Removing Stains from Grout

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated October 4, 2021)

What is grout? Here's what Merriam Webster says: "Grout is a thin mortar used for filling spaces (as the joints in masonry); also, it is any of various other materials (as a mixture of cement and water or chemicals that solidify) used for a similar purpose". In other words, it is that white plaster-like stuff between tiles that always seems to accumulate stains that you can't even reach, let alone clean. Removing stains from grout takes patience and diligence, but don't worry, we'll tell you how.

To begin with, the best way to remove stains from grout is to first work on the dirt trapped in it. You can do that by applying a liquid cleaner on the grout and letting it stand for at least fifteen minutes. That softens the stains and allows you to clean them off with a wet-dry vacuum. If your tiles are laid very close together, the grout lines between them are so narrow that they do not easily accumulate dirt.

An effective preventive option is to seal the grout. Unsealed grout is a magnet for dirt, grime, slime, mold, and mildew, which will leave horrible green, brown and black stains. Most grout sealers, readily available at hardware stores, are quite expensive, but the investment is worth making for the time, effort and money it saves you later.

As a rule, before you begin removing stains from grout, make sure there is no excess moisture in the area by wiping it with a clean, dry towel. If the grout is breaking up, you may have to replace it rather than waste time trying to clean it.

Finally, try to make sure you don't trudge all over your tiles with dirty shoes on. There's nothing like shoes to get dirt on grout lines. If you can't leave your shoes outside the door, at any rate use doormats and exchange outdoor shoes for indoor ones when you come in the door.

Mold and Mildew Stains

Mold and mildew stains are the most common stains that form on grout, particularly in bathrooms. Chlorine bleach is the best antidote in this case. Do not apply pure bleach directly onto the grout, but use bleach diluted with a little water. Once you pour the solution along the stained grout lines, scrub gently with a stiff-bristled brush to make sure the solution sets on the stains and disinfects them. After about fifteen minutes, rinse the area thoroughly.

Warning: When you are using chlorine bleach or any strong chlorine-based solution, you must always wear gloves and safety goggles, and make sure your surroundings are thoroughly ventilated to prevent exposure to the pungent chemical fumes of bleach.

Rust and Other Stains

While commercial cleaners are the easiest way to remove grout stains, you can actually make your own grout cleaner at home. Not only is it almost as effective as commercial chlorine bleaches, but it is also far safer. The mixture is one of about four tablespoons each of baking soda, ammonia, and white vinegar diluted in at least a liter and a half of water. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and mix well before spraying it along grout lines. Leave it standing for at least fifteen minutes before rinsing it off.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

MORE FROM AMY

Removing Paint Stains

Paint stains are best treated while still wet. For watercolors and latex paints, just pre-treat the stain with stain ...

Discover More

Protect Young Plants from Frost with Plastic Bottles

Young plants need protection, or they can be killed with as little as some late frost. If you want to protect the new ...

Discover More

Clean Houseplant Leaves with Banana Skins

Houseplants can be very useful in decorating your home, but you must keep them looking good. Make sure to clean any dead ...

Discover More

Tough Cleaning Jobs Require Brawny! Brawny paper towels provide the versatility you need: the strength for demanding jobs and the softness to clean up your child's messy face. This 24-roll pack of pick-a-size sheets can handle just about every cleaning task in your home. Check out Brawny 24-Pack Giant Paper Towels today!

More Cleaning Tips

Removing Rubber Stains from Flooring

Rubber stains are very common on hard surfaces and the even appear occasionally on carpeted floors. Luckily, they are ...

Discover More

Removing Stains from Linoleum

Linoleum floors are generally easy to clean, but some stains will crop up that can be hard to remove. The best way to ...

Discover More

Removing Stains from Tile

Most stains on tile come in the form of hard water, mildew, or rust. Rust must be removed with a commercial rust remover, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.