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How can I Clean Tile Grout?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Grout is a type of plaster which fills in the cracks between tiles, keeping them together and preventing damage to the sides of the tiles. With time, grout can get dirty, especially the grout used around kitchen and bathroom tiles which are exposed to food, soaps, and lots of water. It is relatively easy to clean tile grout, especially when it is regularly maintained.

The best way to clean tile grout is to keep it clean: at least once a year, scrub down the grout, dry it thoroughly and apply a commercial grout sealer to keep liquid out. If the grout begins to crack or crumble, it should be replaced. Damage to grout not only looks unsightly: it can reflect damage to the surface underneath the tiles, or can result in damage to the tiles.

When grout becomes dirty, there are products specially designed to clean tile grout which you can put to use. Many of these products come packaged with tile cleaner, so that you can apply the cleaning solution to the whole tiled area, allow it to sit, and then scrub it off. Follow the manufacturer's directions about waiting times: it is easier to clean grout when a cleanser is allowed to fully penetrate and loosen all the dirt. Protective gloves should be worn when working with cleaners.

Most tile grout becomes infested with mildew and mold if it is in a splash area. In addition to staining the grout, these growths tend to cause a peculiar smell, and you may want to use a bleach cleaner to eradicate mildew and mold altogether. Cleaning with bleach will restore the grout to its original color and eliminate mold and mildew spores which could grow again.

Many people find a stiff scrub brush or special grout brush useful when they clean tile grout. The bristles of the brush can be used to abrade dirt from the surface of the tile grout, although it does require more physical effort. The result is well worth the strain, however, as a bathroom or kitchen can be totally transformed by the look of clean grout. After the grout has been scrubbed, dry it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of sealer.

For regular maintenance of tile grout, use mild cleansers and a gentle brush or scrubber to clean tile grout. If you keep your tile grout clean by caring for it on a weekly basis, the annual stripping and re-sealing of the grout will require far less work. In addition, the grout will look nice and smell good. Add this gentle cleaning of grout to your weekly kitchen or bathroom cleaning regimen.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon327332 — On Mar 27, 2013

Clean the tiles and the grout the easiest way. I recommend using wax stripper. No need for scrubbing. Just apply it according to instructions (usually with a mop).

By anon194349 — On Jul 07, 2011

Great post! a very practical one! l hope you will be posting more related articles about tile grout cleaning. I'll be following your site for more practical ideas about it. Thanks! keep on posting!

By debbiethomas — On Sep 10, 2010

With three types of grout named above, shouldn't there be a different way to clean each type?

By Babalaas — On Jul 09, 2010

@ GlassAxe- I would just like to add a few things. Make sure that you remove all the crumbled grout, or the new grout will suffer the same fate. In addition, you can use a wet cloth or grout sponge to clean the excess grout off the tile. Just be sure not to scrape away any of the new grout that is drying.

You also need to make sure that the grout is completely dry before sealing. You should wait a few days before applying the sealant. Enjoy your renewed tile.

By GlassAxe — On Jul 09, 2010

@ Olittlewood- Replacing grout is an easy job for a do-it-yourselfer. It is still important to clean the grout before you replace it, so that you remove as much mildew, mold, and other contaminants as possible.

To replace grout you will need a grout saw, new grout, a grout float, silicone grout sealant, and a little patience. Use the grout saw to remove all of the damaged grout, grinding away anything that is mildewed, cracked, or missing. Once ground out, use a shop vacuum to suck out the old grout, and then wash with a wet towel. When applying the grout it is important make sure the remaining grout is damp.

Apply the new grout in the spaces between the tiles and use the grout float to spread it into the gaps. Use your finger to smooth the joints once filled.

Once you clean off any excess grout, let it dry and seal.

By olittlewood — On Jan 04, 2008

what if your grout is so far gone that cleaning doesn't really have any affect? how do you go about regrouting your tile if that time has come? is it something the average do it yourselfer can do by him or herself, or do you have to hire a professional?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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