BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Home

Spring cleaning 101: How to clean grout

Best tips and products for cleaning grout


Kitchens and bathrooms have multiple areas with grout, including around the sink or tub. Grout has a gritty surface, and dirt, debris and other things you don’t want to think of often end up there. Cleaning grout is no small task, but it's easier and quicker when you invest in the right tools and products.

Natural vs. chemical grout cleaner

Many consumers wonder whether they should use natural or chemical grout cleaners. It’s a personal choice, so weigh the pros and cons of both.

Natural or do-it-yourself grout cleaners use everyday products in your home, such as lemon juice, vinegar or baking soda. They’re affordable and produce fewer odors than chemical cleaners. One of the pitfalls of natural cleaners is that solutions must be well-balanced to be effective. As a result, some consumers may see less-than-satisfying results with them.

Chemical grout cleaners use deep-cleaning ingredients like bleaching agents or degreasers. They’re more reliable than natural or DIY grout cleaners and offer longer-lasting results. Chemical grout cleaners are usually scented and may irritate those with sensitive noses and eyes.

How to clean grout

How you clean grout depends on your cleaning products and tools. For the most part, it involves the application, scrubbing and rinsing of problem areas.

Some products need a set time following application to dislodge dirt and grime. Others scrub into the grout and need rinsing immediately. There are some no-rinse grout cleaners that dry on their own but excess moisture must not get introduced for a few hours.

Other things to know before cleaning grout

  • Cleaning grout is somewhat of a laborious process that involves elbow grease, squatting and reaching. Some say it's a decent aerobic workout.

  • Many grout cleaners contain chemicals that damage or discolor clothing. Wear old clothes when you clean, especially when using bleaching agents.
  • When working with chemical grout cleaners, open windows and doors to minimize exposure to fumes. The more air circulation the better.

Best grout cleaners and brighteners

Dedicated grout cleaners dissolve buildup and grime better than other cleaners. These cleaners are also designed to preserve grout and won’t damage the surrounding tile.

If you’re looking to brighten and whiten, consider a hydrogen peroxide-based grout cleaner. These are effective at penetrating and lifting deep-set stains. They’re the best option for cleaning yellowed grout and grout stained by soap and hair products.

Some grout cleaners need times to activate, such as Zep Grout Cleaner and Brightener. This gel-like formula de-gunks grout after only three minutes and requires less scrubbing than others.


Best grout scrubbing devices

Some people are partial to manual grout scrubbing devices because they offer more control than electric ones. 

A classic grout and corner scrubber is ideal for tackling small sections. Grout detail brushes, such as these from OXO Good Grips, are better for cleaning small areas that require more attention than others.

Those who want to take the hard work out of grout cleaning prefer electric scrubbing devices. A small power scrubber, which resembles an electric toothbrush, allows targeted cleaning. It’s the most reliable cleaning device for corners, nooks and crannies.

If you’re looking for a large scrubbing device to cover more area, reach for your power drill and invest in a drill brush head attachment. The rapid rotations of these brushes blast away dirt and grime from grout quickly.

Other essential products for cleaning grout

Heavy grout cleaners are chemical-laden, so it’s a good idea to protect skin by wearing gloves. Playtex Living Reusable Rubber Cleaning Gloves offer three layers of protection, including a drip cuff.

Scrubbing grout often causes cleaners to spray in several directions, including toward your eyes. Avoid eye irritation and injury by wearing protective goggles. These DeWalt safety goggles have a clear anti-fog coating and an adjustable strap for a custom fit. 

Kneeling on the floor or tub is tough on joints, so take it easy with a foam pad or cushion. The Gorilla Grip Premium Thick Kneeling Pad is 1.5 inches thick and uses water-resistant material.

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: