ve tried water, vinegar and baking soda and you still have dingy grout, don’t worry. There’s one more ingredient in your grout-cleaning repertoire: Hydrogen peroxide. Apply it directly to your grout, brush and rinse away. Or substitute it for the water when making the baking soda paste above.

6 / 6
Family Handyman

Stronger Grout Cleaners

If you’ve tried all these solutions and still find yourself with unsightly grout, it’s time to move to the next level of cleaning products. Heavy-duty options include chlorine bleach; oxygen bleach; and handy bleach pens that make it easy to apply the bleach right on the grout lines. If you decide to use a bleach-based solution or something similar, be sure that you handle any toxic chemicals with care and ventilate your workspace the best you can.

Harrison Kral
After spending his college summers pouring concrete and building decks, Harrison Kral decided to find a way to put his insider knowledge of construction to use…. just in an air-conditioned setting. He’s an established writer and editor in the DIY space who has written extensively on the home building industry, the housing market, and general DIY trends.