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How to Clean Ceramic Tile & Grout

How on earth do you clean ceramic tile and grout…and what products work best?

This was a question I was pondering while taking a shower the other day. Primarily because the grout on our shower’s ceramic floor wasn’t looking so good.

I try to keep our shower clean, but with two adults and two kids, it’s pretty darn hard to maintain Mr. Clean’s level of tidiness (hey, the guy has no hair and that helps a lot with keeping showers looking immaculate).

We have small 2-inch by 2-inch square tiles on our shower floor (sound familiar) and my primary goal was to determine the best way to clean them. I also wanted to see if the same solution used to clean the ceramic tile could clean the grout.

Here’s what I used

I’ve read so many articles on the awesomeness of OxiClean (oxygenated bleach) and wanted to see for myself how it would work on ceramic tile & grout.

My wife bought Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner from a salesperson in our neighborhood because it’s supposedly non-toxic and kid-friendly. We’ve used it for general cleaning and it seemed like a good thought to try it on the shower, too.

And as a last resort, I tried Chlorox bleach. It’s not my preference due to the noxious fumes and the likelihood you’ll ruin your clothes using it.

Admittedly I hit a roadblock the first few times I used OxiClean. I’ll share my experience because it sheds light on the amount of OxiClean I found to have the most power. At the very least you’ll want to scroll through the pictures since I was growing my cheesy mustache to raise money for prostate cancer awareness.

Let’s get started!


How Much OxiClean Powder Should be Used to Clean Ceramic Tile & Grout?

This is a great question because everyone’s ceramic tile & grout has a different level of dirtiness.

Let’s first discuss how the makers of OxiClean recommend using it for hard surfaces like tile & grout.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile & Grout-OxiClean

The directions on the OxiClean container say to fill the OxiClean scoop to line 4 and add it to 1 gallon of water. It’s also suggested that a more concentrated solution/paste may be required for surfaces like grout and I’m certainly going to discuss this point.

They then recommend applying the OxiClean & water solution to tile with a sponge or brush or by pouring it directly on top of the surface. And the final step is to let the OxiClean stand on the tile & grout for 5-30 minutes and to not let it dry out.

Okay, that’s what you’ll read on the OxiClean box.

I performed 3 different tests on my ceramic tile to see what concentration of OxiClean would work best. My hope was that I’d only have to do one experiment and POOF, I’d be be a cleaning genius.

But no such luck.

The first test I did used 1/2 cup of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. I let the solution stand on the tile & grout for 30 minutes and scrubbed for about 5 minutes. This produced somewhat cleaner grout but the tile didn’t look any better.

The second test used 1 cup of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. Again, I let the solution stand on the tile & grout for 30 minutes and scoured for 5 minutes. The results were a mixed bag. The grout was clean in some areas and dirty in others as was the tile.

The third test involved 2 cups of OxiClean added to 1 gallon of hot water. This time I let the solution stand for 60 minutes and scrubbed for 5 minutes at the beginning and end. As a result, the tile & grout looked much better. The tile in particular sparkled and some of the grime I couldn’t get off with the scrub brush in tests #1 and #2 was completely gone.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile and Grout-How much OxiClean to Use

My conclusion is that 2 cups of OxiClean mixed with one gallon of hot water will defintely clean ceramic tile. I barely had to use the nylon scrub brush to get the tiles looking brand new. This concentration will also eliminate mild grout stains and dirt.

But there were still sections of discolored grout. Maybe my grout was too far gone to be cleaned by OxiClean but that doesn’t mean I gave up.

Why Should You Use Oxygenated Bleach to Clean Ceramic Tile?

I try to stay as healthy as possible. And one sure way to get sick is to expose yourself to harsh chemicals. Plus, my kids use the same bathroom and shower as us. So the last thing I want to do is use chlorine bleach or some other product that could harm their lungs & skin.

Oxygenated bleach contains sodium percarbonate. When oxygenated bleach is dissolved in water a chemical reaction occurs that releases hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate.

This reaction is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Plus, oxygenated bleach doesn’t contain chlorine. So you don’t have to worry about it discoloring carpets or clothing while cleaning tile & grout.

(IMPORTANT, never mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide as this reaction forms peracetic acid which can melt lead bullets. I mention this because many people might try vinegar to clean tile THEN use OxiClean, a bad idea altogether!!)


Can Eco Orange or Chlorox Clean Shower Tile & Grout?

At this point in my experiment, the shower tile was immaculate. The grout was driving me nuts. Even though each successive OxiClean treatment improved the grout’s look there were still discolored grout lines on some portions of the shower floor.

Enter Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner. This stuff is expensive at $80 per gallon. Like I said in the introduction we’ve used it to clean different areas of our home like sinks, bathtubs, floors, etc. It’s marketed as being safe and non-toxic which is important to us because we have 2 young daughters.

It works really well as a general cleaner (as it should for that price, holy mother of mercy).

I used 1 part Eco Orange to 2 parts water. In this case 2 cups of Eco Orange to 4 cups of warm water. Once mixed thoroughly I poured it onto the shower tile & grout and scrubbed the grout for 5 minutes with a nylon brush.

Then I rinsed the shower floor with clean water. Unfortunately, the grout was still discolored. If I had to just tidy up the shower floor I’d most certainly use Eco Orange because it would do a good job eliminating superficial dirt. But grout renewer it is not.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile and Grout-Eco Orange Citrus Cleaner

Moving on to Chlorox bleach.

I really dislike using Chlorox bleach, but wanted to see if it could make a dent in my grout. After putting on rubber gloves, a respirator, and eye protection I mixed 3/4 cup of Chlorox with 2 cups of water.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile and Grout-Chlorox bleach requires protective gear

This is super concentrated but that’s the point. I didn’t want to perform multiple experiments with bleach.

I scrubbed the tile grout for 5 minutes and let the Chlorox stand on the tile surface for another 10. Then I rinsed with clean water.

After saying a little prayer to the grout gods (just kidding, but if they existed you know I would kneel in reverence) and waiting 10 minutes, I checked on the grout.

Sorry folks, Chlorox just didn’t help in this case.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile and Grout-Chlorox bleach

So what shall I do?

The shower tile is looking fantastic but the grout is still discolored in some areas.

Cleaning Shower Ceramic Tile and Grout-Mixed results

I started Home Repair Tutor to share my wins and losses to help others. This is a tie πŸ™‚

My hope was that one of these three products could have cleaned both the tile and grout in our shower. I’m confident that OxiClean can clean anyone’s ceramic tiles. And while it didn’t fully live up to my grout cleansing expectations I think you should try it since it helped brighten up about 60% of our grout lines.

It’s relatively affordable at $7.52 and worth a shot since it’s non-toxic.

I may try a few other products in order to get my tile grout looking better.

What’s Next

Our other tutorial shares a second method for cleaning grout – this time with a little help from a power tool!!

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.



Clean Ceramic Tile, Clean Tile Grout

  1. Jessica says:

    There’s something that I think is called Grout Renew or Grout Refresh. It’s available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. I’ve seen rave reviews on various blogs. It comes in different colors, which makes me wonder if it’s a cleaner or more like a paint or resurfacer. It sounds like it’s worth a shot, though.

    1. Thanks Jessica for the tip. I saw this product in the store. I wanted to see if I could clean the grout first but it could be an option down the road. Isn’t grout the most difficult area to keep clean? I swear it turns gray the instant you look at it πŸ™

      1. Susan Denise Drake says:

        Hi Jeff.
        Re tile and grout cleaning.
        First if you redo a bath, choose a color of grout thats already darker, not white..half of your problem solved.
        Second…hate to say it but full strength bleach has been successful for me on white grout.
        Most importantly, to get the best result one has to be part chemist.
        If the stains are body dirt and soap scum…ie alkyline, try vinegar.
        If they are rust stains( the worst in my experience) oxy or bleach may work. Is the water hard or soft? All these aspects need to be considered to get the best result. Ask you friendly 60 yr old who also happens to be a bath designer. ☺

      2. Me says:

        Hi Jeff! Stumbled across this blog while I was looking for ways to clean ground in dirt on ceramic limestone-look tiles, and had to chuckle about your comments over cleaning grout. I used to have this problem with a high traffic area in my kitchen. It was AWFUL, until I read online to use Shout in the grout lines. Believe it or not, it’s like a miracle worker on grout. Not sure why, but I got my grout cleaner with that than any other product, and saved a bunch of $$$. You basically spray it on, let it sit for a minute or two, then go back over it with a nylon scrub brush (I used a toothbrush because I’m crazy like that), and it looks good as new. πŸ™‚ Hope this works for you and anyone else searching for easy peasy grout cleaners!

        1. Thanks for the great tip! I’ll have to give Shout a try.

    2. JanieB says:

      I do not know about grout renew, but after going through all the machinations you have discussed with various cleaners, I did indeed paint my grout. That works for a while. How does reglazing work on the stains? It sounds like that might be helpful.

      1. Lindsey says:

        I have used the mapei grout renew. It’s amazing. It seems as it would take less time to do it vs the various cleaning methods you’ve tried.

        The beauty (I’ve used in my kitchen, laundry, and powder room so far)? Everything beads off it! I spilled tomato sauce on it (a full year after I applied it) and nothing! It like it has a wax coating with just makes cleaning so much easier on a general basis.

        I found this article because we just had a brand new mast shower installed with small hex tiles and I really didn’t wanna spend the time to go over it (in the same color) with the renew because it is hard work. But it looks like it’ll be more than worth it in the long run.

        1. Thanks Lindsey for mentioning Mapei’s grout renew, I’ll have to check that out and do a tutorial.

  2. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles says:

    Well, Jeff, you could always do what I did in our guest bath- paint the walls soon after putting down new floor tile. Make sure you dump the can of paint when you move the ladder, because you forgot to remove the aforementioned can of paint before moving the said ladder…. πŸ˜›

    1. Oh my gosh!! That sounds painful. We’ve all done stuff like that and it almost happens in slow motion. I’m guessing you had quite the cleanup on your hands even with a drop cloth.

      I once spilled paint all over myself when painting a ceiling. Not fun πŸ™

      But these make for great stories.

      1. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles says:

        Um, yeah, about the drop cloth…. :/

        1. You cracked me up with your response. Thanks Sheila for your great sense of humor, at least we can laugh about our prior mishaps with paint πŸ™‚

        2. Andrew Bigler says:

          SheilaG, I firmly believe in using drop clothes or plastic sheeting while painting. My floor is a fantastic example of failing to use said tools.

          1. Dito Andrew, getting paint on carpet is no fun

  3. Tanya says:

    I have used Comet (and the Ajax brand of the same thing) to clean grout in a kitchen and it worked wonders!!! I made a thin paste and applied it, scrubbed it, then let it sit for 30ish minutes, then scrubbed again and rinsed it away!

    1. That’s another ingenious tip Tanya. I’ll give that a shot. I love using Comet in our kitchen sink to clean and disinfect.

      Thank you so much for providing the specific directions and letting me know how long to let the paste sit on the grout πŸ™‚

    2. I too use Comet for grout discoloration. However, remember that it too, as well as Ajax, both have chlorine in them…so do be careful with fumes. And sometimes when I’m lazy I just spray liquid bleach right on the grout! I put the exhaust fan on and work in short spurts…as long as I can hold my breath between spray times…;-) The truth of the matter is, once the grout is really badly discolored you’ll probably not find anything in the home cleaner line that will get it perfectly cleaned πŸ™ So the trick is, clean well/clean often…Yes, it’s tough when the family uses the shower a lot.

      There are other specific grout cleaners out there as others have mentioned. I’ve never used them but would love to know how they work, if they’re reasonably priced etc. because our home now has a grouted shower…Before it was an all-in-one shower stall that was much easier to clean.

      1. Thanks Connie for the Ajax tip. Grout is so tough to maintain and I’ve given thought to using epoxy formulas but they are tricky to apply.

        I spoke with the technical support line today at Custom Building Products. They make Polyblend grout and recommended sulfamic acid to clean grout. So this might be my last resort before regrouting the shower floor.

        I think it would be interesting to remove the grout and try an epoxy formula.

    3. Jessica says:

      Hi I my name is Jessica I wanted to comment on the grout … I have subway tiles in the bathroom I use a Brillo pad to remove the grout it came off right away

    4. Just Me says:

      The army uses Comet/Ajax to clean its floors, walls, latrines, etc. I’ve scrubbed (stripped the wax off) countless vinyl tile floors with a buffer, water and Comet with a gang of other unlucky soldiers on a Sunday night. It works.

  4. Theresa James says:

    For literally years, I have tried every product and home recipe that I have found to try and keep my husband’s shower clean. So far, I have found nothing that cleaned to my satisfaction. Recently, I found a home recipe on a web site, so as usual, I mixed it up and tried it. To my utter disbelief, after the cleaning, it was as if I was looking at a new shower! Mix this up and give it a try. Heat 1 cup of white vinegar in the microwave for 90 seconds. Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle. Add one cup of BLUE Dawn dishwashing liquid. (I don’t know why it must be blue, however, that was stressed). Shake to mix. Spray the area to be cleaned (tile, glass, fixtures) with this mixture. It will spray on like a gel. Let it sit for 2 hours. After the 2 hours, scrub all surfaces (scrub if you want – I only needed to rub ), rinse and stand back and see the sparkle! This mixture does smell really bad, but the smell dissipates fairly quickly. Hope it does as good for you as it has done for me.

    1. Theresa, this is super interesting. I will definitely try it. Do you recommend any special type of spray bottle? The heating of the vinegar seems to be the key action.

      This is right up my alley: very chemistry oriented. Brings back memories of organic chemistry class and beakers exploding, haha. I’ll let you know how it works.

      1. Theresa James says:

        Jeff, I just used a regular 1 quart spray bottle with a trigger spray. I got some at Lowe’s, I believe.

        1. Thank you so much Theresa. I’ll be visiting Lowes today to pickup some supplies πŸ™‚

          1. Theresa James says:

            Great, Jeff. Please let me know what you think.

    2. Dana says:

      I have seen this recipe and actually a modified version that I tried just yesterday for calcified and hard water stains around the kitchen and bath faucets, as well as tub and tile.

