How to clean grout on tile floors?

Tile is beautiful, durable, and generally easy to clean, but cleaning grout is an irritating job. Typically grout is light-colored and has a porous composition. Need some care during the cleaning process.

The good news is that the best way to clean grout will not cost you a lot. It’s possible to clean and restore your grout using common household and kitchen products.

Before you start your grout-cleaning attempts, try to figure out what will be the best option for your floor and will be the least harmful. If you fail on the first attempt you could go for a more intense second option. Test your grout cleaning solutions’ suitability by applying them to a hidden area first in the kitchen or bathroom. 

Consider and gather the following products for starting   

Tools & Materials

  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Grout cleaner
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Steam mop

What are the different types of grout? Before you start your cleaning it is important to know the types of grout! It will help you to plan the cleaning procedure. There are three most common types of traditional cement grout and the newer standard, epoxy grout. We will know that by following divisions. 

  • Sanded grout is the primary choice for most floor-tiling applications. This is because sand particles have the ability to bind together to form a solid bond. It is a good choice for heavily trafficked floors, but not the best choice for smooth, polished stone.
  • Unsanded grout. Unsanded grout is also made with cement. Professionals use unsanded grout for narrow joints. This material is easier to work with and suitable for both vertical surfaces and polished stones. 
  • Epoxy grout. This type of grout is more resistant to water stains and less susceptible to shrinkage or sagging than cement grout. Epoxy grout absorbs 50 times less water than cement grout and is stronger. It works well in harsh environments around kitchen backsplashes and showers. It’s also easier to clean than cement grout and is more likely to return to its original color, which is a huge plus if you’re tiling in white or another light grout color.  Epoxy grout is also less vulnerable to cracking.
  • The downside, however, is that it is more expensive than cement grout and takes longer to apply.

Some types of grout can be pre-colored to prevent staining and fading as a result. Some grout formulations add polymers to provide useful properties such as moisture and crack resistance. Finally, when figuring out how to clean grout, it’s important to know if the grout is sealed or needs to be resealed. This can affect both how well the grout holds up and the solution that can be used to clean the grout.

Try 1: Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1.  Make yourself a solution with baking soda and water. 
  • Mix 3: a ratio of baking soda and water to make a thick paste. 
  • Apply the thick paste to the grout lines with a brush.
  • Baking soda isn’t harmful to your skin but wearing protective rubber gloves can help prevent your skin from the abrasive grout.
  1. Sprinkling the baking soda paste with a vinegar solution. Make a mixture of 

white vinegar and water using a 50/50 ratio, and put this into a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution on the targeted floor grout you are going to clean. If you see bubbling that will notify you, the natural cleaning process has begun itself.

  1. Wait for the solution to stop bubbling. The chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar is creating this bubble.  This reaction will last only for a few minutes. When it stops you will know that the chemical cleaning action has been done.
  1. Scrub the grout lines with a brush. Use a scrub brush or a toothbrush, to scrub along each grout line. Remember to check corners and edges; they may need more attention. 
  2. Mop the floor with plain water. Mop the floor with plain water and remove the residue. 

During the rinsing process rinse your mop well and change the water as often as it needs.  In that case, there will be no risk of spreading residue around the floor.  

Try 2: Cleaning with chlorine-free Bleach

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of oxygen bleach in 2 cups of warm water. 

    You need to mix the solution entirely to ensure that the oxygen bleach is fully activated and functional. Try to avoid using it on colored grout. Sometimes bleaching may damage the grout though not for tiles. 

2. Test a small, less noticed, or hidden portion of the grout before cleaning the entire floor.  If you have any doubts please check if it applies to a hidden or unnoticeable section of grout. Appy just a little for testing. If you are satisfied with the result – then go for the grout area of your entire floor.

3. Apply the oxygen bleach solution onto the grout. Make sure to pour enough evenly to cover the grout lines. Take time, and clean one section of the floor at a time. 

4. Use a synthetic fiber brush to scrub the oxygen bleach solution into the grout.  Allow some time for the prepared solution to sit on the grout for several minutes for the best results.

  • Brush back and forth along the grout line.
  • Be sure to scrub well around the corners and edges of the floor. Because here the dust and dirt get worse.

5. Rinse the floor then dry the floor. Use clean water directly on the floor then let it dry by natural air flow or use a towel or clean mop for drying quickly.

Try 3: Cleaning Grout with Baking Soda, Dish Soap, and Hydrogen Peroxide.

  1. Make a paste.  Take ¾  cup of  baking soda

  Take 1 tablespoon of dish soap 

  Take ¼ cup of Hydrogen peroxide

Now make a paste! 

  •   Apply the paste with a  synthetic fiber brush. You may use a  toothbrush, generally, a nylon brush works well for scrubbing. Carefully use the paste on all the grout lines in a uniform way to get the best clean. 
  • Allow the paste to sit on the grout for 10 to 15 minutes. You may see a bubbling reaction over the paste-applied grout as the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide interact. Please allow time to get service from the paste.
  • Rinse the grout with hot water to remove all of the used paste. Pour a little amount of water directly onto the tile floor to rinse the entire floor completely.
  • Use a rag or mop to wipe along the grout lines and remove leftover residue or dirt. Use a rag to wipe along the grout lines and remove any remaining residue or dirt. Gently scrub the floor with a towel to clean any remaining paste from the grout lines. This can be done by standing on a towel, shuffling or crawling across the floor with both feet.
  • Mop the floor with clean water. Wash the floor with clean water. Wipe the floor clean with a cotton or sponge mop to make sure there is no soap or residue. Rinsing the mop and changing the water often will give it a clean finish.

Wash the floor with clean water. Wash the floor with clean water. Clean the floor with a cotton or sponge mop to remove soap and debris. Frequently washing the mop and changing the water will give it a clean finish.

Try 4:  Cleaning Grout with a Steam Cleaner

  1. Cleaning with a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners can be very effective for cleaning and sanitizing all types of floor tiles and grouts. The advantage is it does not use any chemicals. If you don’t have any, can buy one- generally it comes with 2 to 3 years of warranty. So you will be able to use it for days and years to come.   

To use a steam cleaner make sure it has all accessories fitted with it. Like –

  • Steam hose
  • Small brush attachment

2. Read the manufacturer’s directions to assemble and the user guide to start with. Please don’t skip the manual, it’s important as different manufacturers have different options and regulations.  

3. Fill the water reservoir with clean water to the fill line according to the manual’s instructions. You don’t need to add chemicals or soaps to the steam cleaner water reservoir. If you need to use any cleaning solution, use it on the floor or grouts, not in the water. 

4. Turn the steam cleaner on and allow it to heat up. You will find it in the user’s manual or in the instruction manual how long it will take to heat up the water for your desired cleaning. Wait until the water is heated up before using the steam cleaner on the floor. 

 5. Apply the cleaning brush by moving back and forth over the grout lines. Select your starting point. Start from the side and complete the room steaming evenly to the other side. The steam cleaner machines’ steam will lift the dirt and grime from the grout.

6. Let natural air flow dry the floor or wipe up the excess moisture with a mop after cleaning. Of course, within 10 to 15 minutes your floor will dry. If not,  arrange air flow or a microfiber mop for drying it up.  

Regular Maintenance

When you’re done cleaning the grout, spray it with household vinegar or a mild grout cleaner and wipe it down once a week to avoid staining. Wiping the grout with rubbing alcohol prevents mold and mildew. In any case, just a few sprays and wipes a week can save a lot of time and effort in cleaning and help preserve the attractive appearance of the tile surface.

Grout cleaning starts with good prevention: resealing grout as needed, cleaning kitchen vents now, and using a mild homemade or commercial grout cleaner regularly. If the grout starts to stain or look cloudy, see the steps above.

An important reminder on how to clean grout is to start with a mild method. This is because the grout is less likely to be damaged or discolored. If grout staining persists, gradually progress to more intense procedures. Always maintain adequate ventilation and wear rubber or nylon gloves when cleaning grout.

Finally, seal and maintain grout as recommended by a tile professional or manufacturer, and avoid using harsh cleaners or scouring pads if tile and grout damage is likely. The sealed bit keeps the grout clean and needs to be painted, repaired, or re-grouted.

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