Cleaning Grout Lines: Everything You Need to Know

toothbrush cleaning tile

Due to its durability and ease of cleaning, tile is an excellent choice, especially in areas with high moisture. However, keeping the grout lines surrounding it looking as nice can become a problem over time. While the tile can withstand water, the grout is porous and quickly absorbs dirt and grime, causing it to turn gray and dirty. If left untreated, it can become challenging to clean without causing damage or regrouting.

It's important to use caution when selecting a cleaner for grout since it's porous and sensitive to certain cleaning products. Some solutions, like vinegar or certain toilet bowl cleaners, can corrode and damage the surface. However, with some bleach, a scrub brush or toothbrush, some time, and a little effort, you can restore your grout to its original color.

How to Clean Grout Lines

Cleaning Grout Lines in Small Areas

Small areas like showers or kitchen backsplashes will require a bleach solution. Oxygen bleach is a good choice, but you can use chlorine bleach if the latter is too grimy. To make the solution, dilute one part bleach to three or four parts water, creating an effective solution for cleaning grout lines. If you are fighting stubborn stains, you can increase the amount of bleach used.

Removing Dirt from Tub Grout Lines

Mix bleach and water in a clean spray bottle to tackle tub grout stains and apply the solution onto the grout lines. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before scrubbing the stains with a small brush or toothbrush. For tougher stains, sprinkle baking soda onto the grout lines before scrubbing and rinse thoroughly with clear water.

Removing Hard Dirt Stains from Tub Grout Lines

For those tough grout stains around your shower or tub, you can make a DIY paste using baking soda, liquid dish detergent, and hydrogen peroxide. Mix about ½ to 1 cup of baking soda, 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid dish detergent, and a splash of hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl to form a paste. Wet the surface with clear water and use a toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout lines, gently scrubbing as you go. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with clear water and wipe with a cloth or sponge. With this simple but effective paste, your grout will be sparkling clean quickly.

Step 1 Apply solution with a mop.              Step 2. Scrub grout with a small brush.

Cleaning Grout Lines on Floors

Oxygen bleach is a great option for cleaning floors, although chlorine bleach is also a good. Mix warm water and bleach in a bucket, using a ratio of 1 part bleach to 3 or 4 parts warm water. Use a mop to apply the solution to the floor, ensuring it covers the grout lines.

However, if the grout lines are damaged or cracked, avoid saturating them with the mop and use a towel or cloth to apply the solution instead. Starting in one corner of the room, gently scrub the grout lines with a small brush, or use a clean nylon bristle broom if you prefer not to get down on your hands and knees. Make sure to scrub the entire floor surface. After scrubbing, mop the floor with fresh, clear water.

Protect the Grout

After all the hard work you’ve put into cleaning your grout lines, keeping them looking their best is important. If you notice that water seems to soak right into your grout, it’s time to reseal it. Grout sealant helps repel water, germs, and stains, keeping your grout lines fresh and clean. Several different types of grout sealers are available, so check with your local home improvement or hardware store to find the one compatible with your tile, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Replacing Grout

If your grout is severely damaged, it's best to replace it because ignoring the issue could lead to more serious damage to the tile and underlying surfaces. If you think cleaning grout is a labor-intensive job, replacing it is even more challenging. Before you can replace your grout, you have to remove all the old grout. This can be a back-breaking, time-consuming process. While you can remove grout manually, it is more efficient to use a tool designed for the job. If you don’t have the right tool or level of expertise, or if you're looking to update an outdated bathroom, kitchen, or mudroom with a fresh, contemporary look, contact Mr. Handyman® for assistance. Our home repair experts can help you get it all done, and we’re just a phone call away.

How to Make Completing Your Home Projects Easier

Now that you know how to clean grout like a pro, keeping your beautiful tile looking its absolute best should be easy. To make completing your home project to-do list easier, call your local Mr. Handyman. Our team of skilled pros can help you with everything from installing ceiling fans and outlets to building custom shelves and cabinets. Choosing Mr. Handyman means you get pros with years of experience, attention to detail, and work backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™. To learn more or to get started, request a quote online today!