      Fill 1/2 a spray bottle with Vinegar (warm or not, although I believe warm would be better)
      Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice (bottled juice is acceptable)
      Add your favorite dish soap (I used Dawn “Original”)

      I only wish I’d taken before and after pics of my kitchen and bath hardware to show you the difference, but you can try it for yourself. Really outstanding. I did not, however try this on my grout issues yet (I have the same one as you, Jeff). I cleaned my guest bath and shower with it yesterday, which was very clean anyway, so short of mentioning the tile & hardware having a sparkling finish, I can’t say much about the grout. If reapplication is needed for anyone after letting that solution sit for 30 minutes or more, I’d be surprised!

      Recently I tried “Soft Scrub Total All Purpose With Bleach” in my master shower which is the one with the grout issues. The application is similar to the above vinegar solution in that its foamy and stays where applied. I got some decent results, but certainly not perfection or renewal.

      A while back I’d tried Tilex Root and that absolutely restored the grout better, but its just seriously awful.

      My handyman directed me to a Grout Pen and that will absolutely cover and seal your grout if applied correctly, making it look pretty new again. I can’t tell you how fun it was to use that on my 1″ octagonal tiles! πŸ˜›

      Thank you for your great Blog!

      1. Thanks Dana for the great recipe.

        I agree with you on Tilex-it works by the bleachy smell is so overpowering that I don’t use it. Primarily because my wife’s asthma will be triggered.

        I’ve thought about the Grout Pen and called the company that makes it. They only recommend using it on grout that won’t be exposed to water. Thus my only choice at this point is to probably regrout the shower floor.

        But that should be a good post in the future πŸ™‚

        1. Dana says:

          Just updating and commenting about Teresa’s post and her recipe requiring the BLUE Dawn dishwashing liquid.

          I got funky and decided to try the Green Apple scented dawn because It is anti-bacterial. Although Vinegar is anti-bacterial, I thought I’d try the added anti-bacterial soap. I will say I did not find quite the same results, although fine results with a delightful apple smell. Much more appealing than the blue dawn recipe.

          Thanks again for the awesome blog! Kudos on a job well done!

          1. Cool idea Dana, thanks for sharing. I wonder if you could make it a half and half recipe.

            Half Green Apple and half Blue Dawn. It’s cool when we all try these different things, makes me think of high school chemistry.
            And fortunately there’s no chance of soap or vinegar exploding!

          2. merrell says:

            anti-bacterial soaps are oh so bad for the environment. they are killing the fish so please , you don’t need them at all! and while i am here, please don’t flush any old medicines down the toilet or sink as they are also so very harmful .

            I believe the ‘magic erasers’ have formaldehyde in them, or so I was told by a scientist friend. I am looking for non harmful ways to clean and love this site. thanks Jeff. will try the dawn and vinegar solution.

          3. I second your plea for not flushing medicines down the toilet or drain Merrell.

            The pharmacy will take old medicines at no cost. I did this with some left over meds we had πŸ˜€

      2. R. says:

        My husband went ballistic when I told him I sprayed vinegar on the tile and the grout, then proceeded to lecture me that vinegar is acid and will eat through the grout. He’s angry that I have “ruined” the grout, even though I haven’t, as far as I can tell, and he keeps reading articles from the internet that vinegar will burn through the grout. Can anyone who has used the vinegar and blue Dawn method confirm or deny the information about the grout and vinegar? Has anyone wrecked their grout?

    3. Laurie Fox says:

      Won’t the vinegar boil if it’s for 90 seconds? I, too, have tried multiple ways of trying to clean my kitchen floor grout (very light beige, almost white) and my shower tile floor grout (also very light beige). For the kitchen, I have used a paste made of baking soda and white vinegar. Leave it on for at least 30 min if very dirty then use a scrub brush (I used a toothbrush) to scrub. You might have to use a little more vinegar. Worked pretty well but since I did not seal the floor afterwards, 3 months later it was dirty again. Tried it in my shower but it didn’t work. I think it is too far gone.

      1. Matt Michel says:

        The most important thing to do after your hard work of scrubbing. Is to seal the floor. Otherwise you did all that hard work for nothing . You can buy any grout sealer at home depot or similar for twenty dollars. Then buy the grout sealer roll on brush for five dollars. Then follow directions on a bottle. Very simple. That or pay a company like mine to do it for fifty dollars. The sealer will protect stains for around three years, then simply redo the sealer. Most of the deep grout stains you won’t be able to remove. Its soaked all the way through. You can stain grout lines or replace the grout lines. But cleaning it will only get you so far. I have twenty years experience in this work, I’m happy to answer any questions. The grout [email protected] my name is Matt

        1. Thanks Matt for your comment, grout is such a tough thing for homeowners like us. Really appreciate your candid feedback πŸ™‚

          1. Luva Lynne Atitlan says:

            Thanks so much all of you for your comments and suggestions. I now have several ideas for how to clean my very dirty bathtub tiles and grout. Thanks Jeff for hosting this very useful forum. It’s exactly what I was looking for.

          2. You’re super welcome Luva. When I read comments like your’s it makes me want to make a ton of videos!!! So I’ll keep doing just that.

    4. susan says:

      Hi Theresa, the blue dawn is a grease cutter most of the time mildew grows under soap scum. Soap scum (is grease) has to be removed first then mold and mildew can be removed easily with hydrogen peroxide. I have been a house cleaner since 1986, I perfer bleach, it works the best.

      1. Theresa James says:

        Before I found this ‘recipe’ I had tried everything, including retail miracle cleaners, bleach, peroxide, just everything that I read or saw that was supposed to help this problem. No good results with any. I tried the Dawn/vinegar solution as I usually would in my search for something that would do the job. For once, something worked. I have used it ever since with great results!

        1. Hi Theresa,

          So glad to hear you had a success!!! I know that feeling when you’re at your wits end and need a solution badly. Cool beans πŸ™‚


        2. Sue Schultz says:

          Question about the dawn and vinegar. I tried this a long time ago when it first was listed on social media, and not on grout but, do you reheat the mixture when you want to use it again? Obviously when you make a spray bottle full or even half you’re going to have alot left. Appreciate your repsonse.

      2. Beverly says:

        I tried the vinegar and blue dawn formula. I did not like it. First, it was incredibly viscous and very difficult to spray. Second, I broke two sprayers in the process. Third, and most important, the results were nothing to write home about.
        Love this forum.

      3. Amy says:

        Hi Susan-

        2 part question-
        How do you remove the soap scum first and then how do you recommend cleaning the mildew with hydrogen peroxide?

    5. Joan Collier says:

      Going to make this mixture and hopefully have found a solution to ugly dirty grout. Tried many products and gets a little here and there, but overall, still ugly. Worst places, I have been painting. Lasts a little while, then comes off. Estimate for steam cleaning was $500. Don’t want to pay that much. Don’t know how much would cost to have regrouted.

      1. Hi Joan,

        $500 is a lot of loot. You might be able to re-grout for that price depending on the area. And certainly could re-grout it yourself for much much less. How big is your surface area? If it’s a powder room you could get it done in a weekend for sure. I’d volunteer but my wife has be doing other stuff for the next several months-LOL.


      2. Theresa James says:

        I sure hope it works for you. I use it on a regular basis and what it might not get all of one tme, it usually does the next. I am going to regrout and seal my shower floor as soon as cooler weather makes me stay inside instead of working in my yard!

        1. Theresa, let me know how the re-grouting goes but until then, enjoy the weather πŸ˜‰


    6. anni says:

      Thought I’d try the Blue Dawn and Vinegar and, when I went to mix the soution, realized I’d forgotton Dawn, BUT, I did have Cascade Complete Liquid Dishwasher Soap WITH Dawn in it. So, I mixed one cup of that with one cup of warm vinegar. This destroyed my spray bottle, and I had to apply with a rag, but in a matter of minutes the tiles were clean and the grout looked better than it had in years! The lowest tiles in the shower still have some residue on them, so I will reapply with the straight Blue Dawn. Gotta say, tho, that the Cascade really is a powerful cleaner for gloss finish ceramic tiles. Thank you SOOO much for your suggestions! This is a great Blog…I am going to get grout sealer next!

      1. Hey Anni,

        That’s crazy stuff, can’t believe your spray bottle was destroyed. Powerful stuff to say the least. Let me know how the rest of the cleaning goes but it sounds like you’re pretty happy.


        1. tammy says:

          cascade has bleach in it you dont mix bleach and vinegar its a deadly mix it will kill you,it makes chlorine gas.pleased be careful mixing stuff together.

          1. Thanks for your concern Tammy, the cascade in our case was encrusted on the dishwasher and no chemical reaction occurred. But you’re correct, being careful with chemicals is the prudent decision.

          2. elizabeth says:

            Ammonia and bleach create chlorine gas. Always best to be cautious when mixing cleaners, though!

      2. Theeresa James says:

        Isn’t it great when you finally hit on that “right” thing that makes your efforts worth while? Glad it’s working for you!

        1. anni says:

          Hello, All…yup, it really was Awesome to see the grime disappear so fast with that dishwasher soap and vinegar! Haven’t yet done the second treatment; thought I’d compare the DAWN and vinegar with the Cascade and vinegar both on this surround AND on the shower walls downstairs which are…well, let’s just not put words to it. Anyhow: here’s how my bottle was destroyed: apparently there’s something in the Cascade that reacted like baking soda with the vinegar. Rather explosive: the liquid began coming out the spray nozzle, and when I released the sprayer to stop that, there was no problem. However, the spray trigger failed after that to work. So, I applied by hand.

          Thanks for all the comments about grout! I’m going to seal after I clean the final time. I love tile too, but…in areas that offer oils and grease of any kind, maybe not the best choice? I just put cork floors in for my yoga studio and Reiki Treatment room and love them. The salesperson said he’d sold cork to several people for their kitchens. Easy peasy to clean with the Bona System. I’ll keep you posted on that….

          Thanks, Everyone! This is now my Go To Site for all things, “How the heck do you do that?”


          1. Awesome Anni, thanks for your kind words. I love reading everyone’s tips and hope that we all learn from each other.

            Keep us posted on the cork floors, I’ve never installed them but would like to some day πŸ™‚


      3. DEa says:

        Doesn’t liquid dishwasher soap have bleach in it? That should not be mixed with vinegar

        1. It depends on the brand and type of soap. You’d have to check, but yes, don’t mix chemicals is always a good rule to follow.

    7. Marion Freyburger says:

      I just found this site and I love it. I have a shower with tile and glass and it gets dirty all the time. I tried the vinegar and blue dawn and it worked FANTISTIC. I will be sending this site and link to everyone I know.

      It was so simple heat the vinegar, add the dawn, spray, (you may want to use a mask it does smell pretty bad). Wait 2 hours and for the most part we just use a magic eraser sponge. After it dried you can see where you missed as it dried a white so we just went back over the area.

      All I can say is thank you.

      1. That’s awesome Marion. Thanks so much for confirming this is a great option. I love hearing these success stories!!

    8. Katrina says:

      ok I just mixed it & sprayed it all over the shower. Now I’ll watch some tv for 2 hours, then go rinse it & see how it works. I did make the decision when we built our house to use a grayish color grout so the grout looks ok (but does that mean its really ok??) but the tile already looks dingy.

      1. Keep me posted Katrina. One other solution I’ve recently discovered is OxiClean Max Force. But test it on your grout in a small area to see if it reacts okay. I let the Max Force sit on the grout for 20 minutes then scrub it.

    9. Lauren says:

      Thank you Theresa James! Thank you Jeff Patterson! I just tried that vinegar/blue dawn solution. It’s only been an hour ( I’m impatient) but I did a spot check and I can’t believe the difference. I was just cleaning my tile today with Tilex and the grout was so dingy looking. I came across your website and decided to give this a shot. I wish I could upload a photo for everyone to see. All I can say is IT WORKS!

      1. Kati says:

        Does it matter what kind of vinegar you use??

    10. Karen says:

      Question; living in a very arid environment (Colorado) things dry out very quickly. Did your solution dry out as you left it on 2 hours? If not, would two 1-hour applications work do you think?

    11. Cate says:

      I tried the vinegar plus Dawn and didn’t like it. It left soap scum visible on the glass and shower fixtures (nickel). There is probably soap scum on the tile too- I just can’t see it.

    12. David Killeen says:

      Theresa James, I am way late to the party (your original post is from 2012), but I recently bought a house and inherited a good bit of stained bathroom tile grout, so I did an internet search and found this helpful blog and your intriguing reply. I tried a couple harsh chemicals with little success. I will admit that I was skeptical, but I decided to give your recipe a try, figuring it would put me out a whopping $2 either way, and I was AMAZED by the results! I followed your directions exactly, and the grout is whiter and brighter than I could have ever expected! Truly, I was floored. Thank you!

    13. Apd says:

      I decided to give this a try on our tile shower. We used a grout sealer when it was new and over the years the sealer started to yellow the tiles and grout. This cleaning solution worked like a charm, no more yellow, the shower looks new again.

      Thank you for sharing.

      This worked amazing!

    14. Angela says:

      I used this solution on my very neglected but daily used bathtub area and it did a great job! Some mold still remained but it took off 90% of it. Now that the major cleaning is done I plan on cleaning area on a regular basis. Thx.

  5. Mic says:

    Two suggestions – Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (bathroom style) or K-Boom. I have used both to clean my white bathroom tile & grout.

    1. I love using Magic Erasers. Although I’ve learned my lesson and now wear gloves when I use them. I’m sure whatever chemical is in them isn’t great for skin since mine always peals after making contact.

      That said, the erasers live up to their name and are really awesome at eliminating fingerprints on doors. Now I’m sounding like some CSI person but in reality I just have kids, lol.

      1. Rich says:

        JEFF, hard to believe but there are NO CHEMICALS in magic erasers. It’s a cleaning stick made of melamine foam, no kidding, so no gloves needed.

        1. Hey Rich,

          Thanks for clearing up this cloudy issue. I love using magic erasers for tons of stuff, they really come in handy when you’ve got kids.


