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How to clean grout: 5 natural and easy steps.

Last Updated: July 27, 2021

Nothing dirties up a space quite like grimy tile grout, so get it back to gleaming — naturally — with our easy tips and tricks.

You might know how to clean tile floors but do you know how to clean grout? There’s nothing that fancies up a space quite like clean grout. It doesn’t matter if it’s grout on the wall, grout on the floor, or grout on a counter — when it’s clean, the whole place looks brighter.

Unfortunately, because grout is so porous, it’s prone to grunge and stains. Liquids get absorbed almost immediately, and, if they aren’t cleaned up quickly, you’re left with speckled grout that’s dingy and not too pretty.

Why should you clean grout?

orange illustration of rubber gloves

Besides the fact that discolored and dirty-looking grout between tiles may not make your home feel so sparkly, the longer you wait to clean your grout, the more difficult grout stains can be to remove.

Even though this may just feel like another item on your house cleaning checklist, cleaning will help bring out its natural beauty, whether white or some other grout color, and ramp your tile game up to a whole other level. Plus, it will remove most of the bacterial growth on your tile grout. Yuck.

How often should you clean grout?

blue illustration of a calendar

Grout cleaning should be done pretty regularly if you want to kick butt and get results. At least once a month, you should try and scrub any stained grout clean. (Even better, try to clean stains on grout as soon as you see them to prevent setting.) Each season, with your seasonal cleaning checklist, you can do a deeper clean of all your grout to address any places you haven't spot-cleaned lately. Kitchen tile grout can become discolored and dirty mostly due to spills. For entryway grout, the leading cause is dirt and mud coming from your shoes.

Here’s an easy way to break down grout cleaning tasks so you aren’t looking at an insurmountable task list when you finally decide to tackle grout stains.

Weekly cleaning tasks

To keep the grime, mildew, and soap scum from escalating, you should give your grout and tiles a wipe down with a cleaning wipe or a multi-purpose spray and cloth at least once per week. This helps make sure no spills stain the grout, and no dirt particles settle into the porous surface.

Biweekly cleaning tasks

To keep your grout lines squeaky clean, do a preventative scrub of your grout once every two weeks. Prioritize high-use (and high-grime) spaces like backsplashes and showers.

Seasonal cleaning tasks

For long-term maintenance, you should get your grout cleaned professionally at least once, preferably twice per year, to help keep it looking good as new

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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Things you’ll need to clean grout

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Cleaning grout can be done with regular household items, if you know how to use them properly.

Keep in mind that some tile cleaning solutions can be acidic in nature and repeated, aggressive use could damage your tile. Other options in liquid form require scrubbing to clean away the grout, but they tend not to harm your tile. It’s always best to read the fine print on products you use to avoid any mishaps.

Here’s a breakdown of the tools you’ll need for cleaning grout:

How do you make DIY grout cleaner?

There are a few options for DIY grout cleaning mixtures. We've even tested some of them ourselves if you want to see how they work.

Option 1: Simple DIY grout cleaner

Simply sprinkle baking soda on the grout and spray with hydrogen peroxide — start with one part baking soda to one part hydrogen peroxide.

Option 2: Baking soda paste grout cleaner

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap into a paste that you can apply to grout and surrounding tile.

The dish soap is especially great at cutting through grease that might make its way onto your kitchen grout.

Sustainability Tip

Homemade vs. natural tile cleaner brands: Which is better?

Homemade grout cleaner can be just as effective as store-bought tile cleaner, but consider your ingredients. Many popular online recipes for homemade grout cleaner recommend vinegar (or bleach!), which runs the risk of corroding the grout surface — or doing nothing if combined with baking soda, which can neutralize vinegar’s acid, its main cleaning powerhouse.

Homemade cleaners are a great inexpensive workaround, whereas natural cleaners like the ones from Grove can save you some time and mess. It comes down to personal preference and how much cleaning you want to take into your own hands.

Image of Mrs Meyer's Cream Cleaner bottle on countertop next to range and walnut scrubber sponge

Or Try Mrs. Meyer's Cream Cleaner

If you aren't into DIY but are intrigued by baking soda, try a natural cleaning product that uses baking soda as a main ingredient, like this Mrs. Meyer’s Cream Cleaner.

Plus, this Mrs. Meyer's Cream Cleaner channels scratch-free cleaning power of baking soda to help keep your pans, stainless steel, bathroom, kitchen, and other rooms their cleanest.

How to clean grout in 5 steps

So what’s the best way to clean grout? Read on below.

Step 1: Apply hot water

Wash the selected area with warm/hot water. This will soften any buildup of dirt on the surface of the grout and make it easier to remove.

Step 2: Scrub with a brush

Once the buildup is softened, use a stiff bristled toothbrush or bristled grout brush and scrub it off. This will allow the cleaner to get into the grout without any blockages.

Step 3: Apply the cleaner

Use your chosen cleaner from the options mentioned above and apply it to the grout. Let it rest for some time so it can work its magic — usually at least 5–10 minutes to let the cleaner get to work, and longer if you’re tackling some particularly tough stains.

Step 4: Clean it off

Scrub with a brush again to make sure the cleaner goes deep into the porous surface of the grout. Once it's clean, wash off with clean water to rinse away the cleaner — consider a mop paired with gentle floor cleaner (for floors) or microfiber cloth dipped in warm water mixed with dish soap for other surfaces.

Make sure to rinse with water to remove any residue, which can attract more dirt if detergent remains on the grout after cleaning.

Step 5: Apply grout sealant

Once the grout is thoroughly clean, you can apply a grout sealer to make sure it stays clean for longer.

If you're more of a visual learner, watch below to see how baking soda and the steps above actually clean dirty grout.

Grove Tip

Start mild

When starting to clean your grout, test the mildest ingredients possible to make sure you don’t expose your tile to unnecessary chemicals that may ruin its beauty and shine.

Extra grout cleaning tips & tricks

How can I make grout white again?

If you’ve tried the above grout cleaning tips with either natural grout cleaners or homemade options and your white grout still looks a little dingy, we have one other insider trick for you.

Funnily enough, toothpaste works amazingly well to brighten grout, especially if you have white grout. Try it out and see! And if you’re really looking to break out the heavy duty cleaners, a steam cleaner can do wonders on tough grout stains too.

How can I prevent grout dirt?

One of the easiest ways to prevent grout dirt is by regular cleaning: Vacuum grouted floors to pick up stray dirt before mopping to make sure you aren’t spreading stain-causing grime around.

For counters or other surfaces, consider using a vacuum attachment or microfiber cloth to pick up dry dirt particles prior to applying any liquid cleansers and giving the surface a wipe. Avoid exposing the grout to moisture for too long. This might lead to stains that are hard to remove.

Follow Emma Roberts' lead — Go plastic-free with natural products from Grove

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.