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How to Clean Grout on Tile Floor

Updated on October 28, 2011

How to Clean Grout on Tile Floor

Grout is (sometimes sadly) an essential part of any tile floor. Used correctly, it can either blend into the floor, or provide a nice counterpoint to the tiles. Often, it is also a component of mosaics, though usually more finely than on flooring. Grout is used to fix the tiles in place, and to waterproof the floor. Unfortunately, due to its make-up, it also has a tendency to collect dirt and mold, and is usually quite hard to clean.

This article will show you how to clean grout on tile floor, and how to make sure it stays clean. Since I prefer my household as free as possible from noxious chemicals, I'll be focusing on more natural methods to do this.

Cleaning grout is usually a very hard job, since it often involves lots of fine brushing. Since I don't simply want to change the color (for example, using hydrogen peroxide), but actually clean the stuff, I'll show you some tips and tricks you can use to make the job easier.


Things You'll Need

You can use many chemicals to clean grout, but my liquids of choice in this case are water and vinegar. While the smell isn't great (you can also buy a vinegar-based cleaner if it really bothers you), it generally dissipates very quickly.

Other items you'll want to have on hand are:

  • A micro-fiber mop - preferably one of the flat ones.
  • A large, stiff brush - ideally with a broom-handle mount.
  • A bucket
  • Bicarbonate of Soda

Simple Clean

If you can simply brush off the dirt with warm water and a brush, then you'll have a much easier job of it. Simply use warm water and a little vinegar to brush the grout clean using your broom-mounted brush, and use the micro-fiber mop to clean up afterwards.

Tip: Brushing Grout

Since your grout is most probably around square tiles, your best bet is to brush in large circles. This way, you can cover a larger area, and clear the dirt out easier. You'll want to do this a few times, and in multiple directions.

Tough Dirt

If the dirt is tougher than a simple brushing will take care of, your best first step is to mop your floor with hot water, and allow it to dry. This should break some of the dirt free of the grout - the micro-fiber mop will pull some of the dirt out, and the water will cause some to pull free from the grout and collect, making your job that much easier.

Your next step is to fill your bucket with warm water, and quite a bit of vinegar. Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent, which is particularily effective in this case. Use your broom-mounted brush, and work your way across the floor, making sure to pay attention to nooks and crannies. Allow the liquid to sit on the floor a while before proceeding.

Next, clean the floor with hot water, and allow it to dry again. Your floor should already be looking much better, with only a few patches of dirty grout. The main job is done at this point. Now you just have to do some in-depth cleaning.

Using a smaller container, make a 1 to 1 solution of vinegar and warm water. Use the brush in your hand (you can also use a toothbrush, though this will take longer) to work at the tougher areas. Most of the dirt should be gone already, and you should have a much easier job of it.

If this still isn't enough (most likely everything will be clean by now), you can use a paste made from some bicarbonate of soda mixed with hot water directly on the grout. Using your brush, work it into the dirt, and clear it with hot water. All stains should be gone.

Keeping the Grout Clean

This is the reason you got that micro-fiber flat mop instead of a regular one. Regularily mop your floor using a vinegar and warm water mix, and make sure to mop both vertically and horizontally across the surface. The vinegar is a great cleaning agent, and the microfiber is very effective at getting even the smallest dirt out.


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    • Coeus profile image

      Coeus 6 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      Thanks LucysMom!

    • LucysMom profile image

      LucysMom 6 years ago

      Useful hub. Voting up.