        2. Cheryl Spencer says:

          I think the reason that the packages warn about no skin contact is because the pads can be quite abrasive. I have learned the hard way to only use them on matte surfaces or areas where light reflections/glare won’t draw attention to the scrub marks that they leave on shiny/glossy surfaces.

          1. I think you’re right Cheryl, they have a mild abrasiveness to them.

  6. Emma Briggs says:

    I also appreciate that the cleaning products you use do not smell bad.

    1. I hear you Emma. The stinky smell of some cleaners is just downright bad. It’s unfortunate that certain natural cleaners don’t work and we have to stick with caustic ones.

  7. Reema says:

    Natural cleaners work great for upkeep. It’s when upkeep isn’t done regularly that you have problems with needing to really deep clean and get out stains. I know I’m guilty of getting behind on chores, but staying on top of things is really the key to dealing with these problems πŸ™‚

    I use vinegar to clean, and I usually use orange peel to help boost the vinegar power. I fill a pickle jar with juicy orange peel, and pour vinegar over the peel. I let sit for a week or so, and then re-fill my spray bottles with the home made orange cleaner. smells better than just regular vinegar, and cleans better too.

    when I first moved into my house, though, the tile was gross. I used clorox toilet bowl cleaner (the gel stuff in the bottle with the crooked neck) to whiten the grout. it works wonders, though you MUST wear thick rubber gloves and safety glasses to scrub it. open the windows and let the bathroom air out after a cleaning and be sure to rinse really well.

    I learned about toilet bowl cleaner when I worked at a family owned shop in highschool. We had to do a big cleaning day, and they used it to clean everything in the bathrooms. Caustic, but effective.

    1. Thanks Reema for the great vinegar and orange peel recipe. You’re totally right about vinegar smelling a lot better with orange peel. I love this creative idea and this is exactly why the comment sections of websites are soooooo important.

      I’ll give the toilet bowl cleaner a try today while I’m doing some pluming work around the house. If this doesn’t work I doubt anything else will do the trick, haha. It would be fantastic if such caustic products weren’t necessary and your comment on upkeep cuts straight to how we can avoid this issue problem. Upkeep, upkeep, upkeep-so easy to say yet so hard to do:)

    2. Martha says:

      I don’t have a tile bath anymore (YAY!), but when I did, I always used the toiled bowl cleaner and brush on the tile. Never had a grout problem. I liked the little hole so you could squirt it out and it would run down the grout line. And even going crosswise wasn’t bad because it is thick. I also discovered a product that helps to keep the bath clean longer. “Clean Shower”. You clean your bath good, then spray that on all the surfaces. Daily, after bathing, spray again. Really aided in “big cleaning day” because the surfaces were never as dirty! I use it still on my smooth surface bath, and it seems to prevent build up. I used to love to clean. I’m 73 now and that is NOT my top priority!! πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks Martha for the cleaning product tip. It sounds like your bathrooms are spic and span clean πŸ™‚

        The main idea thread from everyone seams to be daily maintenance cleaning is the biggest and best thing we can all do.

        My Mom is 71 and I think she’d like to be done with cleaning, too. But now she’s onto changing diapers for my sister who just had a baby girl πŸ™‚

        So it might be awhile before her retirement from cleaning.

  8. Sue says:

    I recently read that Zep is supposed to be really good, so add it to your list.

    1. You got it Sue. I tried a few other products this weekend. The first was Tilex and it didn’t help. That doesn’t mean it won’t benefit someone else though. But I’ll keep trudging forward to see if there’s a better solution πŸ™‚

    2. joe says:

      I second the Zep formula…I think it’s called grout cleaner. I used that in a badly dirtied bathroom tile floor with great results…followed up with a sealer

  9. Pam says:

    A year ago I tried cleaning something in my sink with the toilet bowl cleaner mentioned above. My chrome sink drain will never be the same! Looks awful! That stuff really is caustic – be careful!

    1. Sorry to hear the toilet bowl cleaner ruined your sink Pam.

      Can you remember what brand it was so that anyone seeing this post won’t have the same bad experience?

      It might be safe to say that we should avoid using such a product anywhere there is metal.

      1. Pam says:

        It’s called The Works. It’s pretty potent but still doesn’t get rid of the water line mineral deposit in the toilet (I’m on a well). Do you know any good cleaners for that?

        1. Well Pam I would have thought the Works or CLR could remove these rings but apparently this isn’t the case.

          Unfortunately I don’t have any other suggestions. I wish I could be more helpful.

          1. Tanya says:

            Pam, the “toilet Bowl Cleaner” from dollar general (Dollar General brand) works wonders on toilet bowl water rings!!! I squirt it in there, making sure to cover all of it, then wait about 30 minutes…voila, clean!!! I live in an apartment, and had that glorious ring in both toilets since we moved in almost a year ago….one day I saw that stuff and decided to try it, and it worked perfectly!!!

        2. Kate says:

          There is a toilet bowl stone (like a pumice stone that you use on dry heels?) that you can get at walmart that I have used with success to remove hard water lines in a toilet bowl.

          1. Thanks Kate for the tip, I’ve never used one before but it sounds like you’ve had some success with it.

            I really appreciate your suggestion because several people have asked for a product like this πŸ™‚

        3. alissa says:

          Kaboom toilet gel worked wonders on the mineral deposit lines. Goes in purple, then turns green when you’re ready to wipe. πŸ™‚

          1. Hey Alissa,

            Thanks for the Kaboom tip. I like the fact that it turns colors to indicate the wiping action. Way cool.


        4. Donna_in_Ohio says:

          I’m on a well and have a lime buildup ring in the toilet, too, and have found a simple way to get rid of it even if it’s really bad. Flush the toilet and as the water level is at its lowest and starting to refill, pour in a quart of vinegar and make sure the toilet fills to just above the ring. Let it sit a couple of hours, then use a regular toilet scrubber to work it off. This is very easy when you do it every couple of weeks; when we were out of town three months and guests did not do the full clean it was harder. In that case when we got home I did the vinegar soak and the ring came off but there was a coating down at the bottom of the throat of the bowl that I had to use a hard plastic spatula to kind of chip off, though the vinegar softened it. Apparently, the ring is related to bacteria, though: if I drop one of those bleach cakes into the tank (after thoroughly flushing all vinegar out of the bowl!) I don’t see a ring at all until the bleach cake is nearly gone. So now that I think of it, maybe if I just poured a cup of vinegar into the bowl more often, even if I didn’t scrub it would stay ring-free without a bleach cake?

        5. Cheryl says:

          To clean the lines in a toilet, I’ve used a grey pumice stone (wear gloves since your hands are in the toilet). It gently scrubbed off the ring that a lot of toilets get after many years of use. It’s important that the pumice stone is grey, because red stones will scratch the toilet. I used it with comet and was amazed at how the toilets looked like new again.

        6. Mellisa Arteaga says:

          I found the best toilet cleaner and it is Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime and rust remover. It is a black bottle.

        7. Julie says:

          Try using something called a Pumie scouring stick. These are pumice, will not scratch your toilet if it is porcelain and in just a few minutes your toilet will be like new – and no chemicals involved. You can buy these at hardware stores and they are also sold on Amazon. They have a host of other uses as well. You will be happy.

  10. LInda says:

    Only thing I have learned was that Oxyclean works wonders on a fiberglass shower floor. I wet the floor, sprinkle powder OxiClean and go away half a day. No scrubbing and it is nice and white.

    1. That’s awesome Linda. I really appreciate your story because we have a few rental homes with fiberglass shower floors and I’m sure they will need cleaned thoroughly!!

      I think OxiClean can certainly help with stains that haven’t gone for years and years. It seams like a great day to day cleaner that can help keep surfaces looking fantastic.

      This is all important stuff since the holidays are approaching πŸ™‚

  11. Lynne says:

    After getting your tile clean, mix 1tsp. Tea Tree Oil to 1 C water in a spray bottle. Spray all around after showering….it really helps! Saw this on Pinterest.

    1. This is another super tip Lynne. Do you recommend any brand of Tea Tree Oil?

      I only have experience with shampoo that has Tea Tree in it, LOL.

      This solution would also make the shower smell terrific and it’s natural. Thanks for great suggestion.

      1. I found something similar to this idea, quite by accident. I had splashed some hair conditioner on the shower door later to find the water didn’t leave spots where the conditioner was! So after I cleaned the shower door, I rubbed conditioner all over the door.(I just used my hand actually.) It left a sort of ‘oily film’ on the door and the water didn’t bead up on it. It acted like a sort of ‘sheet’ so the water ran off more easily. And yes, we have quite hard water. This was a glass shower door but I’m suspecting it would work as easily on a fiberglass door πŸ™‚

        So in case you’re wondering what kind of hair conditioner it was, the semi-permanent hair color I use comes with a tube of conditioner. I have a ton of those around so I used that. Just be careful not to get too much of the conditioner on the floor…it may cause slipperiness. Wipe the floor well, if this does happen.

      2. Sarah says:

        Walmart carries tea tree oil. It’s inexpensive and has a dropper applicator, which is great! Tea tree is also a natural lice repellent. It’s great to add to your shampoo for your scalp’s benefit and peace of mind.

  12. Beth says:

    The only thing I have found that works on my shower grout is X14. I am sure it is not environmentally friendly based on the fumes. I wear a mask and gloves when using it but it works.

    1. Good to hear about another product Beth. Can you get X14 at the grocery store or is it a special order product?

      I apologize for not being up to date on my cleaners, πŸ˜‰

      There are so many different options for cleaning grout. I’m thinking I should put together another post just to list them all.

  13. Judi says:

    I moved into an apartment where the shower tile outgrunged the average Turkish prison. After scrubbing well with ajax powder and rinsing several times–and sobbing salty tears–I sprayed all surfaces with Tilex Mold and Mildew Spray and went outside for about an hour. Ta-Da! I simply had to rinse, and the yuck was gone. Now I use the stuff regularly to clean toilets, sinks, etc., but it is wise to have good ventilation. It’s worth trying. Good luck.

    1. The first part of your comment cracked me up Judi, hilarious!!

      Thanks for the Tilex tip. I tried it over the weekend and unfortunately is didn’t work.

      But I totally believe in Tilex as an upkeep product, meaning it will help prevent the type of situation I’m in now. If I’d been using it routinely our grout would look out of this world.

      Where the heck was this grungy apartment that was worse than a Turkish prison? I had to ask.

  14. Susan says:

    I use “Bar Keeper’s Friend” Cleanser and Polish for grout maintenance. I found out about it when I bought new pots and pans and it was recommended for proper cleaning of the stainless. Had never used it before and now I wonder how I ever cleaned without it! I’ve tried it on all surfaces with wonderful results, even on RUST! My kitchen grout was really dingy looking in the traffic path so down on my knees I went with the BF and a Magic Eraser. A few swipes and the grout looked like new! I believe it has a mild acid in it which is the miracle worker (so wear gloves, though I have used it most times bare handed). It’s my go to choice for all dirty jobs. It restores most household items to a “like new” appearance!

    1. Susan says:

      Oh and by the way, it’s really cheap!! Under $2 a can.

    2. You and the other commenters have convinced me to give both Bar Keeper’s Friend and Magic Erasers a shot.

      I’ve never heard of using the two of them together but this is an interesting idea.

      Did you have any bad chemical reaction that created a bad vapor? I just wanted to check before moving forward.

      I’d also encourage others to wear gloves when using Magic Erasers. I’ve had my skin peel around my fingernails after using them.

      1. Susan says:

        There is no out-gassing or reaction at all, but the BKF is very powdery, like talc, so I would be careful when sprinkling, to not be vigorous about it, so as not to inhale any resulting “poof” of the product. I have transfered the BKF to a glass, restaurant style cheese shaker (you know the one that resides in every pizza place) so that I can keep it handy on the sink and the smaller size of the bottle keeps the powder more targeted.

        1. That’s a wonderful idea Susan-using the cheese shaker for the Bar Keeper’s Friend. I really appreciate all your suggestions and tips.

          1. Susan says:

            You know, I was looking at your pix once again and I noticed in the #2 picture (with your finger pointing) that the darker color may not be discolored grout. Have you considered that the mortar mastic, that adhered the tiles, might be showing trough? The grayish/putty color looks about right. Before the areas that you cleaned were clean, was it all the same color or was it still spotty looking? It’s entirely possible that the installer was a bit heavy handed with the adhesive and it squished through the tile spaces thereby not leaving enough depth for sufficient grout in spots. Perhaps all of your attempts at cleaning have removed the thin layer of grout over the mastic??
            Just a random thought (I have a lot of those)… and if that is the case, that ain’t comin’ out honey!! =)
            Perhaps SheilaG’s misadventures with paint might be the answer after all!!

          2. The thought did cross my mind that the mortar was showing through but upon further inspection the discoloring is from residue on the surface of the grout. The area was indeed spotty looking before I cleaned with all the different products.

            With that said, I did recognize the grout was a bit thin in areas. I might try to clean a bit more and see what happens. Ultimately this grout will need to be replaced and that’s an entirely different tutorial. I’m still contemplating using epoxy grout since it doesn’t stain as easily as sanded grout. It’s certainly trickier to install since it sets up quickly.

            I’m up for an adventure though.

          3. Susan says:

            Well, good luck and tally-ho… to adventure!!

          4. Valerie Welch says:

            Epoxy grout is a royal b**** to install! You do have to work super fast. My husband and I worked together grouting our 4’x5′ shower and swore at the stuff. BUT! That stuff makes great grout for the floor of a shower. It is not rough and porous like sanded grout and doesn’t need any more cleaning than the tile around it, as it has a smooth finish like the tile. If we had to do it again in a future home, I might read up on some kind of release agent to coat the main surface of the tiles, so the excess epoxy is easier to remove. We had used 6×6 tiles on the floor and that turned out to be a lot of surface to clean off. It might not be such a big deal with mosaic tiles. We used a chocolate epoxy with dark brown-ish tiles so it had a blended look. Good luck if you do decide to switch to epoxy! In the end, it is worth the work.

          5. Hi Valerie, I did end up using epoxy grout and it was a lot easier than I anticipated. I only used it because I’ve grouted tile before and don’t mind trying new products. I definitely had to work fast but overall am very happy with the results. You’re right, epoxy grout stays way cleaner than sanded or un-sanded and doesn’t look bad. I’m sold on it.

