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What is the Best Way to Clean Grout?

Cleaning the grout between the tiles can be a challenge.
Vinegar, which can be used to clean grout.
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  • Written By: Y. Tolentino
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
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It can be a difficult task to clean grout between tiles in tile flooring, bathroom tiles, or backsplashes. Keeping these areas looking new and grim-free may require both persistence and hard work. The best way to clean it will depend on the type of grout, its location, and the degree of staining.

Stains in tile grout can develop in different ways. On bathroom tiles, mold and mildew may be the main cause, while on kitchen tile floors, grout stains may be the result of a combination of factors like heavy foot traffic, dirt, food spills, and mildew. In some cases, stains may also occur over time if the grout is either not sealed or because the sealant has deteriorated. Still, there are ways to clean the grout and revive those dingy tiles.

The best methods will depend, in part, on the degree of staining. For simple stains on bathroom tiles, floors, or backsplashes, it is best to first use mild cleaning solutions. Spraying a small section of the stained grout with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water and then scrubbing in a circular pattern with a stiff brush can help clean grout. Likewise, forming a paste by adding water to a bit of baking soda and then using this mixture with a brush can also yield results. Afterward, it is important to completely rinse the area with water and then dry it.

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Another cleaning method is to use household cleaners or a steam cleaner. This is especially helpful on tiled floors, where steam cleaners may help loosen set-in dirt when a topical cleaner cannot completely remove the stains.

For stubborn stains, some alternatives include using a commercial grout cleaner, oxygen bleach powder, hydrogen peroxide, or chlorine bleach. When using a grout cleaner, it is wise to follow the instructions carefully to ensure good results. Of these products, oxygen bleach powder may be the safer and effective choice. Once the grout has been cleaned completely, a grout sealer for either floor or bathroom tiles may be used to help keep it clean.

Certain precautions should be observed when cleaning grout with oxygen bleach powder, hydrogen peroxide, or chlorine bleach. First, test the grout cleaner on a small area, preferably in an out-of-the-way spot, to ensure that the cleaner will not do damage. Second, work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and masks.

For grout cleaning jobs that are too difficult or large for a homeowner to handle, hiring a professional cleaning service may be the best solution. A professional service can use special grout cleaning machines and steamers that can achieve more effective results.

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Discuss this Article

anon293520
Post 5

Has anyone used a Stanley Steemer with their floor tiles being marble instead of ceramic? I need my grout cleaned and wanted to know if it is possible if the tiles are marble. -- Diane

anon289127
Post 4

I had a demo from Stanley Steamer to clean my grout while they were there to clean the carpets. They had a spray bottle and a brush and in less than a minute the dirtiest spot in my kitchen grout looked new. I was amazed and realized that whatever was in that bottle I wanted because they quoted me $796 to clean my grout with their machine and this amazing cleaner. I make good money but if I can save $796 by taking three hours to clean it myself I'm in. I also didn't know why I needed their machine, as the spot they cleaned was perfect with spray, scrub and wipe.

Well, I searched and found that Finazzle has that product but it's carried on their web site and very few stores. I found on their web site that a hardware store 25 miles from me had it, I drove and for $14 a bottle I took two (I know, pricey but I'm saving over $700, right?). I came home and did about 10 square feet in five minutes, and it looked cleaner but dark as it was wet. When it dried, it was like new. I used both of those bottles up today on about 1200 square feet of tile but have about 400 more to do.

So I just placed an order on Finazzle's web site for 4 bottles at $39.95. I'm a 45 year old guy and don't get excited about cleaning products but I am amazed and grateful that others posted about Finazzle.

dega2010
Post 3

We bought a house a few months ago and the tile floors were in horrible shape. The grout was so dirty. We tried everything to get it clean to no avail. My mom told me that I might have to get it done professionally. We called Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaning Service.

I didn’t know until then that they did anything other than carpet. They did a great job and they even added a sealant to the grout to keep it clean longer.

You can check with your local carpet cleaning service and ask if they do tile grout cleaning.

StormyKnight
Post 2

@googie98: I have used the Oxiclean, too. I didn’t use a mop, though. I bought a plastic bristle deck brush. You can get them with a long handle so you are not bending over as much.

I use the same solution as yours. Brush the mixture on the grout and let it dry. It usually does a great job.

googie98
Post 1

The oxygen cleaners worked great on the floor in my bathroom. I use Oxiclean. I tried regular bleach first but that didn’t work very well. I saw in a magazine where Oxiclean worked well on tile grout.

I mix 1 cup of the Oxiclean powder with two gallons of hot water. It is important to make sure the powder completely dissolves in the water. Use a mop and clean the whole floor.

Oxiclean doesn’t have the harsh fumes like bleach does.

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