Grout Cleaner | Learn How to Clean Grout Naturally

LAST UPDATED: Aug 04, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Jan 15, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

Learn everything you need to know about how to clean grout! I’m teaching you how to make your own homemade tile grout cleaner, as well as all the tools and products you’ll need for a deep clean.

White bathtub with a brass tub tray filled with bath accessories, water running into tub.

Over time, the grout lines between your tiles can become dirty, dingy and feel impossible to clean. During my years of updating older homes, I’ve learned a few tricks and techniques that I wanted to share with you if you’re struggling with this issue as well.

In the past few years, we’ve taken on a few easy tile makeover projects that are so easy, they might just change your life!

In our lake home, we’ve painted tile (I promise it’s possible… it’s easy, durable and makes such a difference). We also refreshed a dated bathroom’s grout lines with grout stain – what a transformation!

This post is filled with tips and tricks for cleaning your grout lines! I tried to answer reader questions and share products that work for us. However, if you’re interested in just the printable step by step tutorial, click “Jump to How-to” right under the title of this post!

White bathtub with a brass tub tray filled with bath accessories.

And speaking of tranformations, have you seen the before and after of our guest bathroom? We turned it into the spa bath of my dreams! You’ve got to pop over and see the full remodel.

However, as we all know, it’s not always possible to start from scratch with new tile and fixtures. Often we just need to do the best we can with what we’ve got! 

If you’re dealing with dark, dingy or dated grout, read on for inexpensive, easy solutions that anyone can accomplish. 

Natural Tile Grout Cleaner

I love to find natural, earth-friendly (not to mention kid, allergy and pet friendly) solutions for cleaning our home. In the past, I’ve shared my homemade marble cleaner, as well as my favorite natural all-purpose cleaning spray that I often use throughout our home.

White hexagon tile floor, white grout.

Cleaning your grout doesn’t have to involve expensive, stinky chemicals that require masks and open windows! My grout cleaning solution is all natural and in my experience, it really works. You won’t believe how simple this is! 

You’ll simply use one part vinegar, one part water. For tougher stains, I’ll often add a little baking soda and dish soap to make a paste when I spray the vinegar mixture onto the grout. 

Cleaning your grout lines is one of those projects that is easy to put off. However, it can make a big impact in the overall feel of a room. One space at a time, right? 

“When your environment is clean, you feel happy, motivated and healthy.” (Lailah Gifty Akita)

Clean white tile in a bathtub.

How to Clean Grout Naturally

Here’s a quick little list of products that can make this simple all-natural process even easier. Several of these items are things that I like to have on hand for all types of cleaning anyway! 

  • Cleaning Gloves – I like to use a non-latex version but anything to protect your hands will work!
  • Grout Cleaning Brush – this is very important because the stiff bristles really get into the space between tiles and help create a truly clean surface.
  • Spray Bottle – I love a pretty glass bottle, but you can use any kind of spray or squeeze container you have on hand.
  • Vinegar – I generally use a white vinegar because I always have it on hand. It’s so inexpensive and perfect for cleaning. Many people are not fans of the scent of vinegar, however… and if that’s the case for you, check out this scented vinegar! Why not make your cleaning projects a little happier, right? 
  • Baking Soda – for tougher stains, add a little baking soda directly onto the grout before spraying your vinegar mixture.

I simply mix my vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the grout. It can help to give it a couple minutes to do some work, before you begin scrubbing with your grout brush.

White bathtub with a brass tub tray filled with bath accessories.

Grout Cleaner for the Toughest Stains

Occasionally, you’ll come across grout lines that even the best natural tile grout cleaners can’t handle. In these cases, you might need to turn to alternative products and methods for real results. Here’s a few ways to approach these deeper-set stains! 

  • Heavy Duty Grout Cleaner – This highly rated grout cleaner is one we’ve turned to in the past. It’s a great way to deal with stubborn stains. While you can’t use it with any natural stones, it’s safe for ceramic and porcelain tiles and should not effect grout color.
  • Grout Spinning Brush – Struggling with deep set stains? You might consider purchasing an electric spin scrubber like this one. According to reviews it can be used far beyond grout cleaning, too!
  • Grout Steamer – Steam has a powerful effect during cleaning because of the hot water and cleaning solutions they activate, and this steaming mop has a grout brush as well! 
  • Professional Help – Still struggling after you’ve tried everything? Call in the pros! Many of your local carpet and tile cleaning professionals can handle even the worst case scenarios. 

