How to clean grout in tiles – get wall and floor tiles looking as good as new

From the mildest to the strongest methods, tackle any stain on grouting

Tackling discoloured or mildew infested grouting can feel like a war you'll never win. However, with our tips on how to clean grout, keeping your bathroom and kitchen pristine will become a breeze.

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Tiles can usually be brought to sparkle with a quick spritz of cleaning solution and a light buff with a clean cloth. However, the criss crossing lines of grout are a whole other story.

Made from a mixture of water, cement and sand, grout is often light coloured and porous. This makes for a fatal combination that is prone to staining.

In the bathroom, the biggest culprits for stains are mould and mildew. These can leave your grout a faded black colour, not a good look in a pristine white bathroom. However, even a build-up of shampoo can turn your grouting an unappealing shade of yellow.

In the kitchen, mould is less of a dilemma, but washing up liquid or splashes of food can still leave grouting looking grubby.

bathroom with grey brick wall and bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

These days you can pick from a huge range of different-coloured grouting. When planning how to grout tiles, bear in mind that black, pink, blue or even coffee brown will all resist stains better than traditional white grout.

However, if you are determined to stick to white, or have found your gorgeous blush grouting starting to take on a yellow hue, we have a list of tried and tested grout-cleaning methods.

When it comes to cleaning grout, always start with the mildest method first. If you are still struggling to return your grout to its original shade, try each method, progressing to the strongest. We've listed each method for how to clean grouting from the mildest to strongest, so you can work out which method works best for you.

How to clean grout with no chemicals

kitchen with teal brick tiled wall wooden cabinets and electric stove

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Sussie Bell)

What you'll need

  • A scrubbing brush or old electric toothbrush
  • Warm water

Method

Sometimes all grouting needs is a good scrub. Using a scrubbing brush, or an old electric toothbrush scrub the grouting with warm water in a circular motion.

You can buy special scrubbing brushes, such as the Sonic Scrubber Cleaning Tool (opens in new tab) from Lakeland. The interchangeable heads will fit between the tiles easily and oscillate at 10,000 times a minute. You might find a little warm water is all you need.How to clean grout with whitening toothpaste

How to clean grout with whitening toothpaste

wash basin with blue brick tile wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

What you'll need

  • Scrubbing brush or old electric toothbrush
  • Whitening toothpaste

Method

Give your grouting a good scrub with a little whitening toothpaste. The toothpaste should act as a mild abrasive that will help remove any black tinges.

How to clean grout with vinegar spray

What you'll need

  • Scrubbing brush
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Warm water

Method

For mild stains, a solution of vinegar diluted with warm water should help restore your grout to its original colour.

Fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half warm water. Spray it onto the grout, leave it to stand for five minutes before giving a good scrub with a stiff brush.

A regular spritz of vinegar spray is a great way to keep your grout in tip-top condition in between deep cleans.

How to clean grout with bicarbonate soda and vinegar

designed floor and towel in bucket

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Need:

Scrubbing brush or old toothbrush

Bicarbonate of soda

White wine vinegar

Method:

This method is a favourite with clean-fluencer, Lynsey Queen of Clean. 'If you have discoloured tile grout, mix together a thick paste of bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar,' she says in her How To Clean Your House At Christmas book.

'Apply the paste to the grout with a small brush or an old toothbrush. Leave for 15 minutes to settle and then rinse,' she adds. 'Your grout will come up as good as new.

How to clean grout with bleach

What you'll need

  • Toothbrush
  • Bleach
  • Bicarbonate of soda

Method

You should reserve using bleach for those stubborn grout stains that you can't seem to budge. Before you set to work, make sure you have opened any windows or doors to keep the space well ventilated.

There are two ways to clean grouting with bleach. You can use it neat, pouring a small amount into a cup and dipping an old toothbrush into it before scrubbing.

Our prefered method is to make a paste out of bleach and bicarbonate of soda until it resembles toothpaste consistency. Apply it to the grout and leave for 15 minutes. Take an old brush and scrub the paste away before rinsing with water or a wet cloth. Allow the grout to dry.

How to clean grout in a shower

bathroom with grey brick tile wall and shower with shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Jamie Mason)

What you''ll need

  • Choose a solution from above
  • Cotton wool bud

Method

The tricky thing about cleaning grouting in a shower is the tight corners. To make sure you get in each and every corner, when applying your vinegar or bleach solution, swap the toothbrush for a cotton wool bud.

This will help you ensure even the bottom corners or your shower are sparkling.

Related: Best steam cleaners – the top steam mops for refreshing floors and more

Which method will you be trying?

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.