How to clean grout in floor tiles

Hand with blue rubber glove holding a soapy sponge showing how to clean grout in floor tiles.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering how to clean grout in floor tiles? Scrubbing grout is arguably one of the least attractive chores around the home, but it can have the biggest impact on how your home looks. Discovering tips and tricks on how to use different cleaning methods, such as bleach or baking soda, will help you have sparkling surfaces without arm or backache.

No matter how often you scrub tiles, time and the gradual build-up of grime can leave grout discolored which in turn will make a room look dull and unclean. As well as impacting the aesthetics of your home, grout is a prime spot for mold growth, which is something you will want to keep under control, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. 

Creating a hygienic household is top of everyone’s list of cleaning goals, so it is important to regularly mop to clear away daily dust, stains, and germs. If you’re looking for a new device to add to your cleaning cupboard, take a look at our round-up of the best steam mops or the best vacuum cleaners to make light of everyday duties. 

While reviving grout may seem tough and daunting, with the right tools and easy at-home methods, it is possible to achieve bright, spotless floors in no time. 

How to clean grout in floor tiles with bleach  

When dealing with stubborn stains, your first thought might be to target the area with a strong chemical cleaner, such as bleach. There are many natural methods to trial before jumping to a harsh solution, but it does offer a fast and effective way to combat long standing discoloration. 

Remember that when using chemicals, it's vital to use gloves and open windows or doors to maximize airflow. 

Step 1: 

The quickest and easiest way to clean grout with bleach is to pour it directly into a cup, and then apply directly to the area with a sponge, scrubbing tool, or toothbrush.

Step 2: 

Alternatively, you can create a paste using bleach and baking soda. This should be a thicker consistency, and can be left on grout for around 15 minutes before scrubbing off. 

How to clean grout without chemicals  

What the expert says...

We spoke to Lynsey Crombie, TV's Queen of Clean, who gave a top tip, "White shaving foam has many amazing uses, but it works so well on white grout and is non-toxic. Apply and leave to work before rinsing away!"

Bleach can be highly effective at removing grout stains quickly, however, there are many natural solutions on the market that will help you achieve the same results. Opting for chemical-free methods is a safer method that will require less prep to minimize fumes, while also preventing any harm to pets and children. 

Sometimes a durable tool is all you need to add a bit of power to your scrubbing efforts. Using an old electric toothbrush, or a dish brush, simply move in circular motions with warm water to dislodge dirt. 

Alternatively, there are many dedicated electric scrubbing devices on the market that are high-powered, meaning there is less pressure on you to do the hard work. This is also a great option for anyone who struggles with muscle pain, as spending long periods of time bent over tiles can cause damage to your back, knees, neck, and arms. Plus, if you have larger areas of dirty grout, this will make the job far quicker. 

Lynsey Crombie, TV's Queen of Clean, also gave us her favorite household cleaning hacks which included, "white toothpaste works like shaving foam, simply rub into the grout, wait a while and rinse off!"

Another fast way of sprucing up grout is to "use the power of steam". Lynsey noted that "popping your steam cleaner on handheld mode will blast grout lines rid of dirt for amazing results".

How to clean grout with baking soda and vinegar 

An affordable method to clean grout in floor tiles is using baking soda and white vinegar - cupboard essentials that crop up in many different floor cleaning guides. Not only are these products low-cost, they are also incredibly versatile and can be used in many different ways around the home. This means any precious storage space is well-used, and your cupboard supplies are well curated. 

Woman holding a floor mop showing how to clean kitchen floors.

Cleaning grout in floor tiles can be tricky, but our top tips will keep your floor sparkling. (Image credit: Getty)

Simply follow the steps below to lift any grime, stains, and mold that may have accumulated on your grout and floor tiles. 

Step 1: 

Make a mixture of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part vinegar. As opposed to cleaning carpets with these products, you want this to be more of a paste. 

Step 2: 

Use a dry sponge to apply the paste to the affected area.

Step 3: 

Create another mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part warm water in a spray bottle and apply on top of paste. This should create a fizzing effect, which means it is working.

Step 4: 

Scrub with a sponge or brush.

Step 5: 

Use a wet sponge or towel to clean. 

How to get grout white again 

White is a notoriously tricky color to keep clean around the home, no less when it’s placed under foot. While it’s difficult to maintain, it makes a huge impact on a space when it looks fresh. It has the ability to instantly transform the appearance of an interior, so it’s worth taking the time to restore its shade. 

One way of achieving this is through using a grout pen. These are an affordable option that are handy for quick color updates. The task of manually shading in any yellowed patches of grout can be time-consuming and taxing though, so we recommend this as a last resort for stubborn stains. 

Alongside offering a bright new look, grout pens have anti-mold qualities that will help to remove and prevent the growth of mildew - vital for rooms with high amounts of humidity such as a bathroom or kitchen. So while the aesthetic value of cleaning grout is high, doing so will also keep your home sanitary too. 

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Holly Cockburn
Former Features Editor

Holly is the former Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focused on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from