How to Clean Bathroom Grout and Tiles? Step-by-Step

Cleaning out grimy tiles and grout is a simple yet effective technique to give your bathroom a makeover.

Tiles and grout can get dirty fairly quickly. Hence, it’s essential to stay on top of your cleaning game to keep your bathroom sparkling.

Whether you’re aiming to sell your home or just want to give your bathroom a fresh look, cleaning tiles and grout is an effective way to achieve this area sparkling again.

The best thing? It’s much easier than you think. So, without further ado, here’s how you can clean bathroom grout and tiles.

Cleaning Preparations

Selecting Tools and Protective Equipment

Having the right tools and protective gear is equally important for efficient cleaning. Here’s a list of tools and equipment you might need:

  • Sponge or cloth: These are useful for wiping down tiles and applying your chosen cleaning treatment.
  • Old toothbrush or grout brush: These help scrub grout lines and get into tight corners.
  • Steel wool or magic eraser: Use these for tougher stains on tiles, but be cautious as they may scratch certain surfaces.
  • Rubber gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals or bacteria.
  • Squeegee: This tool is helpful for removing excess water and reducing streaks on tiles.

Remember to gather all your cleaning supplies, including your chosen cleaning product and any protective equipment, before beginning the cleaning process. This way, you can handle the task effectively and efficiently.

Identifying Problem Areas

Before starting to clean your bathroom tiles and grout, it’s crucial to first identify the key problem areas. Grime, mold, and mildew tend to accumulate in moist areas such as the shower, sink, and toilet.

Pay extra attention to the corners and joints where this buildup is most likely to occur. Look for signs of soap scum, hard water staining, and any other issues that might require special attention during the cleaning process.

Removing Initial Debris

To ensure a thorough cleaning, begin by removing any dust and debris from the bathroom surfaces. This includes the tiles, grout, and even areas around the bathroom fan.

You can use a microfiber cloth or a vacuum with a brush attachment to sweep away loose dirt and particles. Make sure to clear away any soap residue or hair that may be lingering on the surfaces.

How to Clean Bathroom Grout and Tiles?

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of how you can make your bathroom grout and tiles brand new again!

Step #1 – Clean the Tiles

For many bathroom tiles, a DIY tile cleaner comprising dish soap and warm water is enough to do the trick. This mixture is equally effective for ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Many times, diluted vinegar is also recommended to clean bathroom tiles.

However, according to a technical trainer at the National Tile Contractors Association, Rob Roderick, vinegar is highly acidic.

In case the vinegar solution is too strong, it can etch stone tiles. Moreover, a concentrated vinegar mixture can even damage and weaken the grout.

Hence, the best way to proceed is to spray a solution of dish soap and water on the bathroom tiles. Then, wipe away the tiles using a damp cloth or microfiber towel.

However, liquid dish soap and water solutions might not always give you the desired results. In such a case, you can use the following DIY tricks to clean up your bathroom tiles.

1. Use a Baking Soda Cleaner

Mix ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide with ½ cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap.

Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it on the dirty bathroom tiles.

Let the solution sit on the tiles for 10 to 15 minutes. After that, wipe the tiles off using a damp rag or sponge.

2. Use a Mixture of Water and Bleach

Mix three parts of water to one part bleach to prepare an effective tile-cleaning solution. For instance, you can combine twelve tablespoons of water with four tablespoons of bleach.

Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spray it on the bathroom tiles. Dampen a cloth with warm water and use it to wipe the tiles clean.

Practice extreme care when using this mixture to clean up the tiles. For instance, bleach emits harmful fumes.

Hence, you should open windows and doors before starting to prevent the buildup of fumes.

Moreover, bleach can even irritate your skin. Thus, make sure to wear thick rubber gloves while cleaning your bathroom tile with it.

Also read: How to Clean a Bathroom with Bleach?

3. Use Ammonia

Add 1 part ammonia to 2 parts of water. For instance, you can combine four tablespoons of ammonia with eight tablespoons of water.

Fill a spray bottle with the ammonia solution and spray it on the bathroom tiles.

Allow the mixture to sit on the tiles for around an hour. Then, use a clean, moist cloth to wipe it away.

