The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Grout

Grout fills the spaces between the tiles in your bathroom, kitchen, or flooring. Beyond its functionality, grout serves as a frame to highlight the beauty of the tile. However, even gorgeous tiles can appear quite grungy when the grout in between is soiled or stained. It’s important to note that grout is incredibly porous and can act like a sponge, absorbing any grease, grime, dirt, crumbs, oils, or spills it comes into contact with. And while the culprit may vary from room to room – cooking splatters on the kitchen backsplash, mold or mildew in the shower, or discolored grout between the tiles in the foyer floor – most of the time you don’t need specialized systems to get gross grout (and the surrounding tiles) sparkling clean again. 

Learn how to eliminate dirty grout for good with these tips for cleaning and removing stains. These methods work for floors, showers, kitchen backsplashes, and other tiled areas. With just a little time and effort, your grout can look as good as new.

Start by Cleaning the Tiles

Since grout lines between tiles are often slightly deeper than the surface, simply wiping down your tiled surface isn’t enough for tough stains or stubborn grime. While vinegar is a common recommendation for cleaning grout, it’s best avoided. According to Robb Roderick, a technical trainer at the National Tile Contractors Association, “Vinegar is very acidic. If the solution is too strong, you'll weaken and damage the grout, and vinegar can etch stone tiles." Instead, reach for a gentler solution: Vital Oxide. Simply spray on tiles, then wipe with a damp microfiber cloth to shine. Unlike harsh cleaning products like bleach, Vital Oxide can be used on ceramic, sealed concrete, and natural stone tile. With a pH of 8-9 (meaning it’s neutral to mild alkaline), Vital Oxide is non-corrosive to surfaces treated, and it’s also highly effective against oily residue, soap scum, and mold and mildew.  

Tip: Use Steam to Clean Shower Tiles

In the bathroom, you’re dealing with a lot more than dirt and debris. Stubborn soap scum residue can be much harder to remove and can take a lot of elbow grease. Make things a bit easier by spraying tiled shower walls and floors with Vital Oxide, and then turning on the hot water for five minutes until steam builds. Wait 15 minutes and voilà! The tiles will be remarkably easier to wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. 

Scrub the Grout Lines

Now that your tiles are looking tip-top, it’s time to turn your attention to those pesky grout lines. Keep in mind that the level of grimy that grout gets may come down to the materials it’s made of. Traditional grout is a mixture of sand and cement, though more modern options include latex and other polymers to help boost their stain-resistance. 

No matter what kind of grout stains you’re tackling, start by spraying the grout with hot water and scrubbing with a bristle brush to lift any dirt or grime on the surface. Steam can also help to speed up the cleaning process. A handheld steam cleaner is especially effective for cleaning grout since you can direct steam to the affected areas. (Important note: Use only water in your steam cleaner. Do not add additional chemicals or cleaning solutions to the cleaner’s water tank.) Apply steam directly to the grout lines, use a stiff scrub brush to scrub in a circular motion and then rinse with warm water. 

Tackle Stubborn Grout Stains

After you’ve scrubbed the grout, tackle stubborn stains with Vital Oxide. Vital Oxide’s revolutionary formula can penetrate porous surfaces like grout, making it a powerful tool in your grout-cleaning arsenal. Spray Vital Oxide directly onto grout, then grab your stiff bristle brush and scrub again, using firm pressure, and make several passes over each grout line. 

After scrubbing, use a clean microfiber cloth or mop to remove any remaining grime, rinsing or mopping with fresh water as you go. If you’re cleaning grout on tiled floors, be careful to not use dirty mop water to rinse, otherwise the grout will soak it up and become discolored once again in a jiffy.

Kill Mold & Mildew 

Warm, humid bathrooms with limited circulation are the perfect environment for mold spores. To send mold spores packing for good, reach for Vital Oxide. 

Vital Oxide is an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant and powerful mold killer that eliminates fungus spores and inhibits growth on a molecular level. Unlike harsh conventional cleaners like bleach that are only effective on hard, non-porous surfaces, Vital Oxide can also penetrate surfaces like caulk, drywall, wood, and grout. Application is simple: First remove any visible mold or mildew (soap, warm water, and a scrub brush works well), rinse with water, then spray with Vital Oxide from a distance of 12 inches until visibly wet. Let air dry. 

Tip: Reduce Humidity in Your Bathroom 

To make your bathroom less appealing to mold and mildew, make it a habit to open a window or run the bathroom exhaust fan after showers, to quickly pull humidity and moisture from the room and help prohibit mold growth on the grout. If your bathroom doesn’t have an exhaust fan, consider adding a dehumidifier to keep the moisture level down. Using a towel or a squeegee to remove water from tile walls immediately after showering is also a great way to get rid of excess moisture. 

Related: How to Remove Mold from Every Home Surface

Seal Grout 

Grout sealers fill the grout’s pores, preventing grime and mold from infiltrating the porous material. How often do you need to seal grout? It depends on how high-traffic the tiled area is, but the general rule of thumb is once or twice a year. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours between cleaning the grout (or taking a shower in the case of bathroom grout) and applying the sealer, to make sure the grout is completely dry. 

Want more cleaning tips? Follow Vital Oxide on Instagram (@vitaloxideofficial). If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We’re here to help!
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