8 Easiest Ways To Clean Grout

No one wants to feel like their bathroom isn't clean, but there is one thing that many of us tend to overlook when it comes to tidying up the washroom: grout. It's another one of those things in our houses that we should be cleaning but aren't. Grout is notoriously hard to clean because it's porous, and it tends to stain even if you use grout sealer. This leaves your bathroom looking frustratingly dingy and discolored.

According to Country Floors, grout is often made from a mixture of cement and water, and since cement is porous, grout tends to absorb dirt and grime relatively quickly. If you don't keep up with cleaning your grout regularly, then this can lead to yellow and black stains marking your shower tiles and bathroom floors. "Water in the bathroom may evaporate but dirt does not and soap film is the biggest culprit as the dirt clings to the scum left on the grout," Brian Mcauliffe, The Grout Guy, told Today Home.

Many people put off cleaning their grout because it's notoriously hard to wash, but that's only if you don't use the correct techniques. In an effort to help you work smarter and not harder, we rounded up some of the easiest ways to clean grout, which will only take 10 minutes or less!

1. Clean grout with hydrogen peroxide

If your grout stains aren't too severe, then you can clean your grout using a simple solution that is made with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. According to Stanley Steamer, you can create this effective cleaning solution by mixing ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap. Baking soda is mildly abrasive so it will help lift stains from the cement, while hydrogen peroxide acts like bleach and will brighten the dingy color (via Bob Vila).

To clean with this solution, spread the paste on your grout lines and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Once the ingredients have penetrated into the build-up, grab a grout scrubbing brush and scour the grout and dirt. Repeat this process several times until you have your desired level of whiteness. Once the grout is white again, wipe the tiles clean with a microfiber cloth or sponge.

2. Apply a vinegar mix to grout

Another great way to clean grout is to use vinegar. If you don't have any stubborn grout stains but need to wash away built up dirt and grime, then make a 50-50 mix of vinegar and warm water (via Stoneandtilepros.com). Pour this mixture into a spray bottle, and spray it onto your tiles and grout. Vinegar is slightly acidic so it will help lift away stains better than simple soap and water, which will save you time while cleaning.

Keep in mind that this is only safe to use on porcelain and ceramic tiles, and should not to be used on natural stone tiles like granite or marble. If you use vinegar on natural stone, it can ruin the tiles' shine. "The acidic cleaners may etch the granite top and leave a dull or discolored spot behind," Lily Cameron, a cleaner at Fantastic Services, told Reader's Digest.

3. Use toilet bowl cleaner to cleanse grout

If you wash your bathroom tiles with floor cleaner but your grout stains stay stubbornly intact, then it's time to switch up your cleaning agents; use toilet bowl cleaner to clean your grout to cut your scrubbing time in half. To complete this task, you will need Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner and a grout scrubbing brush.

TikTok user Morgan Brittaney shared this viral bathtub cleaning hack on her account, and while she uses toilet bowl cleaner to clean her bathtub, she also recommends using it on grout stains. Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner has hydrochloric acid as an active ingredient, which is a highly corrosive acid that can quickly dissolve grime and dirt (per Science Direct).

To clean your grout, pour the toilet bowl cleaner into the grout lines, and let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes. Once you see the dirt begin to loosen from the grout, take your scrub brush and scour the grout lines until you see their original white coloring. Wipe away the grime with a microfiber cloth, and enjoy your refreshed bathroom.

4. Apply oxygen bleach to grout

You will need more than just water and soap to clean stubborn grout stains, and one great way to tackle yellowed grout is to use oxygen bleach. Bob Vila states that oxygen bleach is most commonly found in powdered form, and is sold by brands like OxiClean, Ajax, and Charlie's Soap.

According to The Laundress, oxygen bleach whitens and kills bacteria just like normal bleach, but it's a non-toxic, natural, and less harsh alternative. You want to be careful not to use overly corrosive solutions on your grout, or else they can break up the cement and make the grout crumble. To clean your grout with oxygen bleach, make sure your bathroom is well ventilated and that you carefully follow the manufacturer's directions on the label. Apply the oxygen bleach directly onto your grout, and let the solution penetrate the area for a minimum of 10 minutes. Once the dirt and debris has been loosened from the grout, wash it away with a sponge.

5. Use a steam cleaner to wash grout

If your grout stains are adamantly staying put, then it might be time to put away the cleaning solutions and invest in a steamer, according to The Spruce. When renting or buying a steam cleaner, make sure the cleaner has grout brush attachments in varying sizes so you can use the steamer on both shower and floor tiles.

Once you have the steamer, choose a bristle brush attachment that best fits your grout size and attach it to the cleaner. Carefully read the manufacturer's directions and turn it on, and once the machine begins to steam, carefully apply the brush to the grout and begin to scrub back and forth. If you are cleaning the floor, stop periodically to mop up the grime from your cleaned section to keep the dirt from resettling back into the grout. If you're cleaning wall tiles, steam from the top down so the dirty water doesn't stain freshly cleaned tiles.

6. Apply Zep Commercial Grout Cleaner to grout

If you have an old house with a bathroom that is a few decades old, then you probably know firsthand how stubborn some grout stains can be. If you tried the steam cleaner to no avail, then it might be time to try Zep Commercial Grout Cleaner and Whitener (via Home Depot). Its bleach-free formula is safe on colored grout, and it will help lift some of the most stubborn stains with little to no scrubbing. However, it is not recommended to be used on marble, stone, or metal, so be sure to read the manufacturer's directions carefully before applying it to your tiles.

Pour the cleaner directly onto your grout using the bottle's built-in nozzle, and allow the solution to sit for three to five minutes. Once the cleaner has penetrated the grime, take a toothbrush or grout cleaner and begin to run the bristles over the grout. The dirt should immediately lift. Wipe down sections with a cloth as you clean so the dirt doesn't re-embed itself into the lines.

7. Use an alkaline cleaner to clean grout

Alkaline cleaners are a great way to clean dirty grout since they effortlessly dissolve oil and grease (via Corrosionpedia). Since oil and grease are byproducts of showering in the bathroom, it coats the shower and floor tiles, creating a dingy grout color. But you can nick through that oil buildup relatively easily with the help of alkaline cleaners, which come in the form of washing soda.

According to The Spruce, washing soda is a compound that is most commonly used to lift stubborn stains from laundry. It is made from sodium carbonate, which is known to "soften" water to make it easier for a cleaning agent to lift dirt. The Grand Island Independent recommends washing ceramic tiles with this solution, which you can create by mixing together 1/2 cup of washing soda with 1 gallon of warm water. Scrub the grout with a stiff brush, and then wipe away the dirt with a damp cloth. 

If you prefer to buy bottled products rather than making your own cleaning agents, then an example of an alkaline grout cleaner is Stonetech Klenzall or Esteam.

8. Brighten grout with a grout pen

If you have scrubbed your grout but it is still discolored, then use a grout pen to make it white again. Using a grout pen is an easy and fast way to refresh your tile work, and it can double as a budget bathroom makeover. If you don't want to pay thousands of dollars for new tiles, you can make them feel new again by restoring their tile grout lines.

According to Family Handyman, the grout pen applies a thin water-resistant tint onto the existing grout. This tint will cover up any stains and discolorations, giving your tiles a refresh. To apply the solution, firmly shake the pen before using it, and then gently apply the felt tip point onto the grout. Follow the lines of the grout, quickly wiping away any smudges that bleed from the grout and onto the tile. You will be blown away by the end result.

Follow these grout cleaning tips and you will never dread cleaning your tiles again. The chore will now only take you 10 minutes or less!