Keep in mind that ammonia can also emit dangerous fumes. Hence, make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated as you clean your tiles with this solution.

4. Use A Hydrogen-Peroxide Paste

A hydrogen peroxide paste is a bit on the heavier side. Therefore, you should only use it when all your other DIY cleaning techniques fail to work.

Here’s how you can clean your bathroom tiles with hydrogen peroxide. Mix equal parts of all-purpose flour and hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste.

Apply the paste onto the bathroom tiles you wish to clean. Cover the area using cellophane and let the paste sit overnight.

Then scrub off the tiles using a tile-cleaning brush.

Step #2 – Use A Steam Cleaning Machine to Scrub the Tiles

In the bathroom, you aren’t just dealing with surface dirt and debris. Instead, you also need to eliminate soap scum residue, which is much difficult to get rid of.

Here, a steam cleaning machine comes to the rescue! Steam cleaning is an excellent cleaning technique if you suffer from allergies to chemicals and mold.

To clean your bathroom tiles with a steam cleaner, start by fixing a small brush into the steaming lance.

Then, steam a line onto the tiles. As you move along, gently scrub with the brush. You will notice the dirt and residue coming off easily.

Lastly, use a microfiber cloth to wipe clean the tiles.

Step #3 – Start Working on the Grout

Once you have cleaned your tiles, it’s time to shift your focus to the grimy grout lines.

How grimy your grout gets essentially depends on what it’s made of. Usually, grout is a combination of cement and sand.

However, more contemporary ones even include latex and other polymers to enhance their stain-resistance power.

Regardless of what stains you’re dealing with, water and patience will be your two best allies. Start off by spraying hot water onto the grout.

Next, scrub the grout using a grout brush or a stiff bristle brush to remove any grime or dirt on the surface.

A steam cleaner is also highly effective in this stage too. Simply apply steam directly onto the grout.

Then, use a clean rag to blot away any remaining moisture. After the grout dries up, the grout will appear as good as new.

Step #4 – Remove Stubborn Grout Stains

If your grout still isn’t clean, you can use a pH-neutral cleaner to clean the grout further. For instance, the Neu’s Tub & Tile Cleaner is one product that you can opt for.

Next, get a stiff brush and scrub the grout stains again.

According to Donna Smallin Kuper, author at and certified house cleaning technician, “Elbow grease really is the most important ingredient.”

Moreover, a Magic Eraser can also effectively remove stubborn stains. However, keep in mind that you might need more than one to clean up your bathroom tiles.

After you have thoroughly scrubbed, use a microfiber cloth or a damp sponge to eliminate any grout cleaner residue.

Make sure to use fresh water and a clean cloth. If the cloth is dirty, or you use unclean mop water for rinsing, the grout will soak it up and become discolored again.

For highly stubborn spots, the Tile Council of America suggests you use alkaline cleaners rather than acidic ones. For instance, you can opt for Spic and Span or Mr. Clean.

Spic and Span Antibacterial Cleaner Bundle - 22oz Spray with 28 oz Refill Pack - 50 Ounces Total (2)

If you are going with a cleaner that doesn’t have a neutral pH, you should first do a quick patch test in a small area.

Wait for a couple of minutes to ensure there’s no damage or discoloration before you move on to clean the remaining grout tiles.

Step #5 – Get Rid of Mold

Humid, hot bathrooms with poor ventilation are perfect environments for mold spores.

Bleach does successfully eliminate mold on non-porous surfaces, such as countertops and tiles.

However, it’s not that helpful on porous surfaces, such as grout, drywall, caulk, and wood.

A great option is to invest in the Zep Tile Mold Stain and Mildew Stain Remover and eliminate mold spots for good.

ZEP Mold Stain and Mildew Stain Remover 32 Ounces ZUMILDEW32

Also, make it a habit to turn on the bathroom fan or open a window after taking a shower. This helps to keep the humidity levels in check.

Step #6 – Rinsing and Drying

Once you have finished scrubbing all grout lines, rinse the area with warm water to remove any residue.

Use a sponge or cloth to wipe down the tiles and grout lines, ensuring all of the cleaner is removed. Finally, dry the area with a clean, dry cloth or towel to prevent any leftover moisture from seeping into the grout.

