How To Clean Grout From Ceramic Tiles?

Grout is a porous material that lines and encases tiles, but it can become dirty over time. Its natural ability to absorb dirt and grime means it’s not always easy to keep clean, but a few simple strategies can help. 

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One way to get your grout back into tip-top shape is to use vinegar, which is a good all-purpose cleaner that works great for tile. Vinegar is acidic enough to cut through grease and dirt, but it’s mild enough that you can use it around kids and pets. 

Another natural cleaner that is perfect for grout is lemon juice, which has mild bleaching properties. This makes it a great choice for cleaning grout and brightening tiles, says home renovation expert Art Fricke. 

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are two other natural cleaning agents that work well for cleaning tile, says house rehab specialist Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development (opens in new tab). Both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide act as gentle scrubbing agents to remove tough stains from the grout. 

The trick here is to make sure the mixture is evenly applied and that you allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. The baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will start to interact with each other, creating a chemical reaction that will make the grout look like it’s been professionally cleaned. 

You’ll likely see some bubbling when this mixture combines, but don’t worry — it will stop when the chemical reaction is complete and the grout looks clean. 

Tip: For really dirty grout, consider a steam mop, which is great for removing stubborn grime and dirt from your tile. It also helps to prevent bacterial growth by trapping and locking dirt, dust, and hairs in the mop’s special chambers. 

A shop vac is another good option for getting your grout clean. Apply an alkaline cleaner according to product directions, then use the vac to help lift dirt away from the grout, suggests the tile and grout industry trade association, the TCNA. 

If your tiles are made of real marble, granite, or travertine, be very careful when using vinegar to clean them. While it can be a great natural alternative to bleach, vinegar may etch the surfaces and permanently stain them. 

Alternatively, oxygen bleach can be used to clean ceramic tile, but you should be careful not to get the bleach too close to the grout, advises Roderick. Oxygen bleach is non-toxic, safe for the environment, and doesn’t have a harsh chemical odor. 

This is a more effective approach than using vinegar or lemon juice to clean grout. And, it’s safer than using household chlorine bleach because it won’t leave behind a residue or damage the surface of the tile. 

You can also try a simple homemade solution of equal parts water and dish soap. Mix these ingredients in a spray bottle, then spray your grout and let it soak for about 30 minutes before rinsing away with clean water. This will also help to remove stains from the grout’s surface, which can be difficult to do with other cleaning methods.