How to clean grout – the best ways to tackle shower, wall and floor tiles

This is how to clean grout on your bathroom or kitchen tiles like a professional. Use bleach, baking soda, vinegar or another method to tackle stained grout lines in a flash

Grey bathroom with star tiles
(Image credit: Dulux)

Knowing how to clean 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, but it can also ruin the look of a room. So, it's important to treat grout as part of your regular sprucing schedule. 

Thankfully it's easy to clean grout using household products like bleach, but also natural cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar too. All you need is a toothbrush, about half an hour max, and a little elbow grease, of course.

Once you get into the rhythm, you'll find that it takes no time at all to restore your grout lines to greatness, whether you've white, grey, black or another color grout. What's important, is that that unappealing yellow color – or heaven forbid black mould – will be gone.

Why cleaning grout is important

Those little black spots that keep appearing on your tile grout are in fact mildew – and spores from it are easily released into the rest of the room. 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.

We spoke with Victoria Plumbing about cleaning grout in the right way. 'Tackling discoloured or mould infested grout can feel like a never-ending battle. TikTok user @sarah_nde shared a step-by-step video showing how she removes the build-up of dirt from her bathroom grout using a bottle of toilet cleaner. Firstly, she coats the grout in the toilet cleaner. Once the solution has been set for a couple of minutes, she scrubs it using an old toothbrush. It wasn’t long before the dirt started to lift.' From an experts point of view, 'Toilet cleaner contains high levels of powerful acidic chemicals and using this solution can cause damage to tile grout. Instead, use a diluted bleach solution - and don’t forget to wear protective gloves and open a window.'

Keep scrolling for the different ways to tackle grout and you'll find more expert tips too.

Black framed shower screen in a Crittall style with white metro tiles and matt black shower head

(Image credit: Victoria Plum)

How to clean grout in the shower

  1. Run a hot shower with the door and windows closed for a few minutes before you start cleaning grout from your wall tiles. 
  2. Mix bleach with baking soda or bicarbonate of soda to make a paste (think toothpaste consistency).
  3. Use a small, soft material like cotton wool or cotton buds to get the mixture into the tile grout in the corners of the shower and leave it for 15 minutes.
  4. Wiping down walls after your shower with a clean, dry cloth can help limit the grime and mould that water encourages.
  5. Pay special attention to those corners, as well as the bottom of the wall, to avoid a build-up of water.

The kitchen floor has 3D-effect patterned tiles, which contrast with the pale pink of the walls

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

How to clean grout on floor tiles

  1. Mix one cup of peroxide with one cup of baking soda in a bowl wearing gloves.
  2. Apply to your floor grout either using a spray bottle or with an old toothbrush and let is sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub scrub scrub with your toothbrush and rinse with warm water.
  4. For large tiled floors you can avoid scrubbing when cleaning grout by investing in the  best steam mop or cleaner.

Cleaning grout with baking soda and vinegar

A great option if you want a natural grout cleaning solution. Mix baking soda (fizzier) or bicarbonate of soda with a little water to form a paste and apply it to the grout using an old toothbrush. Next, spray with white vinegar and let it fizz. Then gently scrub away the grime and rinse well with warm water. 

pink ceramic gloss bathroom tiles

(Image credit: Walls & Floor)

Cleaning grout with bleach

  1. If you're planning on cleaning grout between tiles with a chemical cleaner, such as bleach, there are several ways of going about this. The quickest and easiest method is to pour a little neat bleach into a cup then take an old toothbrush, dip it in and apply it to the grout. 
  2. Alternatively, you can mix bleach with some baking soda or bicarbonate 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. 
  3. Either way, finish by rinsing down the area with a clean shower head or wet cloth and allow the grout to dry fully before deciding if you need to take another run at it. 
  4. Remember, 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.

Kitchen tiles for small kitchens

(Image credit: Original Style)

What is the best homemade tile grout cleaner?

The easiest way to get clean tile grout using a homemade grout cleaner is by simply mixing baking soda and white vinegar in a bowl until you form a thick paste. 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 tile grout cleaner to work its magic for 30 minutes, then rinse off with clean water and wipe any residue. Repeat as necessary if your grouting isn't sparkling clean straight away.

How to clean grout mold

  1. We’re fans of HG's mould remover which works on different grout colors also, Just make sure you’re wearing gloves to use it. 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. Ue a shower head to remove loose dirt with clean lukewarm water and leave to dry. 
  4. Repeat the treatment if necessary. 

Bathroom tile ideas

(Image credit: Tile Mountain)
  • Use our guide to find out more about getting rid of mould and mildew out of everything from grout to leather.

How to clean tile grout 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.

Expert tips on cleaning grout

Martha Stewart and Melissa Maker make quick work of stubborn stains with a Magic Eraser.

Lynsey Crombie AKA Queen of Clean suggest 'Use a small hard brush to scrub the grout and the tiles. Rinse with warm clean water and then buff dry.' 

And Crombie's star product is 'The Sonic Scrubber is great for grout and removing limescale from taps'. Two in one!

Likewise Mrs Hinch after followers politely pointed out that she's missed cleaning the tile grout when cleaning her shower – uses a Sonic Scrubber too, plus one of her favorite commercial cleaning products. 'I missed the tile grout.'Thanks for your messages guys I didn't even notice the tile grout 😂😂😂.' 'I've got my Sonic Scrubber and the pink stuff.'

SonicScrubber Household Electrical Cleaning Brush (Combi Pack)
The must=-have tool to clean your tile grout

SonicScrubber Household Electrical Cleaning Brush (Combi Pack) from $25.97/£18.99 on Amazon

Buffed and beautiful. You are so welcome.

Ellen Finch
Ellen Finch

After a stint writing for true life titles, Ellen made her venture into the world of interiors in 2017 on Real Homes magazine. Now deputy editor, she's always taking inspiration from Real Homes' clever tips and tricks for renters, and has a special interest in sustainability in the home.