        2. JTP says:

          I am late coming to this conversation for sure. But the use and application of BarKeppers Friend got my attention. I’ve used it FOREVER and I keep it in one of those ketchup dispenser bottles that you can buy at the grocery store for targeted application. I cut the opening off a bit for a larger output

  15. Valerie W says:

    My bathroom tiles were disgusting! I had tried so many different products that it would have bankrupt a small country. None of which did much if anything except wear me out, smell up the house, and/or ruin my clothing.
    Finally, one day while washing my husband’s greasy, grimy work clothes I realized how clean my washer was after washing them with Simple Green so I decided to try it on my tiles.
    I mixed a solution of 2oz. cleaner to 10oz. water. sprayed the cleaner on, let it soak for an hour (re-wet if it dries out). At the end of the hour I scrubbed with a stiff brush. When I wiped away the suds and dirty water the tiles & grout were white for the first time in 15 yrs+, before I moved into this house. I rinsed the tiles and grout twice and then went to the store to get grout sealer. I figured it’s easier to keep the tiles clean than keep tiles & grout clean.
    I still officially HATE tile in a shower!

    1. Your last sentence resonated with me Valerie, I feel the same way about tiles but mine is more of a love/hate relationship.

      I hate cleaning tiles/grout but I absolutely love the way they look. When I go on Pinterest and see all the gorgeous showers it is inspiring.

      I’m going to add your tip to my list. At this point I’m thinking of doing a follow-up post just to list all the great ideas like yours.

  16. Barbara @ DIY Home Staging Tips says:

    The acid that’s in Bar Keeper’s Friend is muric acid. It eats through organic stuff like rust and blood and it’s only mildly abrasive. But, best to wear gloves.

    Magic erasers don’t have anything caustic in them. It’s the abrasive nature that is hurting your skin. I hear they are hell on false fingernails.

    I blogged about magic erasers here:

    Since I am always looking for ways to clean easier and more safely, I am testing the vinegar/Dawn formula. I just coated my shower stall with the mixture and am waiting for the stuff to work before rubbing or scrubbing. Hoping it’s just rubbing!

    1. Let us know how the Dawn & Vinegar work out. I hope you only have to do mild rubbing, too.

      Thanks for attaching your link on Magic Erasers. It was super informative and alleviated some of the concerns I had about using them. I like how you listed where to use them and where not to.

      It was interesting to read you had the same positive cleaning experience with dollar store magic erasers. Good to know!!

  17. Keith W. says:

    Unfortunately tile has always been very difficult to clean after being soiled. I have found that preventive medicine works the best, I tiled several area in my home and to prevent having issues with grout staining I would liberally apply grout sealer the soonest possible time after grouting. This seams to prevent the grout from staining and makes for easy clean-up when there are normal spills. Unfortunately paint and and the like will always make for difficult clean-up.

    I believe the real remedy for cleaning grout would be to remove the old grout if it has been stained badly then seal it before use.

    1. Good idea Keith to liberally apply grout sealer to grout. I would go a step further and recommend reapplying sealer every 6 months.

      We have new grout and tiles in our kitchen behind the stove. As you can imagine there are a lot of splashes (meatball sauce explosions πŸ˜€ happen) and the grout still looks fantastic.

      Sealers are super important.

  18. joe says:

    another tip (I think I saw it here) for keeping the shower window clean was to clean it thoroughly with vinegar an baking soda…wash it off and apply Rain-X to the glass…keeps the water from “sticking”

  19. Mrs Hobbs says:

    Hi you were definitely on to something with the Oxiclean. I used it as a paste and it cleaned my grout back to its ORIGINAL clean white finish. I left it on the grout for about 2hrs. (my grout was really dirty. we dont think the people that laid the tile sealed it. AND the tile is in the kitchen….thats how dirty it was, the grout is now brown) then i scrubbed it w a brush and went over it with our carpet cleaner that sucks up the dirty water. I only tested the grout around one tile because i didnt want to waste time and money in case it didnt work. Using it as a thick paste will use alot of product but the results are DEFINITELY worth it.

    1. That’s AWESOME!!!

      Thanks for sharing the carpet cleaner idea as a way to suck up the dirty water. That’s a super efficient way to take care of a large floor, like a kitchen.

      I’d love to see before and after pictures. Let me know if you have any and I’d be happy to add them to this post with your name πŸ™‚

      1. Mrs Hobbs says:

        Sure! I don’t see where I can add the pics and my phone isn’t letting me copy. Do you have an email address I can send to? I also think one could get even BETTER results if they wet the tile before adding the oxiclean paste. Letting it sit overnight may be an option too.

        1. That’s a great suggestion, too-letting the OxiClean sit overnight. Although telling everyone in the family about this plan is probably a good idea (LOL).

          I would surely forget and slide into the shower in the morning if the bathroom tile was being cleaned.

          Feel free to send the pictures to [email protected].

          Add any comments you’d like me to put with the photos. Thanks so much for trying out this method of cleaning tiles. I think it’s so cool when we can all work together to find new ways to solve problems πŸ™‚

  20. John says:

    Two words… GROUT MAGIC. There.. I said it.
    I bought this product at Floor and Decor tile outlets in my area, and I swear, hands down this product was awesome. I used it on my basement bathroom floor tile, which was disgustingly filthy when I moved in. Simply squirt on the liquid and let it sit on the grout for no more than ten minutes, wipe off with a damp sponge, and done! I’d be lying if it didn’t look brand new, but you do need to reseal if you use this product.
    You can hear it bubbling up when it activates, and all the gunk gets released. Not a day to day cleaner for sure, but use for those heavy duty jobs.

    1. Thanks John for the recommendation.

      If it helped you with your nasty tile grout then others might want to give it a try.

      Good to know that we’ll have to reseal the grout after using this product.

      You should have taken some pictures so we could have seen how bad the floor was when you moved in πŸ™‚

  21. Rachael McCauley says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I didn’t read all the responses so maybe someone already suggested this but my mom has a regular cleaning person and she shared this trick. The best thing for stubborn grout stains is Lysol or Chlorox toilet cleaner. It’s great because its a gel so it does a good job of not just running down the drain. It does have the potential for staining effects and health concerns. I’ve used it for the past few years and it works like a charm. If it’s really terrible just put it on the night before and scrub/rinse the next day. We moved into an older home and one shower was seriously hideous. I used the Chlorox one for a while and it only went so far. Then I switched to Lysol and it reacted to this orange layer of some kind of hard water build-up and it disappeared forever more! Good luck!


    1. Great ideas Rachael!!

      Sounds like really tough stains need the Lysol toilet cleaner.

      Hopefully your hideous bathroom is now looking better πŸ™‚

  22. Dwight says:

    The best method I have used is a steam cleaner, initial investment is high, but it doesn’t use chemicals at all and does a wonderful job, it’s actually kinda fun to use it to clean grout. We have a lot of tile and grout in our house, a good steam clean followed by a sealer works great.

    1. That’s great advice Dwight, thanks so much for sharing.

      What kind of steam cleaner do you use? Is it a brand that is affordable?

      1. Stephanie says:

        I have a steam cleaner – it was $60ish at Kohl’s – and it doesn’t do a darn thing for my grout. Maybe my grout is too far gone for steam cleaning? The steam is terrific for my kitchen backsplash (which is in great shape), bathroom fixtures (also good), and cleaning the grate in the grill.

        1. Stephanie, I’ve never tried a steam cleaner for grout. It sounds like there are mixed results and it could depend on how dirty the grout has gotten over time.

          1. Angie says:

            I have a Shark steamer that I use for most everything. I have parrots and chemical cleaners of ANY type are strictly forbidden. When I moved into my apartment I opened the shower doors to reveal the most funktastic layer of crud I had ever seen in my life. Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I should attempt cleaning or just cordon off with police caution tape and call it a loss. Remembering my Nana telling me about the super powers of white vinegar, I grabbed a bottle and filled it with warmed white vinegar and some lemon juice, sprayed onto my tile and grout, let stand for about 10 minutes, and then stormed in with my steamer like it was some sort of battle armor. I watched as years of someone else’s filth just washed down the drain.

            Parrots can be champion food-flingers. If it were an Olympic sport, I would be sharing my home with three gold medalists. There is nothing more pleasant than the sight of pomegranate or fresh beets being flung onto your tan walls and tan carpeting surrounding the cage. The vinegar/steamer combo has removed the toughest stains from my walls and carpeting…even the ever dreaded papaya skidmark. Note: do not walk barefooted around a ginormous parrot cage without paying close attention to what you will inevitably step/slide on.

          2. Lol, thanks for the warning Angie. These are greats tips: the usefulness of a steamer and preparedness when dealing with parrots πŸ™‚

            White vinegar is pretty amazing stuff!!

        2. Rich says:

          i agree, stephaine. even used vinegar in the steamer, NOTHING.

  23. Judy Gillespie says:

    Have you ever used Tilex? I used it on my tile in the bathroom and it brought it back to look like new. I did use a scrub brush in the areas where the grout was darker. Worked great!!

    1. We have Judy, but it really irritates my wife’s asthma. Tilex is a great product and certainly does a fantastic job of cleaning tiles πŸ™‚

  24. susie says:

    Hey y’all!!! I just had tile with white grout installed in all of my bedrooms and bathrooms. I have four cats and two dogs so the carpet had to go. Anyway, I read somewhere that an enzymatic cleaner applied to the grout line and then covered in Saran Wrap until dry works wonders to bring back the white. And thankfully, it works!!! I have to sometimes reapply the cleaner and Saran but usually within 24 hours, the stain is gone. And there is ZERO elbow grease used. I’ve also had great results with straight vinegar. This application has worked well with any stain that has come up.

    1. Thanks Susie for the great tips.

      Can you remember the brand name for the enzymatic cleaner so that we can try it?

      1. susie says:

        It is for pet stains, Nature’s Miracle.
        But vinegar has worked too and NOT just for pet stains. Any area that I’ve wanted to whiten up has so far responded. I do have a question, too. Do you think that I would have to reseal areas that had straight vinegar on them?

        1. Susie, thanks for providing Nature’s Miracle name.

          Sealing depends on what kind you used before and how long it’s been since the last application. Read the directions of your sealer and see what it says.

          Our sealer says to reapply every year.

          1. susie says:

            Thanks, Jeff.
            I LOVE your blog.

          2. Awwww, thanks Susie πŸ™‚

          3. susie says:

            You are so welcome.

  25. Crystal L says:

    I just wanted to say I would recommend applying a smount of oxyclean directly to the stained area, put a rag that is good and wet over the oxyclean and let sit. I don’t know how long, how ever long your comfortable waiting as you will have to do small patches at a time. The longer the better as long as your rag doesn’t dry all the way, then scrub. I don’t guarantee it will work but I can promise you this-it is the only way to remove chocolate ice cream stains from white clothing so I give it a LOT of credit!

    1. Whoa, chocolate ice stains!! That’s enough to get me to try your method. Thanks Crystal for sharing πŸ™‚

      P.S. I love chocolate anything

  26. Sherrie Graeter says:

    I just want to say that I have tried a couple of these solutions for cleaning my grout, thank you for the tip! For future reference the only grout I will be using will be dark! LOL

    1. I hear ya Sherrie. Dark grout all the way πŸ™‚

      1. susie says:

        I know that everyone wants to look at tile that looks spanking new. But at least with the white, the grunge makes you think about the germs lurking within, no? Maybe that’s how I rationalize my very hard to keep clean grout choice πŸ™

  27. diana says:

    When you regrout your tiles, don’t forget to use grout sealant, it will also make it watertight and and prevent mold and mildew, and what’s not. many homes does not have the grout sealants, and which they should have especially there’s water involved. You can get them at home depot or other hardware stores that sell tiles and supplies.

  28. Matt Michel says:

    After seeing the comments I figure I’d just explain and solve all grout discolorjng for everyone. Grout discolor happens because it soaks through the grout all the way through. No cleaner, steam or anything will solve this discoloring when it has soaked through. Options are regrouting, which isn’t that expensive, or a little trick I picked up over the years is to simple rub sandpaper over the grout lines” that’s if it hasn’t soaked through” or you can stain the grout lines by simple using a water base paint, or they have specific paint just for grout. Hope this has helped.

    1. Thanks Matt for your tips.

  29. Sara says:

    I found that using white vinegar works amazing as well! However sometimes you really have to scrub away! Has anyone tried Javex? That stuff works crazy-well!

  30. susie says:

    Hey, Jeff! I just got a tip on how to maintain white grout from a guy in the plumbing department at Home Depot. I’m not sure how he got there because his history is in tile installation. He said to mop the floor two times a month with a 50:50 mixture of bleach and water. And DON’T air dry it. If u do it more frequently it will yellow the grout. I tried it and will say that the smell is overwhelming, so opening the windows and making fast work of it is a must. And it takes a few days for that bleachy smell to dissipate. Time will tell if it works.

    1. Susie, thanks so much for your tip. I love learning about new ways to keep the house (especially bathroom areas) clean. Please let me know how it works for you. I guess you probably use a towel or wet/dry vac to suck up the excess moisture?

      1. susie says:

        Hey, Jeff, from ultra muggy TN!

        The fantastic part about this maintenance ritual is that you DON’T dry the floor. I consider it soggy after I guess,”swab”, the floor. I just leave a fan blowing on it and let the mixture soak in and slowly air dry. It really doesn’t take long.

        I would recommend keeping the pets out. They wil track the bleach mixture onto your couch or carpet.

        The results are like new grout!

  31. Sarah says:

    Oxy-grout (not oxiclean, but a natural product you can get from various websites) is awesome! I kid you not. You can actually SEE the dirt coming out of your grout.

    1. Thanks Sarah for the great product tip. It sounds like you’ve had fantastic results with Oxi-grout and if that’s the case it would be worth a shot.

  32. judith wichhart says:

    I use the Works for showers. so easy. May need a little scrubbing if you have a build up. After that just a spray and wipe down weekly.

