How To Clean Tile Grout

Last month, I outlined my list of 500 tasks to do throughout the year, essentially keeping track of recurring tasks that will keep things around the house functional, clean, and clutter free.  One of the things I added was a regular ‘deep cleaning’ of the bathroom tile and grout.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth of the bathrooms upstairs are white on white: White tile with white grout.  It’s simple and can be a very clean look, well, if it’s clean.

Which it really hasn’t been.

We use a steam mop every time we clean the house, which actually works great on the tile itself, but it does nothing for the tile.

From everyday use, the grout has gotten progressively darker in both of the bathrooms, and started to look pretty dingy.  It was even worse in the shower stall of our bathroom.

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of eHow, so I was happy to find a solution that involved using Oxi Clean as a solution. Oxi Clean has always worked well as an addition for laundry, but I always knew it probably had more uses.

The article essentially suggested that you make a paste out of it, combining two and a half scoops of Oxi Clean with two cups of water.  I ended up adding more Oxi Clean as I found that it wasn’t really a paste, but just thickened water.  In the future, I might have to experiment with the ratios.

Following the instructions, I applied it to the grout.  You don’t really scrub it in, you just apply it and leave it sit for awhile to let it work itself in.  I used a rag to apply it to the tile, and went off to do some other stuff, returning about 45 minutes later.  By that point, some of it had dried, but that was OK.  I came with hot water and a cleaning brush and set to work scrubbing.  I could instantly tell that it was working.

The Grout Wall

The Grout Wall by Afroswede, on Flickr

I scrubbed all the areas that I had done, then I emptied the bucket, re-filled it, and got a fresh rag.  I wiped it off a few times, because the article stresses that you really don’t want to leave Oxi Clean residue around, so make sure it’s completely off.

Once that was done, I went back over the whole floor with the steam mop.

I only did about 1/3 of the floor and one of the three walls in the shower, simply for the reason that you have to leave yourself an area to work (and I could have done all three walls in the shower, but I was getting tired plus I wanted to see if it actually would work).  Right now, it looks a little strange in our bathroom because you can definitely tell the difference between where I did it and where I haven’t, but seeing it will give me extra motivation to finish up the remaining areas.

As I said before, I’m excited to see what other uses we can find from Oxi Clean.  It’s been a staple in our house for years, but I have a feeling that cleaning the tile grout is just one of the many uses that we will hopefully discover.

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16 thoughts on “How To Clean Tile Grout

    • Not really. We hadn’t done the grout cleaning in depth since we moved into the house in 2007, so as long as I keep up regularly, I think it will be OK. But I will check it out if it’s something simple!

  1. I have a similar situation–my bathrooms are white/white too. In the shower, I used Tilex a couple times in succession and the grout got really clean, but then the shower never seemed to be much of a problem. The floors are what really annoy me. I tried just a steam mop, but that really didn’t do much, and the time requirement would have been too much for me to handle. After tax season, I plan on looking into a solution in more depth, but right now I don’t have much free time to be doing anything about it.

    • We have a steam mop too which works great on the tile itself but it even says in the instructions that it can only clean what it can touch, so you have to get more in depth to clean the grout.

  2. Now that I have read this, I will be noticing how dingy my grout is. Will that motivate me to clean it? Uhhh. Not sure. But if I do, I will have to give the Oxi clean a try. We use it all the time anyway. By the way, we did seal our grout after installing the tile (both in bathroom floor and shower enclosure).

  3. I was not aware that you can use oxi clean for grout cleaning. We have contemplated what to do in our kitchen as the grout lines are looking a bit dirty. I have remodeled one of our baths and sealed the grout, it does look great and tends to protect it pretty well. The sealer is a little pricey, but worth it in my opinion, application is very simple

    • I just wonder if it’s too late after the fact. Also given that it’s not perfectly clean I don’t want to seal something that I then might be unhappy with later.

  4. Grout cleaning is one of the big reasons that my wife and I decided on a colored grout when we remodeled our bathroom. Even so, the dark grout we have still is starting to show it’s age an needs to be cleaned. Also, keeping kids with bath crayons away from the grout lines is suggested. ;)

    • Good call. We haven’t introduced the bath crayons yet but I know the previous owners must have used them because I have found marks from them at strange locations in the bathroom.

  5. Gawd, Mr. Beagle.
    This one hits close to home.

    We have a tiled shower, and just cannot keep the grout clean.
    I swear, if I cleaned that thing every day, it would still get dirty.

    We are hoping to replace the shower in a year or two, and I hope to just get one of those faux stone solid panels with the only grout being on the sides where the panels are joined.

    • It is difficult but if you stay on it regularly, it’s at least less of a big job and more of a routine job. That’s my hope anyways :)

  6. We recently bought a house and remodeled a bathroom. The grout looks so pretty in the bathroom NOW, but I know it’s only a matter of time until it starts looking dingy. I’m going to have to try this!

    • Everything looks great when it’s new but as long as you stay on top of it, hopefully it won’t be as hard to keep up. As some readers have suggested, maybe sealing it is a good thing to consider since it’s new and you wouldn’t be sealing in any dirt at this point.

  7. Great posting! Yes, OxiClean, like most oxidizing bleach cleaners, work great for cleaning tile grout. Other brands that I like are Tilex, Soft Scrub and Kaboom… I have tried all these brands, and they work great in removing those ugly dark stains in the grout :)
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