It is essential to maintain a proper pH balance in your cleaning solution in order to prevent damage to your tiles and grout, so avoid using bleach or any overly acidic or alkaline cleaners.

Step #7 – Seal Up Your Success

In this step, use sealers to fill the grout’s pores. This helps to prevent mold, grime, and grit from penetrating the porous materials.

The frequency with which you need to seal grout depends on how much traffic your bathroom gets. Nevertheless, you should do it at least once every year.

Also, wait for at least 24 hours between deep-cleaning the grout and applying the sealer.

This way, you can ensure that the grout has dried up completely.

One excellent product that you can buy for this purpose is DuPont Grout Sealer.

DuPont Stonetech Professional Advanced Grout Sealer

When applying the grout sealer, always wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. Make sure the surface is clean and dry before application.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label for the proper application method. In general, apply the sealer using a small brush, sponge, or applicator along the grout lines.

Wait for the sealer to dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and then wipe away any excess sealer from the tile surfaces with a damp cloth.

Regularly reapply the sealer as needed, typically every 1-2 years or as recommended by the manufacturer, to maintain the protective barrier on your grout.

Step #8 – Make Some Changes

In your bathroom, you might notice that some areas are particularly dirty. For instance, near the laundry basket or by the back door.

In these areas, you can place a rug to protect them from debris and dirt. You can even sweep and mop more frequently to prevent dirt buildup on the tiles and grout.

Pay special attention to the corners, around faucet handles, and other hard-to-reach areas where mold and mildew can accumulate. Don’t forget to also clean the tub or shower, as this will help prevent mildew growth. Rinse the tiles thoroughly with water afterward.

Ventilation is also crucial for preventing mold and mildew in your bathroom. Always use your bathroom fan during and after showers to reduce moisture on the tiles. Regularly check your grout for signs of damage, and repair any cracks immediately to avoid water penetration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Best homemade grout cleaner?

To make an effective homemade grout cleaner, create a paste-like mixture using one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts of an oxygenated powder product, such as OxiClean or generic washing soda. Apply this paste to the grout and scrub it with a brush to clean. Rinse with water and dry the area after cleaning.

How to clean shower mold?

To clean shower mold, use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the moldy areas, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a brush or cloth. Rinse the area thoroughly with water and dry it with a clean towel.

Cleaning blackened grout?

For cleaning blackened grout, pour hydrogen peroxide directly on the grout and scrub it with a brush. Alternatively, you can substitute hydrogen peroxide for water when making the baking soda paste mentioned in the “best homemade grout cleaner” section. Rinse the area with water and dry it well after scrubbing.

How to clean without damage?

To clean grout without causing damage, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. For delicate surfaces like natural stone, use a gentle cleaner, such as a pH-neutral solution like mild dish soap and water. Apply the solution with a soft brush or cloth, and rinse with warm water. Dry the area thoroughly to avoid water residue.

Professional grout cleaning methods?

Professional grout cleaning methods often involve using high-pressure steam or hot water extraction equipment. These techniques can provide a deep and thorough cleaning without the need for harsh chemicals. However, professional grout cleaning can be expensive, so consider this option only if DIY methods fail to deliver satisfactory results.

Cleaning unsealed grout?

When cleaning unsealed grout, take extra care not to saturate the grout, as unsealed grout is more porous and absorbs water more easily. Use a mild cleaning solution mentioned in the previous sections and gently scrub the grout with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse the area with water and immediately dry it with a clean towel to prevent water damage.

Last Few Words

There are several things you can do to cut down future grout-cleaning time by half.

For instance, keep a clean microfiber cloth or a small squeegee near the shower to immediately wipe away the tiles and grout after taking a shower.

This will eliminate the need for deep cleaning in the future as there won’t be any new buildup on the surface of the tiles.

In addition, you can ask your family members to switch on the exhaust fan for 15 to 20 minutes after taking a shower.

Doing this will help to reduce moisture and humidity from your bathroom. It also helps to prevent mold growth on the grout.

With time, you’ll become an expert at keeping your bathroom tiles and grout in excellent condition, thereby enhancing your bathroom experience for you and your guests.

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