When all else fails, consider refreshing your grout like we did with a grout refreshing stain/paint product! 

White hexagon tile floor, white grout.

Grout Cleaning Tips

A few things to keep in mind when you’re trying to clean your grout! 

  • Don’t hesitate to leave the vinegar solution (and baking soda/dish soap paste) on the surface for 5-10 minutes to soak in. I really believe that this helps loosen the dirt and set-in stains! 
  • Don’t want to buy a grout cleaning brush and just have a few spots to work on? Use an old toothbrush! 
  • Hot or warm water can make a bigger impact than cold – think of it like a steaming solution.
  • Consider a grout sealer to prevent more dirt and stains from appearing down the road!
  • If you’re dealing with mold and mildew in your shower grout lines, bleach or a heavy duty cleaner is often considered the only cleaning solution. Try adding hydrogen peroxide into your natural cleaning line-up instead!
Clean white subway tile in a shower, shampoo bottles in a tile niche.

How to Steam Grout Lines

Another option for a deep clean for your grout lines is steam. There are many products and tools for steam cleaning your grout! Steam does the heavy duty work of lifting mildew and soil from the grout without any damage.

This is my favorite steam mop for cleaning our grout lines in the bathrooms. If you’re really struggling with deeper, more set-in stains, you can rent a heavy duty steam machine from your local home store.

Seal Your Grout to Prevent Future Stains

You can seal your grout to help prevent future stains and build up. Especially if you go to all the trouble of steaming your grout lines, this is a great idea to keep them clean for longer!

Most grout sealants are penetrating or topical. In our experience, the penetrating sealant is more long term and will give you the best overall results!

How to Clean Grout Haze with Grout Cleaner

Grout haze is the dusty film left behind after newly installed tile has been grouted. To remove haze from grout, you can use a product like Grout Haze Remover.

Whether your grout haze is from epoxy grout or cement grout, there are products readily available that can remove the filmy grout haze left behind after installation.

However, you can often simply use vinegar and water! Chances are you already have some and it’s just as effective! Simply mix one part water to one part vinegar and use a soft scrub brush instead of the grout cleaning brush I linked above. The soft brush or sponge will prevent any scratches to your tiles as you remove the haze.

This is a natural solution that is easy and inexpensive.

White bathtub with a brass tub tray filled with bath accessories.

It’s best to remove grout haze within 24 hours of grout installation. However, this solution can often remove haze on new grout for weeks after grouting.

If you’ve tried a vinegar and water solution for your grout haze to no avail, it’s probably time for a heavy duty haze cleaner like this one

Cleaning Your Grout Lines

I hope this post about cleaning your grout has been helpful! Especially for those of us who are sensitive to strong smells or dealing with allergies, heavy duty chemical cleaners are not always the solution. 

A white tile floor near a toilet in bathroom.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you tackled a tough cleaning project with success? If you try these easy tile grout cleaner tips, please come back to share a comment below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too. For more easy recipes and simple living ideas, subscribe to my newsletter!

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White hexagon tile floor, white grout.

Grout Cleaner

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: Less than $2.00

Learn how to clean grout naturally with the simplest grout cleaner solution!

Materials

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • For tougher stains, add baking soda and liquid dish soap.

Tools

  • Cleaning Gloves
  • Grout Cleaning Brush
  • Spray Bottle

Instructions

    1. Mix one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle.
    2. Spray directly onto the grout. I usually start with one cup of each.

Notes

  • Don’t hesitate to leave the vinegar solution (and baking soda/dish soap paste) on the surface for 5-10 minutes to soak in. I really believe that this helps loosen the dirt and set-in stains! 
  • Don’t want to buy a grout cleaning brush and just have a few spots to work on? Use an old toothbrush! 
  • Hot or warm water can make a bigger impact than cold – think of it like a steaming solution.
  • Consider a grout sealer to prevent more dirt and stains from appearing down the road.
  • If you’re dealing with moldy or mildew in your shower grout, bleach or a heavy duty cleaner is often considered the only cleaning solution. Try adding hydrogen peroxide into your natural cleaning line-up instead!
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped