Knowing how to clean tile grout is a key skill to add to your cleaning arsenal, whether you're tackling bathroom tiles, floor tiles or kitchen wall tiles. Not only is dirty grout unhygienic and potentially bad for your health, but it can ruin the look of a room, too, so it's important to make cleaning tiles part of your regular cleaning schedule.
Clean tile grout before you move on to cleaning tiles. The dirt from the grouting will probably get onto the tiles, so you can wipe it all clean afterwards. Speaking of bathroom tiles and the likes, be sure to take a look at our bathroom hub for ideas and inspiration.
Find out all you need to know about how to clean tile grout in this guide, then check out our guide on how to clean tiles to complete the job.
Why clean tile grout?
You know those little black spots that keep appearing on your tile grout? That's mildew – and spores from it are pretty easily released into the rest of the room. And take it from us, you don't want to be breathing them in – especially if you suffer from conditions such as asthma already. So, knowing how to clean tile grout isn't just about caring for your bathroom or kitchen's looks, it's about your health, too. Use our guide to find out more about getting rid of mould and mildew out of everything from grout to leather.
1. How to clean tile grout with bleach
If you're using a heavier chemical cleaner, such as bleach, to clean tile grout, always open the windows to minimise fumes, and take care over what products you're using together.
There are various ways of doing this. You can pour a little neat bleach into a cup then take an old toothbrush, dip it in and apply it to the grout. Or you can mix bleach with some baking soda/bircarbonate of soda to make a paste (think toothpaste consistency); apply it to the grout, leave for 15 minutes then take the brush to the grout and scrub at it to work away the grime. Finally, rinse with a shower head or wet cloth and allow the grout to dry fully before deciding if you need to take another run at it.
2. What is the best homemade grout cleaner?
Rather not use harsh chemicals? The easiest way to get tile grout looking as good as new using a homemade grout cleaner is by simply mixing baking soda and white vinegar in a bowl until a thick paste forms. Work the paste between the tiles into the grouting with an old toothbrush. Don't be afraid to use a bit of elbow grease!
Leave the solution to work its magic for 30 minutes, then rinse off with clean water and wipe any residue with a soft microfibre cloth.
3. How to clean grout in a shower
Cleaning grout in a shower can be particularly tricky, not least because it sees the biggest build up of grime.
Run a hot shower with the door and windows closed for a few minutes before you start cleaning. Then use one of the methods above, but swap the toothbrush for a small, soft material like cotton wool or cotton buds to get the bleach or baking soda mixture into the grouting in the corners of the shower.
Wiping down walls after your shower with a clean, dry cloth can help limit the grime and mould that water encourages. Pay special attention to those corners, as well as the bottom of the wall, to avoid a build-up of water. Find out how to clean a shower in our guide if you want to finish the job.
And, ensure the room is well ventilated: reducing condensation in the room by opening windows or running an extractor fan will actively discourage more mould appearing. If that all sounds like hard work, take a look at our next tip – it can be used on walls, too.
4. How to clean floor grout without scrubbing
With the walls done, you can move on to the floor. While you can use any of the methods listed above, if there's a large area, you might like to know how to clean floor grout without scrubbing to save time (and back ache).
The easiest way to do so is to invest in a steam cleaner, like the Shark Klik N' Flip Steam Pocket Mop S6001UK, which came top in our pick of the best steam cleaners. If you've never tried one you'll be amazed how effective they are at, quite literally, blasting away dirt and grime.
What is the best grout cleaner?
Back to the grout cleaner: it cleans and restores colour, and suits different grout types. It works on both walls and floors, too. Just make sure you’re wearing gloves to use it. Here's how:
1. Spray the grout with the product, leave it to work for a few minutes.
2. Brush the grout with a stiff brush (an old toothbrush is perfect; an old nail brush will do).
3. Use a showerhead to remove loose dirt with clean lukewarm water and leave to dry.
4. Repeat the treatment if necessary.
Using a grout pen
If, once you've cleaned your tile grout, it still looks unsatisfyingly yellow or grey, take a grout pen to it (the next best thing to hacking out the old grout and regrouting). It won't clean your tiles and it won't last forever but it will brighten the tile grout for some time. These pens usually have anti-fungal properties so they'll discourage mould growth, too.