  33. Shayla says:

    I used lime away toilet cleaner and a scrub brush and toothbrush. I put it in the grout lines and let sit till I had all grout filled and started scrubbing with the scrub brush. When I finished scrubbing I let it sit 10 mins. Rinsed and any spot that it didn’t work I repeated with a toothbrush. Works amazing.

    1. Hi Shayla,

      Thanks so much for you tutorial, sounds like it will totally work. Plus, using the toilet cleaner saves a bit of money versus buying a separate product. Sweet.


  34. Edna Friedmann says:

    Try using Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

  35. Faireka says:

    Any tip on how you clean the grout on the used tile so one can use that tile again?

    1. Hi Faireka,

      You can try the OxiClean mixed according to the directions and see if that works. There are also a ton of suggestions in the comments. See which one you think might work πŸ™‚


  36. stevie D. says:

    I use Chlorox bleach mixed with water in a spray bottle and spray it on the tiles and grout and let it dry. The grout turns white! Last about a month. Nothing else works as well and as cheap. Just vent the room for a few hours. No mask necessary in my case. One part bleach to 5 parts or so of water. Good luck! Steve

    1. Hey Steve,

      Thanks for your formula, that’s super helpful. I’d totally use your tip if my wife didn’t have asthma (bad genes). But I’ll do this for my rental properties. πŸ™‚


  37. C C Garrason, Jacksonville, FL says:

    Does anyone know if Resolve carpet cleaner will harm grout?

    Of all the methods I have tried on small test lengths of grout in my ceramic kitchen tile it cleans the best and fastest.

    Haven’t been able to get an opinion on the possible long-term effects if any.

    1. Lissa says:

      I recently tried resolve carpet cleaner on my grout/tiles and it works…….but I am also wondering what the long term effect are.

      1. Great question Lissa. I don’t know the answer but you could call the company and ask them if they have any answers.

  38. Ashley says:

    Scrubbing power is often more important than cleanser power. I like for things to be very clean with little chemical presence and with minimal effort. Some brain storming lead me to making a drill scrub brush. I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this. Total cost was about $2.50. I wouldn’t use bleach with it as it will splatter, but oxy clean worked great. Drill hole in round scrub brush, screw in a bolt and fasten with a lock washer and hex nut. I used a 3/8″. Insert into drill. Destroy grime in one of the manliest ways possible. Laziness is the mother of invention.

    My kitchen floor grout is amazing! And it allowed me to do as little work as possible. I’m 9 month pregnant and my little life hack allowed me to clean my entire kitchen floor!

    1. Hey Ashley,

      This is seriously am awesome idea!!! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a picture of your setup? I think others might like to try it.

      And congrats on being a mom!!


  39. Gina says:

    I was wondering if you have put Borax to the test against mildew. I have used it on multiple surfaces including the grout I the shower. I make a paste, scrub it in, and let it sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom. I don’t time the “sitting”, just wipe and do a quick rinse when I get back to the shower. I have grout that is porous instead of the latex or nice smooth stuff in most tile baths. (I feel the wise guy who put this kind of grout – think grout around a pool – needs to be visited by the mildew fairy on a daily basis!)

    1. Hey Gina,

      I’ve never used Borax but that’s all gonna change because of you!! Thanks so much for your tip because grout is a tough one to always keep clean. I’ll give it a shot on my next cleaning round πŸ™‚


  40. Jeanne says:

    I’ve had some luck cleaning grout with a paste of bleach and baking soda, letting it sit there for five minutes, scrubbing it and rinsing. It does remove a lot of mold and mildew. I hate using harsher chemicals which have given me terrible rashes because I was dumb enough to not wear protective gloves.

  41. renee says:

    I used clr…and a toothbrush…almost like brand new grout..:-)

    1. Great job Renee. CLR is some strong stuff!!! But it gets results fast.


  42. Donna says:

    I have dark gray grout in my shower will these cleaning tips work for this as well? I don’t want to use one of these suggestions if it’s going to turn my grout white. All help is appreciated. Thanks.

  43. Sallie says:

    Once you get it clean…..the goal is to keep it that way. I use a product call Clean Shower on the wet walls every time I take a shower.. the bottle sprays a fine mist. I spray everything including the showerhead and curtain. I have very hard calcium and lime in my well water and I started using this product as soon as my new porcelain tile shower was installed. 6 months in and I have not had any mold growth, no calcium or lime deposits and the shower looks brand new.

    1. Thanks Sallie for recommending Clean Shower. We also have very hard water and the deposits can be a real pain in the rear end. Sounds like a great option for shower cleaning fanatics like us.

  44. Lisa says:

    Did you ever try the dawn and vinegar mix on your shower tiles?

    1. Hey Lisa, I didn’t because I ultimately got them clean with the OxiClean. I also ended up removing all the grout and replacing it with epoxy grout. Man that was a chore but the grout looks great and needs very little scrubbing. But I think all the ideas in this post from the fans are awesome.

  45. Leila says:

    I read through all the posts and decided to try the vinegar and Dawn ( blue ) method of cleaning my shower tiles. I know I need to reseal them, but I have to clean them first. When you see the photos, please don’t judge…I have 4 boys that play muddy sports and a 70 yr. old claw foot tub with a lot of worn off enamel….I sprayed the mixture and let it set 2 hours as instructed.
    1 cup white vinegar heated for 90 seconds and added it to 1 cup blue dawn in a spray bottle. It really worked well to take the soap residue off the tiles and chrome, not so much on the grout. I scrubbed with a brush and rinsed with hot water. Then as others suggested I used toilet bowl cleaner ( I had Lysol max on hand ) others used clorox. I let that sit 20 minutes, and lightly scrubbed with a brush and rinsed. Pleased with the results, and off to buy the sealer. I will email the photos to Jeff to add, I don’t know how to add them here.

  46. Vernell says:

    Have you heard of Wet and Forte Shower cleaner? If so, what is your opinion

    1. Vernell says:

      Ooops – should be Wet and Forget Shower cleaner. Also, my kitchen counter was tiled but the man did not put sealer on it to our surprise. Now, the grout is going away on some areas. What is the best way to fix?

      1. Hi Vernell, the best way to fix this is to remove the crumbling grout and re-grout it. Sorry to hear you’re having this problem. Hopefully you know what kind and color of grout was used. That’ll make this project a lot easier.

    2. Hi Vernell, I actually did a post on Wet and Forget Shower and love it.

  47. Connie says:

    Jeff, I have rentals. Two products that have never failed me when cleaning.
    Quick n’ Brite. Have used it for 25 years. Great overall product. Bio safe. Then a really fast shower/tub/toilet stuff remover is CLR. I buy it by the gallon at Lowes. Give ’em a test.

    1. Thanks Connie, I’ve never used Quick n’Brite but will give it a shot. I’ve got rentals as well. Fortunately the all my tenants are very clean but this will come in handy for my own house – LOL.

  48. I’s so nice to find there are other persons in this world that want things to look nice and for the product we use to work and hopefully be safe. I will be checking your site and will be looking for word to sharing ideas. My kids call me the Mom who can get out everything ‘I only wish’ but I sure try. I am a single Mom with 3 grown kids and one grand baby who lives with me a great deal. So bring on the ideas and just maybe we can make fixing, mending and cleaning easier! PS I do ALL THE HOUSE REPAIRS TOO. In fact right now I’m painting. Have a Merry Christmas to all!

    1. Thanks so much Ellen for your wonderful insights. I hope you have a great holiday too!!

      It sounds like you have a wealth of knowledge. So please add your thoughts any time. I love learning new ideas every single day and hope that my fans enjoy and learn at the same time.

      Talk with you soon.

  49. Walt says:

    This method reminds me of something Tim Allen would do on his show, Home Improvement, but it worked very well. Last summer, I had my pressure washer out doing the outside of my house and for some reason I though I might try running a long hose through our bedroom window into the bathroom shower. With a bathing suit on I started with the lowest setting and worked my way up one step which worked well. Except for a couple of spots in two corners, it was all gone, no chemicals at all and not much of a mess. As a caveat, we have epoxy grout which is pretty tough and it was sealed as well. This might not work for everyone. Just thought I would throw it out.

    1. Thanks Walk for sharing your cleaning adventure. You’ve got some guts-LOL. My wife would have killed me if I had done the same thing. But admittedly I like your idea πŸ™‚

      I eventually re-grouted this shower floor with epoxy grout. It was easier than I thought and I recommend it to anyone with grout problems.

      Make sure to tell me some more DIY stories, I like how you think!!

  50. Sandy says:

    Here’s a tip that worked for me. I did use Oxiclean powder mixing in a little water to make a paste. I had to let it set overnight as my renters really did a job on the house. Anyway it did work and it’s worth a try.

    1. Thanks Sandy. I love that stuff. It’s helped me clean tiles and make grout look like new. I really appreciate your tips πŸ˜‰

  51. Lei says:

    You should try AWESOME it works on just about anything and on the toughest stains. Its harsh smelling but it works even on pee stains. And its only a $1.00at the dollar tree. No where else to be sold.

    1. Thanks Lei for your tip. I’ll have to check it out next time we’re at store.

      Sad to say, but pee stains are tough to get out. Although, I did manage to clean up a toilet seat using OxiClean. I dipped the edge of the seat into an OxiClean mixture with water and it did a great job.

      But thanks for the AWESOME tip.

    2. Ben Harriman says:

      urine stains on toilet seats can new removed with URINE GONE. Spray on a piece of kleenex or toilet paper and apply to toilet. Let stand and keep wetting with URINE GONE WHICH HAS A SPRAY ATTACHMENT. Workds on carpets, etc.

  52. Landa says:

    Have you heard of Coat Of Armor Grout Solutions this is what it says on their website “All our products and cleaners have no harmful chemicals they are Water-Based and Bio-Degradable” I personally have not tried it but I am going to purchase the kit today, Hope it works!

    1. I haven’t heard of this product Landa.

      If you don’t mind please let me know how it works because this could be a neat product to try and share with everyone.

      Thanks so much for letting me know about it πŸ˜€

  53. Dee says:

    I just finished cleaning my ceramic tiles & Grout with Fantastik with Scrubbing Bubbles using a scrub brush. Spray it on, scrub it in and let it sit for 20 minutes or so. Wipe clean, and rinse with clean water.

  54. Ann says:

    I’m about to try some of the cleaning formulas suggested but wanted to know if anyone has tried these on COLORED grout. I have green grout to match to our tiles. The grout has white spots from the hard water, and recently developed mildew. I’m concerned that oxyclean will “bleach” the colored grout and that too much scrubbing will damage the grout.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Really great question. OxiClean shouldn’t bleach your grout since it’s not a traditional bleach.

      Here’s the FAQ for OxiClean and it has a lot of good answers

  55. KCH says:

    In my 10 year plus battle with shower grout the only thing that gets shower grout to look like new is NEW GROUT. Bleach works for awhile (no dilution) but then it starts to yellow the grout. Basically what I’ve learned is that once it’s colored it’s done. Anything you do to try to clean it just destroys it more. Just read on a blog that you’ve got to dry your shower with a towel after each “wetting” to keep new grout looking clean. Good Luck!

  56. zinco says:

    Great site – Thanks everyone! Today I did a side by side comparison of quite a few methods, most recommended, some elsewhere. Lots of mildew, mold, and scum in an old shower with tiled walls, a glass block wall and tiled floor, so lots of grout! Mostly white, except the floor which is beige grout. For my purposes, I wanted something that would work within an hour or less, if possible (impatient? Maybe!). All applied, then used a toothbrush to rub them in (why so many old ones lying around??)

    Rank ordering of the results:
    1a Clorox Clean-up (has bleach) – a spray, quick to work and the whitest, cleanest results. This is weak bleach plus other materials. Odor was not overpowering like straight bleach, but definitely there .
    1b Blanco Cleaner (no bleach), it is a stainless steel cleaner and polisher, probably like Bar Keepers Friend, but in liquid form. This was very close to the Clorox, no bleach smell, easy to apply with a toothbrush and fast acting.

    2. Comet cleanser. Also very good, probably due to the bleach and abrasive, but less convenient to apply than the other two.

    3. Stainz-R-Out Grout Spotter — It has a dabber/scrubber atop the bottle which is supposed to help. But it actually makes it almost impossible to contact the grout due to the shoulders of the glass blocks, especially. When I squeezed some onto the toothbrush and applied it, it was pretty effective, but third place.

    4. Sunlight dishwasher powder. Fairly good, but not convenient.

    5. The vinegar & Dawn solution. Much worse than the others. Easy to use, worked fine of soap scum, glass, etc, but very little effect on the mould in the grout. NOt, not Blue Dawn, only had purple!)

    6.Same as the above but also added some bicarbonate of soda. This one was the most fun – reminded me of my daughter’s volcano experiment in grad school science project days! Great visual effects, but not so much on the cleaning.

    Hope this helps others! Thanks again!

    1. What a great summary!!! Thank you so much for sharing your hard work.

      I think this will totally help a ton of fans and certainly aid us all with our grout/mold issues.

      I’m so impressed, keep up the great work πŸ™‚

  57. Andrea says:

    Can you tell me how to clean grout, between white tiles Ina shower, that has been stained with pink hair dye?? Nothing is working
    It is a rented house, we need a cheap option

    1. Hi Andrea, you shout give OxiClean a try. It’s about $10 and I have a tutorial on how to use it.

      Here’s the link and I hope it works for your hair dye issue

      1. Jill says:

        To get hair dye off anything. As quickly as you see it use peroxide, you can even try after it’s been there a while. If no luck with that get bleach (for bleaching hair). Be careful, wear gloves and make sure you have good ventilation too. I know this was a long time ago but I have a lot of experience with this and thought I would share.

  58. walt says:

    I tried the bleach and it worked to some extent.

    I was at a home show recently and got a product called Bring It On Cleaner. It is sold by a company called touch of oranges canada. it worked great. It also worked for the soap scum on my glass shower doors

    Thought i’d come back here and let you know about it.

    1. Thanks Walt for letting us know about Bring It On. That’s really cool.

      Do you know if it can be bought at the store?

  59. missi says:

    baking soda and of course vinager. It works great.

