Safe to use with all kinds of tiles without damaging them or discoloring the surface. Successfully removes any mold on the grout. Easy to use.
Not meant to be used on natural stone. Expensive per ounce.
Very easy to use, as you just apply it and leave it. No scrubbing required to clean the grout. Works especially well on light-colored grout.
Doesn't offer immediate results, as it takes a while to activate.
Doesn't generate any kind of odor as you apply it and are working. Safe to use on all colors of grout. Reasonably good price point per ounce.
May require several applications to achieve the best results.
Can apply this product to your grout, and you can give it a different color that will continue to look natural. Follow directions for good results.
Very expensive considering the cost per ounce. Results don't seem to last long.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
When it comes to household chores, cleaning the bathroom is rarely anyone’s favorite task. But as unpleasant as scrubbing the toilet and shower can be, tackling dirty grout is often the biggest headache. That’s why every home needs a good grout cleaner to get the job done.
Not all grout cleaners are the same, however. If you want the most effective option for your tile surfaces, you have to determine the safest formula, match your grout color and tile type to a compatible product, consider how it’s applied and how long you have to wait for the cleaner to work, and make sure that it fits your cleaning routine. Considering how many grout cleaners are on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult.
At BestReviews, we give you all the facts you need to make the most educated shopping decisions for your home. For everything you need to know about choosing and using grout cleaners, keep reading our shopping guide.
Not exactly sure what grout is? It’s a mortar or paste placed between tiles in a floor, shower, or backsplash to fill in the gaps and hold the tiles in place. Grout has a porous, textured finish, which means it’s a magnet for dirt, mold, mildew, and other grime. It also easily absorbs liquids, so it’s very common for grout to take on a dingy, discolored look over time.
When it comes to tile floors, dirt either from outside or from mop water is the most common culprit behind dirty grout. In the shower, mold and mildew are usually the reason grout becomes dingy. While in the kitchen, food and cooking residue is the most likely source.
One of the most effective, easy-to-use grout cleaners
The Floor Guys Grout-Eez is a serious grout cleaner – it’s been used by professional cleaners across the U.S. for over 20 years, so it can definitely get the job done. But this grout cleaner couldn’t be easier to use at home. With its convenient nozzle, you simply spray on the cleaner, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then scrub it away. We also like that the Grout-Eez comes with a money-back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with the results.
The best way to use a grout cleaner depends on the formula, so always consult the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning grout. In general, though, you should start by washing the tiles with a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. For a tile floor, sweep or vacuum, and then mop or use a grout steamer.
Once the tile surface is clean, apply the grout cleaner to the dirty grout. Allow the formula to sit on the grout for the time specified on the bottle. After the appropriate amount of time, wipe the cleaner away, rinse the area with warm water, and dry the grout with a clean towel. For a deeper clean, use a scrub brush to wipe away the grout cleaner.
Even if you’re using a non-toxic product, it’s a good idea to wear safety goggles and gloves while applying a grout cleaner.
Grout cleaners often contain very potent ingredients like bleach, so it’s important to choose a formula that’s as safe as possible, particularly if you have children or pets at home. Look for an acid-free, non-toxic grout cleaner that won’t pose a risk to kids or animals. It’s also a good idea to choose a fume-free formula so that you don’t need to wear a mask when you use it.
Grout cleaners that contain oxygen bleach are often the best option. For the safest results, choose an oxygen bleach-based cleaner that’s organic, that’s fragrance- and dye-free, and that contains FDA-approved food-grade-quality ingredients.
Some grout cleaners aren’t suitable for use on all colors of grout. In particular, oxygen bleach-based formulas can sometimes discolor colored grout. Most cleaners do work for white or light-colored grout, but if your grout is a dark shade like tan, brown, gray, or black, always check the label to make sure that the cleaner is compatible with your grout color.
There are also some grout cleaners that are designed for specific grout colors. For example, you could use a white cleaner for white grout or a chocolate cleaner for brown grout. These formulas not only clean the grout but leave a tint of color behind to refresh the grout’s appearance. If you opt for this type of formula, it’s extremely important to get the color right.
