I Trust This Cheap Secret to Clean Shower Grout (And It’s Probably Already in Your Bathroom)

published Jun 14, 2021
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Pretty shower with black tile, white shower curtain pulled aside

I hate grout. If I could, I’d get rid of most of it from my house. The worst is our kitchen grout, which is a light color — you can imagine how dirty it gets and how quickly. Even after having it professionally cleaned, it reverts back to its dingy state practically before I can fully enjoy its clean one. I’ve spent many hours on my hands and knees trying out different grout-cleaning methods that I can do myself and I’ve had varying success. I know I can do it. I’d just rather not have to.

And then there’s the grout in bathrooms. While we aren’t spilling coffee or spaghetti sauce in the shower, the bathroom presents a new problem of mold and biofilm that thrives in moist environments. Just like dirty grout is off-putting in the room where we prepare our food, it’s unappealing in the space where we clean our bodies.

The extra tricky thing about grout-cleaning in the bathroom is that you may have vertical grout to clean. The corners are particularly challenging. In addition, mold and mildew can be stubborn and require more contact time with cleaning products. When applying cleaners to vertical lines of grout, the cleaner runs down the wall, reducing contact time with the actual grout.

This drippy method works, but it isn't ideal.

There’s a clever solution, though, and all you need is something you probably already have in your bathroom: cotton balls.

You may have never done it before, but cotton balls can be unrolled. Grab on to the outside of a cotton ball and “break” it on the outer layer. Then you can spread it out into a longer piece of cotton. Set this piece of cotton out along the vertical corner, or along the bottom corners too, if you have stubborn mold there.

Next, spray the cotton liberally with your mold and mildew cleaner. This technique allows the cleaner to soak into trouble spots. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or longer and then remove the cotton (use gloves if it contains bleach) and rinse clean. Use a pitcher or squeeze a sponge to rinse if you don’t have a shower wand. Repeat if necessary, adding a scrubbing step after removing the cotton, if necessary.