    1. Thanks Missi πŸ™‚

      1. abbii says:

        We have just put in a new bathroom complete with tile and grout on the walls because my husband thought it would make for better resale down the road. He put some kind of grout protector in the grout before he layered it. We wipe it down with a squeegee (getting old and it has only been a week!!) each time but my question is what can I use to keep it clean and white that won’t strip any of the good stuff out of the grout? Would the Dawn Vinegar mix work as an every week cleaner? Or is there something not toxic that is better?

        1. I’ve fallen in love with OxiClean Abbii. It won’t bleach your tile or grout and is pretty easy to use.

          Check out this tutorial and let me know what you think

  60. mona cicciarella says:

    I use vim with bleach and a dollar store scrub brush works great clean grout like new

    1. THanks Mona for your tips πŸ™‚

  61. George says:

    I tried everything including the super tile cleaner from Loew’s, but it was with the two cups of powdered Oxiclean in a gallon of hot H2o that did a great job of removing all the darkened soap stains from all the tiles and grout in our shower floor. It took about a two hour time period with intervals of scrubbing with a wooden scrub brush on a pole and rewetting with the mixture about every 15 minutes. It looks as good as it did 5 years ago when it was brand new. Thanks for not only a great solution, but for a solution that really works great.

    1. That’s fantastic George, thanks for letting me know about your success. It’s takes a bit of elbow grease but the results are unparalleled.

  62. Liz says:

    Hi, I was looking for tips on how to get shower tile clean but my tiles are on the walls so I couldn’t use your method since such a solution would simply not “sit” on the tiles. However, I wanted to share my method of getting the grout clean in between the tiles.
    I mix baking soda with bleach. Ratio about 4:1 so I get a paste. It’s not rocket science, I just mix it until I feel that it’s thick enough not to run off but not too thick to make it difficult to apply. I then cover the grout with it and let it sit overnight, about 24 hours.
    I then scrub with a wet small wire brush and it comes out white.
    I have looked for something for a long time and I found this tips on the internet somewhere and figured I’d try it. I was amazed at the result. It’s the only method that has really worked to clean up at least 5 years worth of discoloration.
    I also use it on the discolored caulking between the tub and the walls but of course I use a soft brush in that area. It doesn’t come out as good but it’s sure a lot better than before.

    1. Liz, this is super awesome. Thanks so much for your tips. I’m sure that a ton of people will find this to be helpful.

      I love learning about different ways to clean and you have a gem!!!

      1. Thanks so much Chris, this is a wonderful resource.

  63. Judie S says:

    Hi, Jeff!
    Love, love,love the help and suggestions! You have great…commenters!
    I have more of a preventative idea we used for flooring, but could relate to bathroom and kitchen tile. Years ago I was watching a TV show where they were showcasing a lady’s house in Arizona where the dirt is that beautiful red color. She had tile floors and the grout she had put in was the exact color of the red dirt. I never forgot her quote: “Use grout that is the color of dirt.” It’s such a time and energy saver!!
    About five years ago we had slate floors put in (real slate, not manufactured…lots of different shades natural colors). I picked grout that is “the color of dirt,” a medium gray color. They sealed the floor with an oil-based sealer. Looks great. Easy to clean. Not worried about the gray ever getting darker in some areas because it would blend right in.
    On the other hand, we had epoxy grout put in in our tiled kitchen counters. We have big tiles with small grout lines. Even epoxy grout gets dirty because the grout sits the smallest fraction of an inch below the tiles and is not perfectly smooth. I’m going to try the Oxi Clean and blue Dawn on concoction on the tiles with a brush. Unfortunately, I didn’t get “grout the color of dirt” because I was told epoxy grout doesn’t stain. It does, however, get dirty over time. Thankfully, my tile is a sort of mottled beigy, grayish, pale brownish color, so the dirty grout blends in with the tiles (the tile is prettier than my description).
    Just remember, “grout the color of dirt.”
    P.S. As an aside, oil-based sealer for a slate floor is more expensive and apparently sold in smaller quantities than water-based sealer, but the end result is worth it. We compared two 4’x4′ patches on the floor. The oil-based sealer added a richness and depth to the floor that the water-based sealer couldn’t touch. I imagine oil based lasts longer, too.
    Thanks again for all you do!

    1. Judie, thank you so much for your comment.

      I love the idea of getting a grout color the same as dirt, it would help out a lot with cleaning.

      Thanks also for your suggestion about the oil based sealer. I love oil based products because they are so resilient and last a long time. And a lot of questions come up with regard to slate. So this is perfect.

      Keep me posted on your progress πŸ™‚

  64. crystal says:

    The miracle I have found to clean grout was a cheap toilet bowl cleaner called The Works . $1.50 a bottle . All the dirt foams up from grout an wipes up. Smell is a bit strong an use gloves. But I have been amazed. Please dont try this on fine line grout but the bigger floor tile grout.

    1. Thanks Crystal, I’ve seen other people recommend The Works as well. It’s helped clean their grout as well.

      I stayed away from it because of the strong odor, my wife has really bad asthma. The other concern I had was how it would react with the tile.

      But there’s no reason not to test it on a small section of tile and grout πŸ™‚

  65. Robert Johnson says:

    A pumice stone will remove the stains easily.

  66. Lorraine says:

    I cleaned stained bathroom floor grout with a stuff brush and a tube of Crest complete ‘extra whitening’ toothpaste. Just added a dollop as needed to grout lines and gave a good scrub. Immediate results. Smelled good too. Try it!

    1. Great job Lorraine. Thanks for sharing this tip because its super simple and doesn’t cost a ton of money. I think it’ll help a ton of people πŸ™‚

  67. Pat Gaudreau says:

    Hi Jeff and everyone who wants to clean their grout,
    I also have tried everything on the store shelves that promise to clean my grout including an acid wash. Needless to say nothing worked enough to make my grout look consistently clean and the same color throughout until one day I was cleaning my stove top with a white magic bar and I thought why not give it a try on my kitchen floor grout. Here is where the angels sing, the rainbow is above my house and the birds are singing a beautiful song….the magic bar truly worked like magic! My grout looks brand new. You will go through quite a few so buy a dozen or more (they are inexpensive and worth it). Wet the bar and scrub the grout. I did it in sections and had a clean bucket of water and sponge which I used to wipe off the dirt and whatever chemicals are in the magic bar. Once the grout dries it looks great. But you are not done yet. You must seal your now clean and dry grout with grout sealer. Home Depot and Lowe’s sell a sealer that comes in a bottle with a brush on the top. I use a steamer at least once a week to wash my floor and I now only have to deep clean my grout once a year using the process above.

    1. Whoa, I’m willing to give this a shot Pat. Are you referring to a magic eraser or is there a different product? I’d love to know since you obviously got out of this world results.

      Thanks so much for sharing this πŸ™‚

  68. Erica says:

    Our 15 month old accidentally got into our pantry cupboard and dropped a jar of lemon juice which broke and spilled all over the floor. We weren’t able to get to it to clean it up for about 20 minutes and when we wiped it up our VERY dirty grout changed to perfectly white. No scrubbing! We only wiped it up with paper towels- and an added bonus is that our kitchen smelled nice and lemony. Now I’m thinking about spilling it purposefully all over the rest of our floor.

    1. LOL, it’s funny how accidents can lead to good things. Glad your 15 month old didn’t get hurt by any glass. I wonder if we could add the lemon juice to a spray bottle and use it to clean? Hmmm, that might be a good tutorial πŸ˜€

      Thanks Erica.

  69. Debbie says:

    I have found the best way to clean grout is by mixing peroxide with baking soda to make a paste and scrub grout with an old toothbrush or larger brush if needed. Clean up with clear water or mop floor if needed. Works great!

    1. Thanks so much Debbie for your awesome tip. Do you have a specific amount of peroxide and baking soda that you find to be a good recipe?

  70. Maureen says:

    My sister recently had a professional company come out to shampoo her carpet. They told her how to clean the tile and grout. They advised to use baking soda and vinegar.

  71. Elise says:

    You need to strip your grout sealer off, clean the grout using a paste made from b on am I and then reseal. πŸ™‚ the blotch in essence if because some spots are still sealed. πŸ™‚ hope that helps!

    1. Elise says:

      “Bon ami” – sorry – autocorrect. It’s a super cheap mineral cleaner. Works like a charm!

  72. rob delafo says:

    for commercial or residential really tough like 6 years tough…..basic cleaner then finish off with a steam cleaner and metal brush in unison (did not damage the floor tiles i worked on) a 30ft x 30ft floor so i needed to speed things up a bit so at the same time i used a drill with wire brush and steam cleaner at the same time……kick ass no damage but still requires elbo grease if very dirty

  73. Brenda says:

    I use grout pens on my discolored grout. Looks great and no more yucky stains. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, and probably Walmart. Love them.

    1. Thanks Brenda for your tip. Are you referring to the paintable grout pens or is this a cleaning product?

  74. Claire Bryson says:

    Hi Jeff, I found the very best solution for cleaning grout – BEATSALL. This really works, just squirt it onto the grout and scrub (I bought a special thin scrubber) then rinse clean.
    It is magic. I am in Florida and can get it at my local hardware store, but I believe you can find it on line.

  75. Cindy says:

    I just cleaned a shower we haven’t used in years with baking soda and water mixed into a paste about like peanut butter. Applied into the grout and let sit for 30-45 mins and then use a wet tooth brush to work paste into grout and rinse. You will need to rinse a few times to remove baking soda. Repeat on tough grout stains as needed. Talk about cheap & non toxic…Merry Christmas

  76. Kackie says:

    Thanks for doing that experiment! I used “Kaboom No drip foam for mildew and mold stain remover w/bleach” and it worked great. I only tested a small area with a tough stain and the smell wasn’t too much. Hope this helps!

  77. Les says:

    How about vinegar and a small amount of baking soda. Let the fizzle die down then use either in a spray bottle or a bucket. Heard that it is good for black mold and stuff. Also give it a good rinse after letting it sit for awhile.

    1. Thanks Les, I also love this method πŸ˜€

  78. I’m not sure if I should reveal such tricks of the trade, but by now it’s probably already been mentioned. As a professional house cleaner, I use “the works” toilet bowl cleaner to clean showers which have disgusting tile and grout filled with soap scum and mold. The reason this works is because it uses muriatic acid instead of bleach. I also have a truck mounted tile and grout cleaner and when we clean tile and grout, we use…guess what…muriatic acid.
    It’s the stuff they clean pools with. We charge between 40 and 22 cents per sq ft so 500 for that lady to get her floors steam cleaned is about average. But it’s not something you can’t do yourself. The acid can be combined in a sprayer with equal part water and scrubbed with a stiff bristle brush, but sometimes just pouring it on does the trick. I’ve splashed it on my skin, it stings but it washed right off. Never ever try to smell it, but the 50 to 50 water combo takes the edge off to a very tolerable level. Onc the grout is clean you just mop it off. Doing this in small sections is easy and i don’t even need safety equipment.

  79. website says:

    The tiles in my bathroom looks awful! The problem is that the water is hard and the tiles and the grouts look dirty. I am glad that you share this post! I will try these cleaners for sure! Soho Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  80. Lee says:

    Jeff, we been trying a lot of different things to clean the grout but we found this works very well, take a mixture of Baking Soda and add some (hydrogen peroxide) available in the drug store, to it to make a paste then apply it to the grout, it also cleaned up along the caulk lines and inside the shower door tracks. I used an old toothbrush but you can use some other type of brush. let it set about 5-7 min then scrub with toothbrush and rinse, It worked great, i also used it on my shower doors (we also have hard water) and cleaned them right up.
    hope this help others.

  81. ldj jones says:


    My parents has this problem in their shower. I used two products each one day apart. they both have a strong odor so maybe do it when your wife is out of the house for the day. Make sure you have a great deal of ventilation. There is a product called ZEP if works wonders. I ordered it from Amazon. spray and leave on and come back in 30 minutes and wipe. This should clean it all. If you still have issues get kaboom and spray the following day leave for 30 minutes and the grout should be clean. After doing all of this hard work be sure to seal the grout after it has dried

  82. Abbe Harms says:

    As part of my job as House Steward at Chamounix Mansion International Youth Hostel, I do a good part of the housekeeping and supervise the others who do it. We have had a chronic problem with shower tile grout, and I am interested in trying the Dawn Blue recipe. Other products and combinations of products throughout the blog on this issue have been tried in the past with so-so results. One thing that you may want to investigate in your own homes is whether or not you have rust or iron in your water. We do. It’s apparant in some places (like clean water outlet around rim of toilet bowl) where you will see pink to orange stains. Iron/rust is a different ball of wax. However, on the grout, the usual rust stain removers (Lime Away, for one, which works great on other rust stains) do not work on porous, unsealed grout. I do not have an answer to the problem, and maybe the Dawn Blue recipe will work. I just wanted to throw that out there as a possible roadblock to grout getting any cleaner. If anyone has had experience with this problem and knows of a successful method of tackling, please do tell. I am bored to tears trying to get that grout clean! Thanks!

  83. Will says:

    I have a shower that has nasty tile and grout. What can I use for deep cleaning.

  84. Vincenza says:

    We adopt the grannies’ solutions in Italy, which are eco-friendly and not too expensive as well. Here is one of these alternatives.

    * Potato starch and hydrogen peroxide (phase 1) plus water and white vinegar (phase 2) – The starting paste-mixture is simple and composed three coffee-spoons of starch and one table-wine glass of hydrogen peroxide. Time after time, get ready as much as paste as you need. Use a teeth-brush to spread generously the mixture on the surface to be cleaned and leave it work for one hour. Then get ready a liquid-mixture with one liter hot water and one glass vinegar. Use this mixture and a sponge to rinse the surface out. Then rinse the surface again with water and wipe the surface.
    P.S.: The vinegar smells a little indeed but this won’t last long -about thirty minutes. Moreover, vinegar is a powerful anti-limescale and somehow disinfectant too.

  85. Cyn says:

    I have a septic system that I have to keep alive so I can’t use bleach or any other toxic chemical that will kill the bacteria in the system so I had to find something different. I found pouring coke on the tile/grout shower floor, swooshing it around so it is evenly distributed, and then walking away to do something else for 10 minutes works for me. When I return to scrub, it’s a quick scrub with a hand brush (not much effort at all) and then rinse it all down the drain. Good thing is, it doesn’t cost that much to try it and decide for yourself.