When you’re cleaning grout, it’s inevitable that some of the grout cleaner will get on the surrounding surfaces. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the formula you choose is safe for the surfaces in your home.
Most grout cleaners are safe for ceramic and porcelain tile, but some aren’t suitable for use on natural stone tiles like marble, slate, or granite. Always check the product specifications to make sure that you can use the grout cleaner that you’re considering on your tile surfaces.
Grout cleaners are available in several different types of containers, but the most common are spray bottles, squeeze bottles, and pour bottles.
A container with a spray nozzle is usually the best option for a grout cleaner. It allows you to concentrate the product along the grout line so you don’t get it all over the floor, wall, countertop, or other surface. The cleaner usually comes out in a fine spray, too, which prevents you from applying too much.
Squeeze bottles often have a nozzle as well, but it’s usually more difficult to control how much of the cleaner you apply. Pour bottles are typically oversized containers, and the cleaner is meant to be transferred into a smaller spray or squeeze bottle. If you try to apply grout cleaner directly from a pour bottle, it’s impossible to control how much you apply or where you apply it.
A grout cleaner usually needs to sit on the grout for a certain amount of time in order to fully penetrate the grout, kill mold and mildew, and remove stains. Some cleaners only require 10 minutes, while others may require up to 24 hours. You’ll need to stay off the floor or keep items off other surfaces that you’re cleaning while you wait for the cleaner to work, so fast-acting formulas are considerably more convenient.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended time required for the grout cleaner to work to make sure that it will fit your cleaning schedule.
To make scrubbing grout cleaner into the grout a little easier, an old electric toothbrush can be a very handy tool.
Even if a grout cleaner claims to be safe for your grout color and type of tile, always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t damage your tile surface.
Grout cleaners vary in price based on the type of formula, but you can typically expect to spend between $7 and $42.
A basic, non-toxic, enzyme-based grout cleaner that can be used on most grout colors and tile surfaces usually costs between $7 and $15. Tinted grout cleaner and refresher products that leave a color behind typically range from $15 to $20. Oxygen bleach-based grout cleaners that can be used on most grout colors and tile surfaces usually cost between $20 and $42.
A budget-friendly grout cleaner for light grout
With its generous 32-ounce bottle, the Zep Grout Cleaner & Whitener provides plenty of value for the price. It works best on white and other light-colored grout, but this grout cleaner effectively removes dark stains with its bleach-free formula. It also features a pleasant woodsy scent.
Even if you choose a fume-free grout cleaner, open a window or turn on a fan in the room that you’re cleaning to make sure you have proper ventilation.
After the grout cleaner has soaked into the grout, you can use a brush to scrub the product into the grout to remove really stubborn stains.
Once you’ve let the grout cleaner sit on the grout for the specified time, always rinse it away with clean water. If you don’t, the grout can sometimes reabsorb the dirt and grime trapped in the cleaner.
To remove any grout cleaner residue that might be left behind on tile floor, mop the floor after you’ve rinsed away the product. Use a solution of warm water and a small amount of gentle dish detergent.
Q. How often should I use grout cleaner?
A. It depends on how well you maintain the grout and the conditions it’s exposed to. In general, you should use a grout cleaner whenever you notice the grout starting to look dark and dingy. That usually means doing a deep-cleaning of the grout once or twice a year.
Q. Does a grout cleaner remove grout sealant?
A. Some grout cleaners will strip away any sealant product that you’ve applied on top of the grout. If you want to preserve your sealant, opt for a gentle formula that’s acid-free and has a neutral pH.
Q. Can I use grout cleaner on tile walls?
A. You can use grout cleaner on tile walls, but you may want to adjust your cleaning technique slightly. Grout cleaners are usually fairly liquid, so they’ll run if you apply them on a vertical surface like a wall. Instead of applying the cleaner directly from the bottle, you may want to dampen a scrub brush with the product, and then run the brush along the grout on your walls to concentrate the cleaner in the right areas.