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How to clean floor tile grout

Want to know how to clean floor tile grout using methods that work? Read our guide for the best tips.

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Cleanipedia Team

Hand wiping down floor tiles with a cloth
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It can be hard to know where to start if you want to learn how to clean floor tile grout. Even if you’re diligent about cleaning the surface of your floor tiles, you’ll undoubtedly find residual dirt clings to the grout in between, so have no doubt come to the conclusion that they will need special attention. From the simple to the radical, we’ve covered all bases to get your floor tile grout looking clean and new.

How to clean floor tile grout

But before you start, we recommended you check the type of tiles you have to determine a suitable cleaning method – some chemicals can cause damage to certain tiles and should be avoided.

If you’re after the best way to clean grout on tile floors and don’t mind making a bit of effort for great results, then this method is for you. The dirt-busting formula works fast to remove stains and grime, helping to whiten your tile grout.

You will need:

  • Mop, bucket and floor cleaner
  • Grout brush
  • Old towel or cloth
  • 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tsp washing up liquid
  • Spoon
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  1. Clean the surface

    Before you start cleaning the grout, clean the surface of the tiles to make sure no extra dirt gets in the way. A mop, bucket and all-purpose floor cleaner should do the trick for larger areas.

  2. Prepare the solution

    In a large bowl or jug, mix together the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and washing up liquid to form a thick paste.

  3. Work methodically

    To make sure you’ve covered every surface, start from one corner of the room and spoon the paste onto the horizontal grout lines first, then the vertical grout lines, scrubbing with the grout brush as you go. Leave to work for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Rinse the tiles

    Give the treated area a rinse with clean water to get rid of any residue. You can use a cloth, or a clean mop and bucket of warm water.

  5. Dry the floor

    Using an old towel or cloth, wipe away any moisture as you go, so you’re not left with a wet floor.

Note: If your floor has been recently installed, we recommend you consult the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines for how to clean grout on floor tiles.

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Cleaning floor grout with water

Despite your tile grout looking discoloured and dirty, sometimes all it needs is a scrub with the simplest ingredient of them all: water.

Using a grout brush and a bucket of warm water, scrub the affected area of grout in circular motions and you should see most of the dirt come up. Wipe away any excess water with an old towel or cloth.

Cleaning floor grout: a handy no-scrub method

Wondering how to clean grout on floor tiles without any scrubbing or hard labour? Luckily, we have the solution. While this method requires you to invest in a steam cleaner or steam mop, the upside is these are great for tackling larger floor areas, saving you time and effort.

This lightweight piece of equipment will glide over your tiles using steam power to lift out any dirt from your tile grout, leaving your tiles sparkling clean. Easy, quick and effective – what’s not to love?

In a hurry? Try a grout pen

Grout pens are convenient and easy to use and are especially good at treating areas of grout that are stained. Instead of removing the dirt, a grout pen applies a layer of waterproof paint on top, which can be tinted to match the colour of your tile grout, covering any stains. Many grout pens also contain ingredients to combat mould and mildew, and are available at supermarkets and most hardware stores.

However, this method won’t provide a long-term solution to discoloured or dirty grout, as the grout pen will come away over time, so it’s worth looking into the other methods for a more lasting result.

Cleaning floor grout the all-natural way

If you don’t want to use any chemicals, then lemon and baking soda make a great natural grout cleaner. The combined ingredients work to create a mild yet natural bleaching agent that will remove dirt and grime, without being too harsh on your tiles.

Simply make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice (three parts to one) and apply the solution directly to the grout, leaving for 10-15 minutes, before scrubbing with a grout brush and rinsing off with water.

Tackling stained floor grout

This method uses bleach and is best if you’re looking to easily remove stubborn stains from tile grout. It will whiten, clean and disinfect your grout too - but it may also discolour or lighten coloured grouts, so always test on a small area first.

Pour some neat bleach into an old cup, dip an old toothbrush into the bleach and apply directly to the grout. Give the grout a scrub and leave for 15 minutes. Then rinse the area with a damp cloth and water, making sure all traces of bleach have been washed away.

Note: As bleach is a harsh chemical, make sure you use it with caution, wear gloves and ventilate the room. Never mix bleach with any other product.

If you’ve tried all the above methods for cleaning grout on floor tiles, but your grout still looks stained and dirty, don’t despair — a more radical approach will solve it, such as replacing the grout entirely. Costly, maybe, but it will undoubtedly transfer your tile floor where all other methods have failed. Consult a professional grouter for more advice and they’ll have your tile floor looking like new. Problem solved.

Answers to your top questions on how to clean floor tile grout

What cleans grout the best?

The best cleaning ingredients for tile grout is commonly thought to be a solution of bicarbonate of soda or baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, mixed two parts to one.

When applied to the tile grout and left for 10-15 minutes, this paste works to brighten discoloured grout and lift away dirt residue. But it’s not suitable for use on all types of tiles, so always check with your tile manufacturer before using.

How do I get my grout white again?

Either neat bleach, or hydrogen peroxide mixed with bicarbonate of soda, can help whiten tile grout. A grout pen can also be effective at whitening by covering the discoloured grout with a special waterproof paint. If your problem tiles are in the bathroom, why not read our guide on how to whiten and clean bathroom tile grout?

Whatever method you decide to use, always test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure no discolouration occurs on the grout.

How do professionals clean tile and grout?

Professional grout cleaning will involve the use of a grout-cleaning machine. The machine uses heat, plus chemical-containing grout cleaner, to blast away dirt and bacteria from the tiles, drying them as they go.

Often, a sealant is added after the clean to seal the grout and protect it from any further wear and stains.

Originally published