Cleaning Grout Tips

For a faster, more profitable home sale

How to clean grout.

Cleaning grout throughout your home can make the difference between selling your house fast or having buyers walk away.

Dirty grout lines are not a good look and will make your bathroom, kitchen, and any tiled floors look old and dingy.

This may also cause buyers to have the impression that your home has been neglected in other areas, as well.

As a former real estate agent, I can attest to that.

Cleaning tile grout, whether on a kitchen backsplash, a bathroom, or on the entryway floor, is a time consuming project, requiring a few tools and a bit of elbow grease.

The fresh-looking results are well worth all the trouble, as your home will look clean and appealing to buyers.

How to clean grout

Pretty white glass tiled kitchen.This shiny white tile backsplash takes this kitchen over the top!

Note: Don't use acidic cleaners or products containing bleach on natural stone tile, such as: travertine, granite, marble, slate and limestone. Acidic products and bleach will damage natural stone, and over time, damage the grout, as well.

Nontoxic and natural grout cleaners

There are a multitude of different methods for cleaning grout, some of them quite unconventional and crazy! I have personally tried all of the grout-cleaning methods on this page.

White vinegar - Heat 2 to 4 cups of white vinegar, WARM, not hot. Pour into a spray bottle and spray on grout lines. Let it set for a few minutes, then scrub with a soft-bristled scrub brush. Rinse with clean water. (Note: DO NOT USE vinegar on unsealed grout! It must be sealed.)

Shaving cream - I was skeptical, but curious of this method, so I just had to try it. I grabbed my husband's shaving cream and tested it. The result was pretty good! After a little scrubbing, the grout was really white. I'll definitely use this cheap, nontoxic, and easy method again. Here's what I did...

I sprayed the shaving cream (Gillette Fusion Pro-glide Gel) on the grout lines, and worked it in with my fingers. I let it set for 10 minutes, then scrubbed gently with a damp toothbrush, (or try a soft-bristled scrub brush). Rinse with clean water.

White vinegar, baking soda & lemon juice - To 7 cups of water add; 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar. Mix together in a bucket, then apply the mixture to the dirty grout with a toothbrush or an old paintbrush. Allow the solution to set for a couple minutes, then scrub gently with a toothbrush. Rinse well with clean water, then wipe off with a damp rag. (This is a very acidic mixture. DON'T apply this to unsealed grout.)

Listerine? - If you google "How to clean grout," a bunch of websites will pop up proclaiming the miracle of using Listerine on tile grout. As a true skeptic, I had to try this. (I will never recommend a product or method I haven't tried.) Sadly, there was no miracle. I was NOT impressed with the results-- it did okay, but required more scrubbing. Other methods just work better.

If you want to try this, spray full strength Listerine on grout lines and leave on for at least 5 minutes. Use a soft scrub brush or toothbrush to scour the dirt away. Rinse well with clean water.

Baking soda & vinegar - Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar. You'll need a damp toothbrush or small scrub brush. Apply the paste to the grout lines and scrub gently with the brush until the grime comes off. Rinse with clean water. 

See the video below by "essortment" for a demonstration on how to do this.

Commercial grout cleaners

ZEP Grout Cleaner and Whitener.

Cleaning grout with Zep Grout Cleaner & Whitener

Zep cleaning and whitening product has received many great reviews. Although it's only for use on floor tile, I confess to sneaking a little on my shower tiles as well, because it works so well.

Don't use Zep Grout cleaner and whitener on marble, stone, metal or Corian. ZEP doesn't contain any bleach and requires little or no scrubbing to clean grout.

Another positive is the lack of noxious fumes. Zep Grout Cleaner and Whitener is inexpensive, easy to use, and renders immediate results.

Homax Grout Whitener and Sealer.

How to clean grout with Homax Grout Whitener & Sealer

Homax Grout cleaner can be found at any home supply center. This product not only whitens grout, it seals it too, making it more resistant to soil, stains, and mildew.

Apply the product carefully to grout lines according to the instructions, then use a stiff grout brush to scrub clean. Suitable for use in showers and on floors.

Natural Stone Cleaners.

The best grout cleaners for natural stone

Rather then running the risk of damaging your natural stone tiles, it's best to purchase products made specifically for them. There are plenty of good products to choose from, but I have been pleased with Marblelife.

Marblelife also makes a handy grout cleaning kit that includes the following products below. You can purchase this kit at

  • Stone Cleaner (32 ounce)- Selected and formulated for your surface.
  • Soap Scum Remover (16 ounce)- designed to remove soap scum with ease and without scratching your glass, metal, tile or stone surfaces
  • Maxout Grout Cleaner (32 ounce) – to remove built up dirt to see the natural grout color again.  See our video and you’ll literally see the sand crystals in the grout glinting back they are so clean.
  • Microfiber Towel – These high surface area towels can clean effectively themselves as they adsorb oils and streak materials with ease, supercharging and already powerful line-up.

Cleaning grout with oxygenated bleach, a green cleaner

Oxygenated bleach is a compound of natural soda crystals and hydrogen peroxide, and is non-toxic to humans. This is the preferred bleach for those who are trying to live a "green" lifestyle.

You'll need:

  • Oxygenated bleach
  • Bucket
  • sponge
  • scrub brush
  • rag

Mix up a solution of 1/2 cup of oxygenated bleach with 1 gallon of warm or hot water in a bucket. Stir until dissolved.

Green tiled backsplash is like the jewelry of a kitchen.The sparkling clean green tile is the "jewelry" in this kitchen.
  • Pour the solution onto the affected area in workable sections or dip a sponge into the solution and wipe grout until it's completely saturated. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. If it dries while you wait, reapply more solution to the area.

  • After 15-30 minutes, scrub the grout with a brush in circular motions to release the grime.
  • With a clean wet rag, wash up all the lifted dirt, continually rinsing the rag as you go.
  • Rinse with clean water. Repeat this process if necessary until the grout is clean.

See the video demonstration below on how to clean grout with oxygenated bleach. Video by

As a last measure, clean stubborn grout stains with muriatic acid

I have personally used this product in my tiled shower with great results. Be careful not to splash on your skin, like I did when I was trying to remove grout haze.

Work in a well-ventilated area; open the window and turn on the fan. Wear gloves, goggles, and protective clothing.

Mix 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of muriatic acid in a bucket according to the manufacturer's instructions: Pour water in the bucket first, then add the acid.

Always add muriatic acid to water, not the reverse, as doing so will create a toxic chemical reaction.

Try this clever method by Michael Slone in the video below.

After you've cleaned the grout with the muriatic acid, you'll need to neutralize the grout area, because the acid is still working. Rinse the grout with a baking soda and water mixture to stop the action.

Don't Forget to Seal the Grout

After you have cleaned any tile grout, you MUST reseal the area with tile and grout sealer to further protect it. Sealing your tile will make the tile easier to maintain, as the sealant provides a protective barrier that keeps moisture from penetrating.

Be sure to get the right sealant for your tile type. 

Return from cleaning grout to declutter your bathroom

Go to home page

Updated 8-13-2022