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how to clean grout between your tiles

Cleaning the grout between tiles is an essential job to keep your floor and walls in tip-top condition. And, fortunately, it needn’t be tricky. In this article, we’ve explained why cleaning grout is important, how to clean between your tiles, and how often you should take on the task.

27 February

Giving your home a deep clean can be immensely satisfying. However, while wiping down your sink and bleaching your toilet are easy enough, getting rid of any dirt and mould clinging to your tile grouting can prove to be a real challenge. Fortunately, with the right products and cleaning know-how, cleaning grout can be made that much easier.

So, to help make the chore of cleaning grout in your house a breeze, here are our top grout cleaning hacks that will transform this tedious task into a quick job that only requires a little bit of elbow grease.


Keep your grout sparkling with our maintenance tips and tricks below


Why is cleaning grout important?

Before diving straight into our tips on how to clean grout, it’s worth looking at why cleaning your grout is an important thing to do in the first place, regardless of whether you have porcelain or natural stone tiling.

For starters, anyone with dirty grout knows just how unsightly it can be to look at if left unattended for too long. Mould and mildew can quickly turn your grout grey or black, while regular exposure to shampoos and shower gels has a habit of leaving behind yellow and orange staining.

But why does your grout stain while your tiles are left relatively untouched?

Well, the reason for this is that grout is fairly porous while most types of tiles are not. This in turn makes it very easy for your grout to absorb water and remain damp, creating the perfect conditions for mould to flourish.

Therefore, it’s very important to clean your grout regularly to prevent mould from becoming ingrained in your space, otherwise, you’ll be left with those hard-to-clean stains that can take a lot of effort to remove.


How to clean grout between tiles

With the reason behind why grout gets dirty explained, let’s now look at exactly how to clean grout so that it returns to its intended colour. But before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that when looking at how to clean grout between tiles, it’s always best to start with the weakest cleaner first.

This is because you don’t want to expose your tiles grout to harsh chemicals on a regular basis. Over-exposure to bleach or powerful grout cleaners will eventually erode your grout over time, making it more susceptible to mould and dirt in the future, which in turn means you’ll need to clean your grout more regularly.

Instead, it’s best to start with a homemade grout cleaner, such as white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, or a grout-friendly cleaning product, and approach cleaning your grout with the following steps:

1. Before cleaning, start by clearing away any debris and leftover residue from the area you intend to clean.

2. Once clear, take your chosen cleaner and apply it to the area as suggested by the instructions on a store cleaner or through a spray bottle for a homemade grout cleaner. Then leave the coated area for at least 3-5 minutes, or as stated on the cleaning product, so that it has time to soak in and get to work.

3. After your cleaner has had time to absorb into the grout, take a hard-bristled brush or a disused toothbrush and begin scrubbing away at the area. You want to apply firm pressure here to clean the dirt from the grout but be careful not to press too hard or you might damage it.

4. Once you’ve cleaned the area of dirt and mould, follow these steps up by wiping the space clean with a damp cloth, and wringing it out in a separate bucket. This will ensure that you don’t end up rubbing the dirt back into the grout. Then repeat the previous three steps until your grout is clean.

5. Finally, once you’re satisfied with the area you’re cleaning, take a fresh damp cloth and wipe down the entire surface one more time.

6. Rinse and repeat these five steps until all of your grouting is clean.


Does my tile material effect how I should clean the grout?

When it comes to grout cleaning hacks, it is important to also consider to your tile material type when looking at cleaning substances.

While durable porcelain tiles can withstand any household cleaners, natural stone tiles are much more sensitive to chemicals and abrasive, grit-based solutions that could cause damage to the surface. Always avoid any bleach-based products on natural stone tiles, instead opting for gentle soaps or appropriate cleaners that are designed for the specific material itself.


Should I use a store grout cleaner or a homemade grout cleaner?

Whether or not you use a homemade grout cleaner, or a store-bought product is entirely dependent on your circumstances and tile type.

If you want to get the space between tiles clean for the lowest cost, and you have the time to spare, then why not try a homemade grout cleaner. Alternatively, if you’re short on time, and want a guaranteed, high-quality result a store grout cleaner is the better choice.



Removing mould from grout

While grout that is only exposed to dirt can be relatively easy to clean, removing mould from grout can be a different matter entirely. Due to its hardy nature, mould and mildew can be particularly fiddly to remove permanently, and if not tackled early on, can become a consistent feature on your grout.

Fortunately, there are several cleaners out there that make removing mould from grout a little easier. In terms of store-bought cleaners, anything that is grout-friendly and anti-mould will likely be powerful enough to get the job done with enough time and effort.

Alternatively, if you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, then a diluted mixture of mild bleach or baking soda in warm, soapy water can work as well, though it will require more scrubbing.



How to clean white grout

Despite its brilliant appearance, white grout can very quickly find itself becoming stained and mould covered. However, returning white grout to its former glory can be easily achieved with a combination of baking soda and water. To make use of this grout-cleaning hack, simply take the following steps:

1. Mix your baking soda and water together to form a paste.

2. Spread the paste over the grout you want to clean and leave it for at least 5-10 minutes for it to take effect, depending on the level of staining.

3. Taking a firm brush or toothbrush, scrub the grout clean. Then repeat the previous two steps as often as necessary until the dirt and mould are removed.

4. Finally, wipe away any leftover paste with a clean, damp cloth and then go over the area again using a weaker cleaner, wiping it away and rinsing the surface after a few minutes. However, it’s worth noting that it can sometimes be quite hard work to get your white grout clean using this method – especially with stubborn staining. So, again, we’d recommend using a grout-friendly cleaner instead to make the job easier.


How to clean grout that has turned black

Although most mould and mildew can be cleaned away with enough effort, if your grout has turned entirely black, then you’ll likely need to turn to harsher cleaners to remove it fully.

However, this is not guaranteed to work, and you may be better suited removing your grout entirely and regrouting the area if the mould remains despite consistent attempts at cleaning.



How to clean grout off tiles

As a side effect of having your tiles grouted, you might very well find that some grout gets on your tiles during the installation process. This is not normally an issue and is something that can be cleaned away relatively easily, assuming the grout hasn’t dried.

If, however, you find that grout has dried on your tiles, then you should remove it as soon as possible to avoid the effects of grout haze once your tiles are sealed. You can learn all about how to do this in our article on removing grout haze.



How often should you clean grout?

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you clean any form of grouting in your home at least once a month if not every other week. Of course, not all of us have time in our schedule for such regular deep cleans, which is why we also suggest doing the following to keep your grout from going mouldy:

- Try to dry your grout after using the area around it. Consider keeping something like an old towel to hand that you can use to dry the space after showers or baths and make sure you dry your grout after cleaning.

- If possible, seal your grout lines with a grout sealer. This will protect them against water and other liquids, mitigating the issues caused by grout’s porous nature.

- Whether through a fan or open window, try to ventilate your room as often as possible. This will reduce the likelihood of mould and mildew growing.

- Opt for a grey or beige coloured grout rather than white as these sorts of hues are less prone to staining.


You should now have all the information you need to clean the grout in your home. And remember, you can find plenty more informative articles like this one within our tile advice section, for help cleaning tiles in your home, such as our piece on how to clean tiles before grouting.