10 Ways to Clean and Seal Grout

Does your tile look grimy and old? Grout tends to take on stains and messes and when life gets busy properly scrubbing grout on tile floors, showers, and backsplashes is the last thing we think about doing. When you don’t have time to spring clean your bathroom you can still use these quick hacks to clean the discolored grout. The good news is that with a few simple tricks you can return your grout’s original color and then protect it so the clean grout will last longer and maintenance will take less of your time.

Before picture of dirty grout and white tile.

Why does grout get discolored?

Grout can easily get stained by dirt, soap scum, and even dried dyes from your cleaning supplies. If the grout in areas like your doors or your kitchen backsplash these stains can come from things like spilled food and drinks. If your grout is properly sealed it is harder for dirt and stains to penetrate the pores in the grout.

This discoloration is most often only on the surface layer and can easily be cleaned away though older tile and ground may be so bad that you may want to consider replacing the grout and properly sealing for a better overall result.

How to clean grout

Cleaning your grout can be a lot of work due to the detail but the end result is well worth it. These tricks will help make it easier to clean your grout so your floors, walls, and everything in between looks amazing.

Scrubbing cleaners

Cleaners like Scrubbing Bubbles and Soft Scrub are great for cleaning the dirt and grime out of your grout. These cleaners can be sprayed on and let it sit while it does much of the work for you. Do not simply leave it until it dries though as this can turn the cleaner into a residue that simply makes the surface worse than it was before.

Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar make a great tool to clean your grout. To do this make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub it into your grout to help encourage the baking soda to work into the crevices. Then pour vinegar over the baking soda in your grout. The bubbling action will lift the dirt and grime out of your grout so it can be wiped away. Repeat until the dirt is gone and follow with a clean damp cloth to remove the remaining residue.

Peroxide

Peroxide is a great cleaner that is wonderful for killing bacteria. You can use peroxide to clean your ground effectively killing germs and lifting away any mold and mildew. The bubbling action gets all over the deep crevices to help remove even long-standing mold and mildew from your tile grout. This is the perfect option if you have mold stains.

Bleach

For tough stains that are hard to remove you can use bleach to clear them away. First, you will need to clean away dirt and grime so this is best if stains are left over after using another method. Simply apply the beach with a toothbrush and let sit until the grout returns to its color and mop or wipe away to leave the surface fresh and clean again.

Bissell steam cleaner with attachments.

Steam clean

If you have a steam cleaner you can make it very easy to clean away dirt and grime including in your grout. The steam can penetrate into the small cracks and crevices easily. Hold the steamer or steam mop over the grout lines moving very slowly down. Follow with a clean cloth and repeat until your grout lines are clean.

A steam mop can be a great option for maintaining clean grout as well as helping to get already very dirty and stained grout clean. If you would like an easy-to-use maintenance option for tile floors this is the ideal tool.

4 piece scrub attachment set for drill.

Use a drill scrub brush

My favorite way to clean tough messes including grout is with a drill scrub brush attachment. You can combine the drill scrub brush with any of the tricks above to make cleaning your grout easier than ever. These scrubbers attach to your favorite power drill and will scrub away even the toughest messes around your home.

How to protect and seal your grout

After you have cleaned your grout you will want to seal it. Sealing your grout protects it from damage and helps fill in the crevices so the dirt does not get stuck in them so you can spend less time cleaning. Most grout sealers will also help to seal and protect your tile to help keep it looking great longer.

Bottle of tile and grout sealer on a tile counter.

Supplies

  • Grout and tile sealer
  • Sponge or small paintbrush
  • Small dish or paper plate
  • Rags
Paint brushing tile and grout sealer onto grout lines.

Time needed: 30 minutes.

How to Seal Grout

  1. Make sure grout is dry

    Before sealing you should ensure that your grout is completely dry. This includes both any new grout you put in and grout that you recently cleaned that could have moisture still in it. If sealing your shower grout be sure to keep everyone out of the shower for a couple of hours before you start.

  2. Gather supplies

    Pour a small amount of the sealer in an old cup or paper plate. Use a small paint brush or foam brush/ sponge to apply the sealer onto the grout.

  3. Apply sealer

    Sponge on your grout or grout and tile sealer. If using grout sealer only you will need to follow the grout lines while grout and tile sealers are less work because you can cover the entire area making it much easier for large surfaces like your full shower or floor. Because you can use a typical sponge mop to do this task.

  4. Allow sealer to set

    Allow the sealer to set for about 10 minutes. After setting wipe away excess sealer with a damp rag. Grout sealers will leave a residue on the tile that you may not like but it can easily be cleaned away with a little elbow grease.

  5. Do the bead test

    After your sealer has fully dried you can test to ensure that the job is complete by placing a few drops of water on the grout line. If it beads up you are good to go. If it soaks in you need to apply another coat of sealer to ensure that it is fully sealed and ready to use.

  6. Refresh yearly

    For the best results and to maintain the easy-to-clean effect of sealed grout you will want to refresh your grout sealer at least once a year or when you notice the water no longer beads up on the surface of your grout.

Clean grout after shot.

Check out this video from Diana at Clean Freak and Germaphobe for more inspiration!

FAQ

Does a Magic Eraser work on grout?

It depends on the type of grout. If the grout is sanded the Magic Eraser may shred on the rough surface of the grout. If the grout is not sanded then the eraser should work well since the surface will be smooth.

Will cleaning grout with vinegar ruin it?

Grout that hasn’t been sealed, needs to be resealed, or is in poor shape should not be cleaned with vinegar. The vinegar penetrates into the pores of the grout, further weakening the material. Over time, vinegar will deteriorate the condition of the grout by etching or wearing it away

Is hydrogen peroxide safe on grout?

Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on grout, as it is a neutral cleaner that won’t eat away at the grout like vinegar can. Mixed with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide forms oxygenated bleach, and that chemical reaction safely cleans the surface

What can I use instead of a grout brush?

If you don’t want to spend money on a special grout cleaning brush you can use an old toothbrush or a denture brush.

Can I use OxiClean on grout?

Yes, OxiClean will work on grout as long as the stain is an organic stain like from food, blood, or mold. If the stain is oily from makeup for example then it is not likely to work as well.

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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