Introduction: How to Clean Tile Grout

Picture of How to Clean Tile Grout

Here's a simple way to breath new life into your dirty tile grout.

Be sure to watch the linked video tutorial!

Step 1: Things You'll Need​

Picture of Things You'll Need​

Items you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Dish Soap
  • Scrub Brush
  • Tooth Brush
  • Scrub Pad (Scotch Pad)

Step 2: Mix the Liquids & Microwave

Picture of Mix the Liquids & Microwave


  1. Mix 1 cup of Vinegar with 1/2 a cup of Dish Soap
  2. Stir liquids then microwave for 2 minutes
  3. Remove from the microwave but be careful, the container will be HOT!

Side Note: The use of a measuring cup isn't a necessity, just make sure your Dish Soap ratio is 1/2 your Vinegar ratio.

Step 3: Cleaning

Picture of Cleaning


  • Dip your Tooth Brush into the liquid and begin brushing it into the grout.
  • With the grout wet, switch to the Scrub Brush and begin working out the built up gunk, dirt, whatever nasty stuff is in there.
  • If there is gunk still left on the grout, switch to a Scrub Pad (Scotch Pad) and work out whatever is left.
  • Finally, wipe clean with a rag and Voilà! Clean Grout!

If you end up trying this, I'd love to see how it turned out for you. Post your progress to one of the social media sites I use or use the hash tag #Artimus_Maximus so I can check it out, Good luck to you!

Keep updated with this and future projects here on my Instructables account: as well as on any one of these...





Step 4: Before and After Shots

Picture of Before and After Shots


Nana2Peanut (author)2015-08-25

Nice job! I'm a Master Technician and have cleaned miles of grout lines. Just one bit of caution: protect your appliances! Certain chemistries can damage stainless steel and other surfaces. Use painter's tape and plastic. Also, we highly recommend sealing the grout lines. Sealing won't keep them from getting dirty, but will make the next cleaning easier.

Thank you very much for the addition feedback! It's much appreciated and welcomed. Lots of good info you have supplied!

Photoshot (author)2016-04-21


shellbe55 (author)2015-09-26

Going out to buy Vinigar and try it.

bodgitandbreak (author)2015-09-02

someone asked if theres anything you can use to thicken the mix to make it stick on vertical surfaces... try wallpaper paste, i havent used it for this but have used it with caustic soda when stripping paint .. bear in mind you will have to keep it damp with a waterspray so it keeps soaking into the grease and dirt ..worth a try I think..

neffk (author)2015-08-25

I doubt that the addition of vinegar or heat helps at all. I have used cold water and dish-washing detergent to clean grout and the results were as dramatic as yours. I think the water, soap, and scrubbing action are the tricks.

Modifying the pH of the soap solution is interesting. Found a few articles about the topic. Here's one that indicates that making the solution more alkaline increases the activity of the detergent:

Bannockburn (author)neffk2015-08-31

I think the heat does seem to help with solubility, or rather quickness of dissolving the soap in the vinegar. It would probably work as well to just give the solution time to homogenize. As for the pH I suspect that will only be necessary if you have calcification from hard water.

Artimus_Maximus (author)neffk2015-08-25

It may not, but it defiantly did the trick for myself. My assumption was that the heat sitting on on the grout would help loosen the whatever unholy substense was caked on the grout and reduce the need to have to scrub so much or so hard.

neffk (author)Artimus_Maximus2015-08-25

Yes, I suppose it doesn't matter, ultimately.

I've found that a bit of a soak seems to help. If I wet the grout ahead of the area I'm scrubbing it takes less effort when I get to it.

Artimus_Maximus (author)neffk2015-08-25

Defiantly! At the end of the day, I think we all want to do as little "physical work" as possible, regardless of preferred method. hahaha

JoeG8 (author)2015-08-25

would this work on bathroom shower grout?

Bannockburn (author)JoeG82015-08-31

Sure does, did it yesterday. Works great on soap scum on the tiles as well.

Artimus_Maximus (author)JoeG82015-08-25

I'm not 100% sure. But in theory, I don't see why it wouldn't.

BenL22 (author)2015-08-30

does this solution work on other messes, dirt and stains?

HenryGN (author)2015-08-30

It worked for me thankyou :)

crashd (author)2015-08-28


popsicletoes (author)2015-08-26

Thanks, interesting and promising idea. I have been trying to get rid of the hard water buildup on my shower tiles for decades and have tried lots of stuff even occasionally the nasty stuff and just nothing has worked yet. This looks encouraging but I am wondering if there is any way to thicken the vinegar so as to leave it on as I suspect having it sit on a horizontal surface is helping a lot. (I remove build up in my kettle once a year or so by putting vinegar in it to soak overnight. If you or anyone has any ideas about something that would cause vinegar to gel I'd love to hear it.

makinjen (author)2015-08-26

I tried this same heated formula for my shower/tub and even with the fan on, the fumes burned my throat and triggered a re-occurrence of my asthma. My husband had to finish the job and we found no special cleaning effect of this solution. Ended up using a magic eraser (which I have heard works great for grout as well. What I found to work great on grout was hot water and an Oxyclean type powder. Without elbow grease, nothing will work, though.

mocksoup (author)2015-08-25

This is actually great advice. I use a product called Sol-u-Mel to do the same, but it's 20 bucks for a bottle and this is a LOT cheaper.

curtis14 (author)2015-08-25

try with bicarbsoda and citric juice

luigi100 (author)2015-08-25


TerryB21 (author)2015-08-25

i used a steam cleaner.