  86. cathy says:

    hi jeff.
    what is the solution or maybe a home remedies in a tile discoloration due to a toilet bowl cleaner cause i think the glaze has been stripped off. the black tile turns to white . hope you can help me

  87. Mika says:

    I’ve used Pert shampoo and it worked for me, plus it’s not so hazardous on the lungs. Spread the Pert shampoo directly on the tile and grout (don’t dilute it with water), then use a scrub sponge to spread it more evenly and work it in. Cleans up the grout and the tile. I also use it on the faucets, mirrors and our acrylic tub.

  88. Julia says:

    Thank you so much for your video, ideas, and all the comments. Black yucky grout in the shower has been driving me crazy for a while, and I’m going to try several of these ideas and see what works.

    Got a good tip from Pinterest for maintenance: make some of the Dawn/vinegar solution and put it in one of those scrubby dish things (the ones where you put the soap in the handle.) Keep it in your shower, and each day scrub a small area while you’re in there showering. I’m not too good at cleaning grout on a regular basis, but I can do a minute or two per day while I’m in there anyway. Seems like a good way to do upkeep… now if I can just get it “deep cleaned”!

  89. Julie says:

    Don’t forget to re-seal your grout after all that hard scrubbing or it will stain faster that it did in the first place and will probably not get as clean the second time around. (Someone may have said this, but I didn’t read all the responses…..) πŸ™‚

  90. amazin says:

    I found the answer but you won’t like it. After 43 years of trying to clean the grout, I finally took a hammer to it. My newly renovated bathroom is gorgeous – and no dirty grout. Now to find a way to keep it looking like that.

  91. Nikki says:

    I found a perfect solution.

    1. Get a box of Brillo brand soaped steel wool (biodegradable / all natural). Wet one and scrub. For glass, scrub, and then wipe with a damp paper towel. For tile / tub, scrub until you see a grey stain on smoother parts of the tub, then rinse or wipe with paper towel.

    2. Get a package of Bon Ami (all natural powder, also Eco-friendly – basically baking soda plus some other minerals). Get a tooth brush for the grout, and a larger brush for the tub. Scrub with the brushes until the stains are out. Rinse

    3. Repeat if necessary

    This method is completely Eco-friendly and requires a lot less effort when scrubbing than with bleach and other products.

  92. sarah says:

    hi everyone. thank you for all of your super-helpful tips and info. i, too, try to keep the cleaning products as natural as possible. Last month, however, we were moved out of our apartment and had a nice security deposit depending on the results of the cleaning. Needless to say, I seriously relaxed my reluctance to use chemical. I tried all of the usual methods but the shower grout was still nasty in that corner by the faucets and around the fixtures – you know, the parts that never really get totally clean. What finally worked was the Clorox “Pen” grout cleaner. I worked wonders. It is easy to apply because you just hold it like a pen and squeeze it on the grout. It is a thick gel so it stays where you put it, it stays wet, it doesn’t get all over you, and it doesn’t smell – unless you put it right up to your face so don’t do that, ok :). I put it on and left it for as long as it took me to clean the floor and it wasn’t enough time. I put on some more and then got distracted and forgot about it so it sat for maybe 90 min or so.and when I came back I just rinsed it with the shower hose and to my suprise and delight the grout was sparkly clean. It did cost a couple bucks but it did not require any elbow grease and one pen was enough to do most of one wall of my tub shower and it probably could have done more but I really put it on thick. Sorry if someone already mentioned this, I only read about half of the comments but they were so helpful I wanted to share what worked for me. Thank you and be well.

  93. sarah says:

    Just in case this helps anyone – for the bathroom mirror – after I clean it I use Rain-X anti-fog (it is for the inside of the car windshield. it comes in a liquid and wipes. the liquid is easier but the wipes work too). It keeps the mirror from fogging up from the shower steam which keeps hubby from wiping it “clean” with his hand or towel after he showers so that he can shave. The mirror stays super clean for a week or so. Then I windex and rain-x and we’re good to go for another week. And I get to look like a magical wizard.

  94. Lee says:

    If your grout is in tact and just stained, you might want to try the Polyblend Grout Renew Product. You can get it in numerous different colors. It has the color and a sealer in it. My bathroom floor had to be re-grouted due to cracks and crevices but the wrong color was used, so I used this product and it brought the Bright White color back but did not fill in the cracks and crevices as I had hoped. That’s another story. I am going to re-grout the whole floor to fix that. One warning with this stuff is to stay in the grout lines as much as possible and don’t let it dry fully before you get the excess off the tiles themselves. With the sealer in the mix it takes a lot of cleaning to get it off the tiles. It is a good product when used properly and brings back the new look in the grout lines.

  95. ron says:

    On cleaning grout in shower, Windex and a Quickie nylon grout brush get the job done, but Sprayway Glass Cleaner scrubbed in with a Quickie brush is easier and better.

  96. Theresa says:

    Finally! A blog I can understand as a woman trying to do boy jobs. Thank you! I have tried several “recipes” for cleaning grout. What worked great for me was magic eraser…however, cleaning roughly 900 sq. ft. of floor grout on hands and knees is quite cumbersome and painful on the knees! I am in the process of removing/redoing that silicone strip in the shower and looking forward to trying the dawn recipe to clean the grout….baby steps first. Next…maybe that 900 sq. ft. floor!

  97. Pat Ryan says:

    I am on your site, getting info for next project,walk-in shower grout and am going to start with vinegar and Dawn solution. Thought I could add one tip though: at 76 with emphysema, physical effort is the problem often.
    I use a rechargeable toothbrush and save the old brush whenever I replace and use this for spot scrubs on stove or any timeI I needed more scrubbing power than I can supply. Just a thought.

  98. Rich says:

    I didn’t read every comment so this topic might have been discussed. In reading it appears that the key is to clean it often to prevent the more stubborn stains, but my questions is after using Comet or OxiClean or bleach should we reseal the grout each time?? Doesn’t the scrubbing remove any sealant as well as the discoloration?

  99. Nicol says:

    I read some of your comments, because I had the same problem. I tried about everything available on the market, but nothing made the grout spotless, no matter how much I scrubbed. So I decided to try the clothing steamer ????, just the steam without any detergent. Wow, now the grout looks brand new. The steam melts and washes away everything. I will purchase the multipurpose steamer, because it can be used to clean and disinfect almost everything. Try it, you will not be disappointed.

  100. Jen says:

    After reading all of this, I headed off to the store to buy an assortment of supplies to try these various recipes that might help me clean my grout. The first mixture I tried was hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, mixed in a ratio that gave me a slightly liquid toothpaste texture. I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW WELL THIS WORKED! I wish I could load the pictures I took to show the results! I just mixed up a small batch made from these two items, total cost of about 25 cents, and used an old toothbrush to scrub the grout on my bathroom floor. In a matter of seconds it started working and went from a tan/brown color to almost pristine white. I wiped it down with a rag soaked in hot water, and that was it. The tile in my bathroom is the original ceramic tile from when the house was built in 1957; about 4 inch squares. It will be a tedious task to scrub all of this by hand, but as inexpensive as the homemade cleaner is, and as well as it worked, I will put the time in to do it. It has made a huge difference.

  101. jose says:

    Formula 88 Degreaser works pretty well – some elbow grease is required though.

  102. Robert says:

    Mix baking soda with water to make a paste. In a spray bottle mix a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water. Apply the baking soda paste to the grout you want to clean. After you have all the paste on (it doesn’t matter if some gets on the tile) spray on the water/vinegar solution. Put enough on so you can see the baking soda bubbling. Let sit for 15 minutes or so – then use a stiff bristle brush like a large toothbrush and scrub. You will literally see brownish gunk coming off. Scrub all your grout this way – and then wipe down a couple of times with water to get all the baking soda off. You might have to do this twice in some areas. I did two bathrooms and a kitchen this way after having 5 years of renters and the tile and grout look almost new.

    1. lg says:

      thank you, Robert!

      I hate the mess and time and RINSING work your suggestion involves.. but love everything else- the purity of ingredients. the very smart cost effectiveness. and the results you describe. will definitely try this!

  103. Jan says:

    I am from Australia. We don’t seem to have the same named cleaning products as you have.
    My husband used a steam cleaner which did a marvellous job on the grout. They aren’t expensive. Might be worth a try.

  104. Pat Wagenbrenner says:

    Use Jubilee….it works wonders. Put it on with a sponge and then wipe with a clean dry cloth. I ordered it on line.

    1. Hmm, I’ll have to look that up Pat. Thanks for the great tip πŸ˜€

  105. Jeanna Banks says:

    My favorite tile and grout cleaners are peroxide and baking soda.It works wonders for me.

  106. lg says:

    .. thank you for the helpful thread!

    my inexperienced 2 cents– sigh.
    I live in a “pre-war” NYC studio apartment. translation- old!
    with a typical, window-less bathroom.
    tile & grout is original.. uh, 1918? white & black, small, amazingly strong but does not look new–

    the best cleanser I have ever used- ZERO elbow grease/scrubbing necessary is called KABOOM tile cleaner. cartoon-purple liquid in a spray bottle. truly, ZERO scrubbing necessary. amazing.

    sadly, it is scary to use, because, even I, with no history of asthma or lung weakness, get a constricted upper chest and the smell persists for a few days– worrisome. I decided to err on the side of caution and not use it anymore. (so hard to give up the ‘no scrubbing’ though!)

    instead, I now use a terrific cleanser already mentioned on this thread, Bar Keeper’s Friend. I buy both the powder and the liquid. it’s not as powerful as some- and it involves more work- both scrubbing and significant rinsing- sigh. but it’s safe and does not smell badly.

    thanks again for the thread.

  107. Tony says:

    Well Jeff after three years of tips and tricks suggested in this blog did you ever get your grout clean to your satisfaction ??? If so what works the best ? Did you have to regrout?

  108. Melania says:

    If you like over the counter “oxy cleaner”. Then you should try stain solver. You can view the videos and information at I’ve used this to remove years of grime on the grout in the kitchen and dining room (and then sealed it). Sorry no pictures as we lost that house in a tornado in 2013. But after the tornado immediately ordered to replace it. It removed mold and blood from carpet and clothes. Removed mystery stains from the carpet at the place we were renting while rebuilding. The owner was amazed because she had even paid a professional to come in and clean the carpet. I have nothing to do with the company, just know that t works. And is stronger than the OTC brand.

  109. maria says:

    re; Tile and grout cleaner, here in the u.k we have such a thing as a white grout pen that you just go over dirty dis-coloured grout, and it comes in white, as far as I know there isn’t another colour available, although I must say that I haven’t looked just of late, thanks for all your sound advice and tips ……

    1. Thanks Maria for your tip, that’s always a good option to try before removing the grout.

      I’ve seen pens like that here in the States πŸ˜€

  110. Puddleglum says:

    Tile and grout are enemies of sanity, time, money and marriage.
    Remodel at least the tub/shower!!!
    Put in fiberglass or other solid surface replacement unit and NEVER install grout in wet areas. Spray and wash clean for the next 30 years! Bathroom becomes a joy, not a chore. Mold and mildew spores gone! Bathrooms done and still going strong: 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2012.

  111. Deb says:

    Just tried the Dawn & vinegar approach on my black and white ceramic tile tub/shower. Never again. It did hardly anything for the grout, so I made a vinegar & baking soda paste, which helped. However, I wouldn’t ever attempt this unless you have a way to spray or flood the area. That little direction, “rinse”, is about impossible when using Dawn. Vinegar & baking soda are easier to rinse away.

  112. Bina says:

    BARKEEPERS FRIEND LIQUID will clean up grout lines, soap scum AND even water spots on shower doors, fixtures and glass! I run hot water for a couple minutes to heat up everything, then scrub with a grout brush and rinse. Repeat if necessary. Works amazing!!! I’ve cleaned hundreds of properties with this stuff! Don’t know how I lived without it before!

    1. Bill says:

      I just tried BKF on the badly yellowed grout lines in my shower and it did a better job than everything else I’ve tried using, including the hot vinegar with Dawn. The original grout was 17 years old when I bought the house and developed the same yellow color a few years later. Getting the grout back to white was impossible so I cut it out and regrouted with some acrylic liquid added that was supposed to keep mildew from growing on the grout. I believe that the acrylic is reacting with something to cause it to yellow because each time I remove the slight yellow hue it returns within a year. I use a mixture of vinegar and borax to clean my tiled showers and floors. One shower that I regrouted the same way hasn’t yellowed a bit yet it’s in the bathroom that has the most cosmetics and personal care products used. The yellowed bath sees little use except as a restroom.
      The tile and grout lines in it are squeaky clean so I’m just going to use some grout paint and be done with it.

  113. Maggie says:

    My kitchen floor (large area) had cushion tiles, some with little chips, and had sanded grout with was filthy looking no matter what I tries. I passed a truck with ” Grout Doctor” on the side…I couldn’t wait to call. He cam out and on his hands and knees scrubbed the tile and grout, He carefully replaced some damaged rile and when the time was right he used a wonderful grout stain/paint. It is still fabulous 6 years later!!

    1. That’s awesome Maggie, was it a reasonable price? I’ve seen outfits like that and always wondered how much they charge.

  114. jules says:

    A friend told me to use oven cleaner. So I purchased the ticket fumeless kind. Sprayed a section, let stand 30 min and used a scrubber to clean up the grout. Did great for me.

    1. Hmmm, good to know Jules, thanks so much for sharing.

  115. Josefina says:

    I used Cascade Liquid Gel. Put Cascade all over the floor of your shower and leave it overnight. The following morning, water your shower using a broom to get rid of the cascade Gel and your tile grout will be white again. Be careful not to use blue or orange cascade gel or any colored one. use the white or transparent one.

    1. Nice tips Josefina. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  116. Marie Tabler says:

    For the mildewed grout in our shower tile, I unrolled cotton balls and soaked them in bleach and applied them to the grout. I left them on for hours. It took a while to apply them and I did it in sections but all my grout looks new again! It even worked on the mildewed caulk.

