The Three Best Ways to Clean Grout

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Find the best way to clean grout with these step-by-step instructions for three different methods. Each one will make your grout look like new!

No matter how often you clean your tile floors, if you neglect the grout, your floor will not look clean. In addition to floor grout, your home might have grout in the shower, countertops and backsplash areas. The porous material and high volume of grout lines can make cleaning it a frustrating job. But luckily, we found the best way to clean grout (three different methods!) to make it look like new.

Types of Grout

Before you tackle cleaning your grout, you’ll need to know what type of grout you have. Whether it’s your tiled shower, flooring or backsplash, grout usually falls into these three types:

Sanded Grout

The main component of sanded grout is cement. Sanded grout has a gritty feel, is very porous, and should have a sealer applied to it to make it easier to clean. Sanded grout is commonly used in wide grout lines because it contains large grains of sand that prevent it from cracking.

Unsanded Grout

Like sanded grout, unsanded grout is also cement-based. The difference is that unsanded grout contains very fine minerals, giving it a smoother texture. Unsanded grout is great for narrow grout seams. Thanks to its thinner consistency, it’s a little easier to work with than sanded grout, and applies easily to vertical surfaces.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy-based grouts are made of resin mixed with a filler. The good news? Epoxy grout is tough and water-resistant, and doesn’t require a sealer. The bad news? Epoxy-based grout might not always be the right fit for your tile. It has a shinier finish that highlights imperfections and sets very quickly. It’s also more difficult to apply than traditional grout, so it most likely needs to be applied by a professional. Epoxy-based grout is also more expensive.

What to Consider When Choosing a Grout Cleaner

Your own cleaning preferences and the type of grout you have should be considered before choosing your grout cleaner. Do you prefer DIY chemical-free cleaning? Or do you like the convenience of a store-bought product?

No matter what cleaner you choose, know that The Tile Council of America recommends cleaning grout with an alkaline cleaner (like Spic and Span or Mr. Clean) over an acid-based cleaner. Also keep in mind that because most grout is porous, you shouldn’t use oil- or wax-based cleaners which can leave a film on the grout.

Three Best Ways to Clean Grout

Method One: DIY Grout Cleaner

Cleaning bathroom tiles and groutDave Endsor/Getty Images

You’ve heard about the cleaning power of baking soda, and when it comes to grout, it gets the job done. The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda combined with a few other common household ingredients scrubs away stains on your grout without any chemicals, and you can make as much as you need!

To clean your grout with baking soda, you’ll need a good scrub brush. An old toothbrush can work, but for best results, use a specialized grout brush with firm bristles. (One of our favorite Amazon cleaning products, this Rubbermaid brush even spins for extra scrubbing power!). Don’t use a wire brush, which can damage the grout.

Tools and Supplies

Directions

  • Mix 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, ½ cup baking soda and ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide together in a squeeze bottle.
  • Apply cleaning solution to grout lines.
  • Allow to stand about five to 10 minutes.
  • Scrub with a scrub brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

Method Two: Grout Cleaning Product

dirty tile cleaning and mold removing from groutronstik/Getty Images

If making your own cleaning mixture doesn’t appeal to you, check out one of our favorite grout-cleaning products: Black Diamond Stoneworks ultimate grout cleaner. This highly reviewed and powerful cleaner deeply penetrates grout to remove dirt, oil, grease and soap scum. It’s also acid-free, so it’s safe to use on all colors of grout without damaging the surrounding floor or backsplash material. Just don’t forget to wear a pair of dishwashing gloves!

Tools and Supplies

Directions

  • Spray cleaner onto grout lines.
  • Allow cleaner to sit about three minutes to work its magic
  • Scrub with a scrub brush. (A Scrub Daddy sponge also works well.)
  • Rinse thoroughly.

Method Three: Steam Clean Grout

Professional housecleaner steam-cleaning grout line on wallyacobchuk/Getty Images

Probably the most effective way to clean your grout is steam cleaning. Hot steam can get into the small crevices and pores of grout to loosen dirt, grime and grease more effectively than any type of chemical cleaner or brush. The Bissell Stream Shot handheld steam cleaner and sanitizer is lightweight and easy to use, and includes a special grout-cleaning attachment that will leave your grout looking like new. Plus, the high temperature of the steam not only cleans but sanitizes, removing 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

Tools and Supplies

Directions

  • Attach the accessory nozzle and the grout cleaning tool to the steamer.
  • Fill the steamer with water. Use of distilled water in place of tap water is recommended to prolong the life of your steamer.
  • Plug in the steamer and wait for the water to heat up.
  • Press the trigger button to release steam, scrubbing the grout as you go.

FAQs

How do you keep white grout clean?

The best way to keep white grout clean is to seal it (unless you have an epoxy grout). The right sealant will prevent stains and increase moisture-resistance. Grout should be sealed immediately after installation after it dries and cures, and then resealed every year.

How often should you clean grout?

Just like any other deep cleaning job, you’ll want to clean grout regularly to ensure you’re not faced with an overwhelming job. We recommend scrubbing grout about once a month. It’s not necessary to clean your grout every day, but if you spill spaghetti sauce on the floor or splatter oil on your backsplash, clean it up right away so it doesn’t have time to set into the grout. Learn more with our kitchen cleaning guide.

Do steam mops clean grout?

Steam mops are highly effective on cleaning grout. Use a handheld steam cleaner with a special grout-cleaning tool to reach countertop or backsplash grout. However, a mop will work great on floor grout, plus it cleans and sanitizes your tile at the same time!

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Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.