How to Clean Floor Grout (Step-By-Step Guide)

By Harold K. Hardesty Updated January 15, 2021

Don’t skip grout cleaning anymore

How to Clean Floor Grout (Step-By-Step Guide)

In this guide, I’ll discuss how to clean floor grout.

Grout lines are the borders of your tiles. Grout lines act as stabilizers and in most cases, it’s a mixture of sand, cement, and water. Some of the grout lines are colored whereas others are white. Colors are up to you, upon your preferences, this won’t have an impact on their efficiency.

Often, while cleaning, we often tend to forget scrubbing the grout. Mold is often an issue, we can find it on our grout tiles and it covers completely the original color of the floor grout.

Regarding the cleaning methods for grout, it differs based on the sealant type and color of the tiles.

Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

Why Is It Important to Clean Grout?

The tile in your home may be resistant to staining, but the floor tile grout(1) is prone to dirt and gunk accumulation. Since it’s a porous material, it will absorb liquid spills and is a dirt magnet.

With time, the grout stains get stubborn, and the dirt starts to set in. As a result, the floor tile grout starts looking filthy. Also, it loses its original color if not cleaned regularly.

Grout in the bathroom and kitchen floors are also susceptible to mold growth. Along with being a health hazard, grout also gives a mucky appearance to the floor. Due to these reasons, grout cleaning is crucial.

When it comes to mold, there’s practically no limit. Mold appears in different colors, including black, orange, and pink. So, if you spot random colors in the grout lines, you should know it’s time to scrub and rinse.

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Types of Grout

Many believe grout to be only white. However, it’s available in many types(2), depending on the shade of your floor tiles and personal taste.

1.Colored Grout

Like regular grout(3), the colored version is also made of cement and water. Then, sand is added to the mix. For the color, the manufacturers add a certain kind of powder.

Nowadays, owing to the new technology, you can get grout in a host of color options, including yellow, blue, etc.

If you want the grout lines to match the tile color, you can get them in a similar shade. On the other hand, homeowners that want contrasting grout lines can choose the grout hues accordingly.

However, installing colored grout comes with some warnings. That’s why many people ask: how to clean white grout?

You should not use bleach(4) for cleaning colored grout since it will discolor the material. Moreover, it can also damage the tiled flooring.

If you follow some homemade remedies, they’ll recommend you to use hydrogen peroxide(5) instead. But keep in mind that it’s still mild bleach and can end up discoloring the grout due to continued use.

Speaking from personal experience, I’d suggest against using bleach(6) on colored grout or tiles. Instead, you can use particular grout cleaners for colored lines. Or, if you’re using a homemade grout cleaner, do a spot test before using the solution on the whole floor.

My Finding

Let me share an interesting invention with you – a grout pen. You can buy this pen in the same color as the grout lines and use it to cover small stains or scratches.

2.White Grout

Some of you may avoid putting white grout between the tiles because of how quickly it gets dirty. However, white grout leaves an aesthetic touch on your floors.

Moreover, it’s a stark contrast to brightly-colored tiles, such as pink or mustard.

Although it’s a style statement for your home, white grout is hard to clean. You’ll need to scrub and rinse the floor now and then to keep it spotless.

Luckily, you can use bleach to disinfect(7) and clean white grout. Simply pour some hydrogen peroxide on the grout lines and rub the stains off.

Please note

You can make a vinegar and water solution to clean white grout.

Sealed or Unsealed Grout: Which Is Better?

A common conception is that since grout is cement-based, it’s porous(8). Thus, it must have to be sealed. However, that’s not always the case.

In some instances, it’s preferable to leave the grout unsealed.

1.Sealed Grout

Due to cement’s porosity(9), it’s often necessary to seal the surface. Otherwise, water can get between the surface and weaken it over time.

Leaving the grout lines unsealed will allow liquid spills to penetrate through. When sealing grout, ensure that the grout is completely dry.

After that, you can choose from one of the three sealants:

Since the sealant forms a layer on the surface of the grout, it doesn’t let moisture pass through. Even better, it’s easier to clean grout lines if they’re sealed. They’re less likely to get dirty and won’t have many tough stains.

Choosing a homemade cleaner to clean grout lines with sealant is a bit tricky. While some experts suggest against using vinegar to clean white grout with a sealing, others say it’s okay to use a diluted mixture.

However, when using vinegar on bathroom grout, make sure not to leave it on the floor for too long. Plus, don’t use vinegar on natural stone(10) as it can damage the surface.

2.Unsealed Grout

Although you must seal cemented grout, some other types don’t need sealing. For instance, epoxy grout doesn’t require a sealant since it is devoid of Portland cement.

Instead, it contains harders, resigns, and silica fillers. Therefore, the grout gets hard quickly and does not allow fluids to penetrate through.

However, there’s a downside to epoxy grout – it stains quickly. You can use vinegar and water to clean epoxy grout without causing any damage.

Tools for Cleaning Grout

One of the best tools to clean grout is a grout brush. Since grout brushes are small enough to move comfortably through the narrow lines and have soft bristles, you can use them for cleaning white grout and colored grout.

Here are some other tools that you can use to clean grout:

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How to Clean Floor Grout? (3 Simple Methods)

Whether you’re cleaning colored grout or white grout, there’s a method to make the home improvement project easier. Let’s explore some options.

Method 1: Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is an effective grout cleaner and has been used traditionally for grout cleaning. However, you should be a bit wary when using it to clean grout.

Be careful

Make sure you wear goggles and rubber gloves since bleach can damage the skin and creates toxic fumes.

When cleaning bathroom floors, leave the windows open to allow airflow. Ventilation can help reduce the effect of bleach fumes on your nostrils. Here’s how to use bleach to clean dirty grout:

Method 2: Baking Soda and Dish Soap

Although you can use this method for colored grout too, it’s the best for white grout. When using it on colored grout, do a spot test first. Here’s how to make this cleaning solution:

Method 3: Ammonia

Ammonia is an effective grout cleaner for colored grout(12). Since it does not discolor colored grout, you can use it occasionally.

Before using ammonia, you need to take some safety precautions. Open the windows and doors to increase ventilation. Also, wear rubber gloves to keep your hands safe. Then, follow this procedure:

Homemade Grout Cleaners

If you don’t want to use a commercial grout cleaner, here are some natural options.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

You can make a cleaner for colored grout by mixing one part of white vinegar with three parts baking soda. Make a paste and apply it to the colored grout.

Once the stain is gone, rinse the surface and dry it.


Don’t use this solution on unsealed grout since the vinegar can damage the cement composition, dissolving it.

Lemon Juice

Another handy grout cleaner for colored grout is lemon juice. It’s readily available in most people’s homes and has a pleasant scent. More importantly, it quickly breaks stains and grime, leaving the grout clean.

My Tip

Apply it to the colored grout lines generously. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, scrub the stained grout and rinse later.

Tips For Cleaning Grout

Here are some tips for maintaining and cleaning the floor grout in your home:

Scrub Those Grout Lines

From white to colored grout, there are different requirements for cleaning each kind, especially if you have a natural stone floor. In this guide, I’ve only discussed tips for cleaning grout lines without chemicals.

Don’t use an oil or wax-based grout cleaner on bathroom tiles as it can leave a residue behind. Instead, you can pick one of the methods in this article, depending on the type of tile grout on your floors.

With a little scrubbing, elbow grease, and the right cleaning solution, you can get rid of dirty grout stains, grime, mold, and mildew(13) in no time.

About the Author

Harold K. Hardesty

Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.

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