    1. Grate tips Marie!!! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  117. Kerry L says:

    I have used a paste of baking soda and bleach. Using a cheap brush from the Dollar store and an old plastic small container i added baking soda to 1/2 cup liquid bleach making a paste consistency. Brushed it on and let it set for 30 minutes. WOW!!! clean bright white grout again..Try it…

  118. Jen says:

    I discovered inadvertently while at a customer’s home, (I do home cleaning for a living), that your best bet on grout if harsh doesn’t bother you, is to use “The Works” original toilet bowl formula. Get that on the floor or even tile walls, scrub two or three minutes on each area in succession and be sure to rinse as you go. This stuff is very harsh, but it works. On the slightly less unhealthy side I recommend mixing Bar-keepers Friend powder with Simple Green and that solution will really remove almost any dirt, grime, mildew, soap scum or stain at all, besides things like paint or gum or things like that which are best reserved for “goof off”. Also, if you go the route of “The Works”, avoid getting it on any fixtures for any length of time, as it will discolor and ruin the appearance of them, especially stainless steel.

    1. Thanks Jen for the tips. Yah, the Works is potent. My wife couldn’t take the fumes, hence my experimentation. Thank you πŸ™‚

  119. Toni says:

    We recently put in a tile shower and were told by the tile guy (in business for more than 40 years) to ABSOLUTELY NOT USE HARSH CHEMICALS it will break down your grout and it will need to be replaced. He recommended a quick spray with a vinegar solution and quick wipe down after each use. I use 50/50 white vinegar and water with a couple droppers of lemon essential oil. The smell goes away in no time.

  120. Ken Anselm says:

    Jeff, I found your site while looking for an answer on how to clean some dirty commercial ceramic tile.

    This time of year I often help my brother out by cleaning the floors at some of the many commercial accounts in which his company provides service for. He recently mentioned he could not get the ceramic tile at one of his accounts to come perfectly clean.

    I also have recently been testing oxy clean on a number of different hard surfaces, although I never had tried it for cleaning ceramic tile and grouting. I have also has some luck with this product on some other surfaces, so I think I should give it a try with one minor change.

    I own a window cleaning and soft washing company and use what is called deionized water to clean and rinse glass. I think this water could help you and possibly my brother yield perfect results when cleaning ceramic tile.

    In my industry the water is used to avoid having to squeegee the glass while still providing perfect spotless results. I know it sounds too good to be true. But it most definitely is not. Me being the curious type, I wanted to know why it worked. After doing some reading about D.I. water online and talking with an expert on D.I. water I think I have the answer. In a nutshell, and the way I understand it is, the D.I. water helps release a molecular bond between the dirt and the surface in which you are cleaning it from. I know this water is harder for someone who is not from my industry to come by, so this week when I help my brother clean the problem ceramic tile at one of his accounts, I will test the D.I. water with the oxy clean in conjuction with a hot water extraction unit. In theory the extraction unit will spray the tile with a light pressure and mimic the light scrubbing. I will let you know how it fairs.

    1. Ken Anselm says:

      Jeff, the results from my testing are as follows. It appears that when I did a test of D.I. water, D.I. water and dish soap, and D.I. water with oxy clean that the D.I water alone had descent results but when combined with oxyclean it had near perfect results. This was some rearly old and hard to clean tile. I attempted to leave a url but I believe it was removed. If you are interested in the pictures that clearly show the results please don’t hesitate to ask.

  121. J.V.N says:

    Hi Jeff, just stumbled across your blog. I run a sorority – 47 active young ladies use our showers on a daily basis. Dirty, discolored grout is definitely an issue! About two years ago, I discovered the power of Oxi Clean and you’re right, there’s a trick to it. I’ve found that if you dampen the floor slightly then sprinkle straight Oxi on it (being sure to cover the grout with a nice layer), spray a little water over it so that it becomes damp and pasty all over, then wait overnight and scrub with a stiff brush even the worst stains will come out.

  122. Canmed2000 says:

    Lysol toilet bowl cleaner!!!!

  123. Hilary says:

    Wow! Never have seen so many “remedies” for cleaning tile and grout in showers and bath rooms! Be aware that both tile and grout are porous and absorb water. For tile and grout we spray Fantastic on a section, leave it for 10 seconds and use a nylon brush to scrub the area…do a section at a time. Then just wipe down with paper rinsing after. Mold on grout is a fungus and has roots that are below the visual surface. Get a tile grout brush, sized for the job. Mix up Clorox according to directions. Use a floor fan to ventilate, and a window exhaust fan if necessary. Scrub grout with this solution. Wait 5 minutes. Then, using a larger nylon brush, go over the section and rinse with a damp sponge.
    If no improvement is made you can buy a Dremel tool and get a carbide tapered bit with a 1/16″ tip and remove 1/16″ of the stained grout surface area. Wear hearing protection and a dust mask. Then regrout with an epoxy formulated type. Then, get a good sealer and apply to the tile and the grout. You want to make sure that where the tile walls of a shower meet the floor to use a waterproof grout that will NOT crack. I use GE II silicone on that perimeter and it will NOT get mildew for 10 years according to GE. So, epoxy grout on the shower floor and the GE on the perimeter. On the walls, if you regrout, you can use Red Devil premixed tile grout that is excellent as it is a very fine sand type. Seal regrouted areas. The Spray and Forget product is good and you can mix up that for maintainence to control shower mildew. That’s about all I can say; hope it helps.

  124. Michele says:

    I know this seems weird, but Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach. use the handy angled head to lightly fill the grout, wait 5 to 10 min and rinse with water. you can wipe vigourously with a washcloth if needed…but I’ve done my entire house and haven’t had to “scrub” too many areas. If you do this on tile that doesn’t have an easy rinse availablility, use a damp washcloth to wipe up.

  125. Karen S says:

    yep, the mixture of 1 cup blue Dawn dish soap and 1 cup vinegar worked on the tile for me and the glass is sparkling. BUT, how does one get rid of the heavy, heavy thick amount of soap afterwards? I would have liked to have had a power washer in there to help….say, how would a power washer be on the tile?:)

    1. Wouldn’t recommend a powerwasher inside the house. It’ll get messy and there’s no way to know if the subfloor is waterproofed, e.g. with DITRA. Heavy rinsing the old fashioned way with a bucket of water would be a good option.

      Have you tried Softscrub? It’s also a good option.

  126. Ann says:

    Hi Jeff – I have light grey colored grout in my shower area (walls and floor). I tried to read through all the comments but there are a lot! Do you know if OxiClean would strip the color? I know I can do a test spot first, but wondering if you have used it on colored grout.

  127. Sandy G says:

    I enjoyed reading so many of these tips..not sure if I missed any that mention Clorox Bleach Pen…It worked great on grout because you can run a gel like bead up and across the vertical tiles and it just sits there without running. There are much less fumes doing it this way compared to opening a bottle of liquid bleach. ..and the bleach stays just in the grout lines.
    Let the bleach gel remain on the grout for 20 won’t dry out and be difficult to remove…Then go over the grout lines with a wet tooth brush.. I used this method on white grout and it worked great. I have grey grout now and would not recommend using any type of bleach cleaner on colored grout as it could bleach the color out.
    I agree with those who posted about Bar Keepers Friend..
    I have a water softener and even having that..we still get water spots on chrome fixtures in the bathtub and shower..My family will not wipe down the fixtures after they shower so I am the one who ends up trying to get the new bathroom to stay looking new for as long as possible.
    Bar Keepers Friend on chrome is amazing..I used it on fixtures that had not been cleaned in 4 weeks..and got all the water spots off easily. Using a light paste of the powder and water. Let it sit a about 5 mins , the rinse off the paste and dry to a shine…if there are still water spots..just repeat on the tougher spots..It is a great product..I had tried spray on cleaners they didnt work..this works and hasnt scratched the chrome.

  128. Loretta says:

    I enjoyed reading the comments. I have grout that grew and it is yellow tinted. I think a smoker use to live in this apartment. I know there is a way to clean it and get the excess removed but I did not see any tips for that.

  129. Pam says:

    Try toilet bowl cleaner for your grout…works like a charm

  130. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness.. I loved reading about your experiments and am so grateful you took the time to tell us all. My shower floor is small river rocks with grey grout. It helps me feel like I’m outside. After a few weeks of heavy gardening I am shocked to see how dirty my shower got. I was just considerng trying DeckBrite which is an oxygenated cleaner but it said for outside only. so I was thinking.. hmmm oxyclean so I google it and found you. in the morning I will tackle my shower and thank you!!

  131. Molly says:

    The product is CLOROX (there is no “h), not Chlorox. Please fix. Thanks for all the tips.

  132. Paula Gosselin says:

    I bought a fixer upper, same prob with tile and grout, bath &kitchen. Tough Stuff, spray foam (in automotive dept) is the bomb. Works on many surfaces too. Spray, brush with a brush or stiff broom, then wash down with water & polish. I used Jubilee on bath tiles, just Mop&Glo on travertine tile and tinted grout. Awesome

  133. Audrey B Jordan says:

    I’m new in the house cleaning business what are the best things to clean with I have a house that the bathroom is really bad I can’t get it clean good enough

  134. JOANNE I MURPHY says:

    After struggling for years to rejuvenate our white tile and grout bathroom floor, I’ve discovered melamine sponges (sold as Mr. Clean magic erasers). Add water and some elbow grease and voila, just like new. I will never go back to chemical trials. Truly amazed that I haven’t known how fabulous this material is for deep cleaning.

  135. FindsReview says:

    An Excellent article…
    At first time, I found your blog. Your tips are very helpful. I know something from here about clean tile and grout. Thanks for sharing valuable information. I have benefitted.

  136. Sue Ann Pumphrey says:

    This is so interesting. I have small varied size mosaic tile from the 1950s on the barhroom floor. Not sure it had ever been cleaned. I used soft scrub, Dawn and a nylon nail brush as the shape of the nail brush was easier. Lots of scrubbing but a huge improvementbut not bright white. I sealed it, but after reading all these ideas I want to try again. Do I need to remove the sealant before cleaning again?

  137. Michael Marcus` says:

    I think some of the best advice for folks fed up with filthy grout is to find a Professional Tile and Grout Cleaning Company who has knowledge and experience of nothing but cleaning tile and grout.
    You wouldn’t ask a plumber to do electrical work?
    Most of the advice in this blog is from folks who gather tile and grout cleaning information from the net and compile it into one big pile of wrong information…
    Want great information on how to clean your tile and grout, call on a professional grout cleaning company! Save your floors from permanent discoloration and disintegrating grout joints!

    1. Sandy says:

      This list of comments is huge! I didn’t read all…but why aren’t we all saying “NO TO GROUT”? Its insane. I want my home to serve me and not me serve it.

  138. Jeanne Mills says:

    Husband tried to clean grout with straight vinegar and it’s a mess now. Tiles are all bleached out and discolored. Will the 2 cups of OxiClean in a gal of water work on getting the stain off the tiles?

  139. Jeanne Mills says:

    Husband tried to clean grout with straight vinegar and it’s a mess now. Tiles are all bleached out and discolored. Will the 2 cups of OxiClean in a gal of water work on getting the stain off the tiles?

  140. Asprucedhome says:

    Hey, thank you for your writing. I was looking for the best and easiest way to clean grout and tile floors for my bathroom. Your article is knowledgeable and helpful and I’m going to share it along with my wife.

  141. Tanya says:

    Hi, I have 1 inch white tiles with white grout in my bathroom (house built in 1969πŸ™„) and just used a product that I already had in my cabinet on a whim and after 8 years of living here, my grout is finally white. It’s never been white, and I honestly didn’t know there was a color variation in my tiles because the grout was so stained that they all looked the same color of white. That’s how good this product worked. It’s called CLR Kitchen and Bathroom spray. I sprayed it on, left it a few minutes and used a brush I picked up on Amazon for a few bucks and attached to a small battery operated power drill. I went over the grout lines quickly and wiped off the cleaner with hot water and a washcloth and was absolutely blown away. I have pics of the during and after so you can be amazed too. Lol Let me know if you would like to see them. I would be happy to send them over. I still need to seal the grout as it hasn’t been done in the 8 years I’ve lived here because I was planning to rip out the ugly disgusting tiles because of the grout but now I don’t need to:)

  142. Candysse Gordon says:

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet but I did my own little experiment with different ways to clean our kitchens really terrible looking grout (I don’t think we’ve cleaned it since having the tiles places about 15 years ago, blech!) It’s supposed to be white, or maybe an off-white grout which had turned almost black over the years of neglect (have I mentioned it was HORRIBLY gross?!). The fastest & easiest way I found to clean/brighten it up was using β€œKABOOM Foam-Tastic With the POWER of OXI CLEAN Stain Fighters”. I tried using toilet bowl cleaner which did next to nothing. Also we tried peroxide & alcohol which was took way too much effort for my liking, and tried a pure oxi clean paste which was too much work to entertain trying to use on the entire kitchen floor. The last attempt before trying Kaboom was with Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bleach which made a significant improvement with little effort, but it would have still taken multiple applications before the grout would be clean enough for me.
    With the can Kaboom Foam Tastic I simply sprayed a few spots over each grout line and used my gloved fingers to push any excess from the tile onto the grout lines, then let it sit for 15 minutes. After a very quick scrub (30 secs-1min) with a firm bristled brush and our super gross grout looks good as new again! Then I just wiped up the leftover cleaner with a wet rag until the entire floor could be mopped over with a swiffer mop. Practically effortless and I could easily do our entire kitchen in 2 hours or less! Our kitchen is quite small, but the extent of the grout grime could have easily made this a 5-6 hour job with any other method. I’m honestly not sure how safe it is use, but I don’t even care because it works and I’m not planning to use it regularly. Our grout might as well be unsealed by this point in time and the Kaboom was just a much needed deep deeeep cleaning after 15 years of buildup. Now I just need to seal so I hopefully won’t need to find another solution a month from now, lol

  143. Mike says:

    Your article is knowledgeable and helpful and I’m going to share it along with my wife.

  144. Elsa says:

    This article is informative and helpful. I can surely use the products on the grout surface.

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