LaserJarek (author)2015-08-25

Looks so much easier than using a powerbrush to get out the grout

sandkelly (author)2015-08-25

baking soda added to vinegar and soap - after microwave-really helps.

Fantastic! Ill have to try that out on my tile in the bathroom, Thank you!

rdwm1843 (author)2015-08-25

It worked, it really did. The grout lines color is consistent. Thanks Mr. Chemist.

Artimus_Maximus (author)rdwm18432015-08-25

GREAT! I'm so glad it worked for you. I am by no means a chemist but thank you for the compliment non the less. :)

bombaste.vonhohenheim (author)2015-08-25

the vinegar should help a lot if you have hard water.. like mine.

chrisd27 (author)2015-08-25

This looks so easy! I've spent a fortune on commercial products and will save this one for when I need it next. Thanks a lot.

Artimus_Maximus (author)chrisd272015-08-25

Of course! I hope it it works out for you as it did for myself. Since you seem to have had an ongoing issue with this I'd like to bring just a few things to your attention. Another commenter suggested that using the scrub pad could possibly damage the finish of the tile. Personally I had NO issue with this even a year since I originally did this project. But obviously your are not trying to scrub your tile! your trying to scrub the grout. Just something I wanted to bring to your attention, best of luck. I hope it will finally be clean for you!

jobthemad (author)2015-08-25

wont you have to re-seal the grout as well? i'm sure all that scrubbing will leave it porous as hell, leaving its cleansability and substrate lifespan severely compromised.

I suppose it would depend on how much and how hard you are scrubbing. I did mine over a year ago and have had no issues .

i would hope in expending so much effort you would be thinking longer term than a year.|THD|google|&mid=sNyjxfOMl|dc_mtid_8903alh25183_pcrid_45194201257_pkw_sealer%20home%20depot_pmt_p_product_{product_id}_slid_&gclid=CjwKEAjwpPCuBRDris2Y7piU2QsSJAD1Qv7BDbgsQqfbbIV8mH5kTi7t5hgUNFNTs_ssno-yEvgj1BoCzxHw_wcB

Thank you for the link. I don't think I will be needing that since I took care to not destroy the grout during the process of my project and the only "Layer", if you want to call it, I removed was just the build up of dirt, food, whatever things the previous homeowners accumulated over the years. I understand the concern you have brought up however I can not control the amount of force someones decides to use when they do there's. As I assume is the case with all older homes, there's no doubt that one day the grout will need to be resealed or even completely redone. When that day comes then I'll have another project to do. Thanks.

lono666 (author)2015-08-25

Professional grout cleaning solutions are very similar to this mix, and they are often acidic... using HCl, TPA and other strong acids. As was mentioned elsewhere in the comments, vigorous scrubbing is also the key.

However, all these professional cleaners take great care to mention that they can quickly and irreversibly damage some tile surfaces, such as marble, travertine, linestone and some glazed and unglazed ceramics. One should always test in an inconspicuous spot. ALWAYS. Ignorance of this danger is the difference between amateur hacks and professionals.

Tile Doctor CA C-54 Lic. # 901238

Artimus_Maximus (author)lono6662015-08-25

Defiantly understood. And I agree one should take care to research there own surface, property or whatever it is, before beginning ANY project. You would assume one would take care to research there own surface especially when there's differs from the one being demoed. As I have stated in my profile I am by no means a professional but its great to have the input of someone who claims there are. As for the scrub pad I understand your point of view however I did not see any visible damage to the tile or dullness even over a year past when the original project was done. But the information you supplied is greatly appreciated. Thank you

lono666 (author)lono6662015-08-25

... also NEVER use the green scrub pads pictured in this demo. They WILL damage tile surfaces. One can get the less abrasive white pads from a tile supplier.

Tile Doctor (again)

_waffle_ (author)2015-08-20

love it!

Makes cleaning so much easier and the house looks more beautiful and clean!

Artimus_Maximus (author)_waffle_2015-08-25

Great! I forgot about the smell as well! That's a bonus haha

myakka-23 (author)2015-08-15

I have to try this, thank you for shairing.

No problem, good luck to you. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

About This Instructable




Bio: New home owner with lots of projects and ideas to do. I am by no means a professional, just someone who enjoys doing things myself.
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