How to clean grout: the best grout cleaning methods with or without bleach

Learn how to clean grout effectively with our grout cleaning tips – whether you're working with bleach or want ideas for chemical-free cleaning, here's everything you need to know

how to clean grout: white kitchen with metro tile wall and white cabinets and island by deVOL
(Image credit: deVOL)

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 make grout cleaning part of your regular cleaning schedule. And if you keep up to it– and ensure you have the right tile grout cleaner to hand – you'll find that it takes no time at all.

For the best results, make sure you clean tile grout before you move on to cleaning tiles as the dirt from the grouting will likely get onto the tiles. This way, you can simply wipe everything clean afterwards. 

Speaking of bathroom tiles and the likes, be sure to take a look at our bathroom ideas if you're considering overhauling your existing space

How to clean grout

Use these tips to learn how to clean grout quickly and with as little elbow grease as possible.

1. Cleaning tile grout with bleach

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. 

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. 

Either way, when cleaning tile grout in this way you should finish by rinsing down the area with a showerhead or wet cloth and allow the grout to dry fully before deciding if you need to take another run at it. And 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.

2. Try this homemade tile and 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. 

Find more ways to clean with vinegar and baking soda in our guides.

3. How to clean tile grout in a shower

Cleaning tile grout in a shower can be particularly tricky, not least because it sees the biggest build up of grime. These are our grout cleaning tips for the best results:

  • Run a hot shower with the door and windows closed for a few minutes before you start cleaning. 
  • Then, depending on whether you want to use a chemical cleaner or not, follow our tips for cleaning tile grout with bleach, or using a homemade cleaner as detailed above. But, instead of using a toothbrush, reach 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. 

4. How to clean floor grout without scrubbing

With the walls done, you can move on to cleaning grout between floor tiles. 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, as this will not only save time but also reduce the likelihood of backache.

The easiest way to do so is to invest the best steam cleaner. If you've never tried one before, you'll be amazed at how effective they are at, quite literally, blasting away dirt and grime. Great news when cleaning tile grout, we're sure you'll agree.

The best grout cleaner

Let's cut to the chase: we’re fans of HG Grout Cleaner (in fact, we're pretty sold on their whole range – the mould remover is particularly effective, too). 

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 to clean tile grout with a cleaner:

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. 

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.

Why grout cleaning is important

Do 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.

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