How To Clean Grout Like You Mean It

How To Clean Grout Like You Mean It

Tess Wilson
Aug 1, 2016
(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

If I were a better person, I'd be cleaning my grout right now, but instead I'm gathering tips and tricks to help you clean your grout. Pay it forward! If you can no longer see your reflection in your grout and want to restore it to its former resplendent glory, read on...

Don't want to clean your grout? Try this:

I've always rented, so my approach to grout has been rather lackadaisical: I clean and scrub the bathroom, of course, but I don't have a lifelong bond with the grout that inspires me to do right by it. Time to bring in the experts!

Ask A Clean Person: The Hairpin's regular feature Ask A Clean Person is a goldmine of advice and overarching cleaning philosophy/enthusiasm. In the feature on cleaning floors, grout is tackled with OxyClean or bleach and water, never abrasive cleaners. Their advice is: "sweep or dry mop first, then handsies & kneesies scrub, then polish with a dry cloth." The entire post is helpful and charming, and has totally changed my floor cleaning approach.

Bob Villa: Mr. This Old House's method really appeals to me: spread a baking soda and water paste on grout lines, spraying vinegar over that, and then scrubbing with a brush. It's like making a volcano, and I already own all of those products.

Martha Stewart: But then Martha comes in and complicates matters! "Steer clear of lime and mineral scalers and white vinegar, which damage grout... Fight the urge to use bleach or ammonia, too; they won't get rid of mold, and they will harm grout and tile." No vinegar, no bleach — what's a grout owner to do? Martha recommends a multi-step regime involving a yearly grout sealing, weekly gentle scrubbing with a grout brush and ph-neutral products, and grout poultices and restorers as needed for deeper cleaning. That's a lot of stuff.

Better Homes & Gardens: BH&G is the diplomat of the group, recommending bleach solutions, baking soda + vinegar, and grout sealants. My favorite tip: "To get twice the scrubbing power, use an old electric toothbrush." How have I never thought of that?!

Popular Mechanics: The mechanics defy A Clean Person by advocating scrubbing with scouring powder...

DIY Network: But the DIY Network goes a step further by advising us to clean grout with sandpaper! And if the sandpaper doesn't work, perhaps a pencil eraser will do the trick? I feel like I'd try the eraser before the sandpaper, just to be safe.

So, now that the experts have weighed in, I'd like to hear from you. What grout cleaning method works best for you? After reading all of these, I'm going to start using the baking soda vinegar combination for regular cleaning, reserving the bleach solution approach for serious situations and stains. We'll see how I get on.

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