How to Clean Tile Grout

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Introduction: How to Clean Tile Grout

About: 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.

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​

Items you will need:

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

Step 2: Mix the Liquids & Microwave

Process:

  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

Process:

  • 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: https://www.instructables.com/member/Artimus_Maxim... as well as on any one of these...

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/ArtimusMaximusOfficial

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Step 4: Before and After Shots

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    42 Comments

    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.

    1 reply

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

    Going out to buy Vinigar and try it.

    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..

    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:

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50259a012

    4 replies

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    would this work on bathroom shower grout?

    2 replies

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

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

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

    It worked for me thankyou :)

    Coolness!!!!!!

    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.

    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.

    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.

    try with bicarbsoda and citric juice