July 18, 2010


Cleaning Tile Grout

When we moved into this house five years ago, I was thrilled with the size of the eat-in kitchen.  We remodeled the whole thing, but one thing that didn’t need to be done was the floor.  The previous owners put in new ceramic tile before selling it.  The tile extends into the hall, powder room, and foyer, so I have a pretty large area of tile.

I never had tile in a kitchen before moving here, but I new from others that I probably wouldn’t love it.  First it is very hard to walk and stand on.  Second, it’s very hard for dropping things on.  Dishes and glasses break easily and the pieces slide a long way across the floor.  However, what I didn’t realize would be a problem was keeping the grout clean. 

I had experience with grout in bathrooms, but on my tile floor the strips of grout are much wider than in the bathroom, plus the fact that there is a much larger area of tile.  My tile is a light beige color and the grout is also light.  At least, the grout is light when it’s clean.  Having light color tile surrounded by dirty brown grout is not appealing to me, but until recently I didn’t have a good way of getting it clean.  I thought some of you might have the same problem.  Are you ready to see some dirt?  Here’s a tile and grout from one of the dirtiest sections.

dirty grout
Here’s how it looked after cleaning.  I’m sorry the colors are so different.  I probably took the pictures at different times of the day.

clean grout

Maybe this picture will be more helpful.  It shows a larger section from the same area as the above pictures.  The grout at the bottom of the picture has been cleaned.  For some reason the tiles themselves look lighter too, but I think that’s just the lighting.

clean & dirty grout

Here is a picture of that same area after it was all cleaned.  It’s not perfect, but you can see that the overall effect is much better.

clean grout strip
So, you might be wondering how I cleaned it.  I used OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover.  I like that it does not contain chlorine bleach which gives me a headache.  I put about 1/3 scoop into a 32 ounce spray bottle with water.  I sprayed the grout well then let it sit for 30 – 60 minutes.  Next, I used a sturdy brush (mine is actually a grout brush but any will do) and scrubbed the grout to loosen the dirt, adding a little water if it had dried.    I then mopped it up with clean water.  I found that the OxiClean does the work and not a lot of effort is required scrubbing.  Extra scrubbing didn’t produce any better results. 

Because I have a large area of tile, I did this in sections over a number of days.  It works best to do it in narrow strips that you can easily reach from either side. It also works best to use a fresh mixture of OxiClean, so after the first time I only made half a bottle or less.  When you are not using the spray bottle, loosen the sprayer so air can escape.  Otherwise you will end up with the mixture leaking out the top. 

How do you clean grout?  Any tips?

For more great ideas visit Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.


thanks so much for the info. We really need to do this and most of our downstairs is tile. (similar in color-both of the tile and the dirty grout. =0) Thanks for the tips. Off to write it on my geocery list.
No tips, sorry, but i do know that after you go thru all that work you need to seal it so that it doesn't get so grimy & it will be easier to clean next time.

My in laws have very similar floor on their kitchen & the folks who put it down didn't seal it properly. It was quite a job to get it clean again. (I carry my own water in glass bottles & the only one i've ever broken was on their porcelain tile floor.)
My husband lays ceramic tile for a living. He recommends oxiclean to his clients (and his wife!) Looks great for a while, but having 6 children and 4 adults in the kitchen most of the day it gets dirty fast!
You could have been describing the problems in my kitchen and entryway, which have a similar tile (although peach instead beige, with a gray-tinted grout). I can't wait to try this!
Hey Linda,

I've been cleaning my kitchen tile floor for weeks now - I do a strip of about 7 tiles every few days. My floor looks identical to yours! I've been using a combination of regular OxicClean (the kind I use for our laundry) and MeanGreen (from one of the Dollar Stores). It has been very effective. I wonder if the OxiClean that is specific for tile is markedly different than what I've been using? I seem to remember reading that you're a member of Costco. If so, have you seen that particular line of OxiClean there? Inquiring minds want to know:).

Ellen ~ I'm no longer a Costco member and haven't been there in a while. I didn't even know there was OxiClean that is specific for tile. I usually get a big box of the powder at BJ's which is similar to Costco.
Ellen ~ I'm no longer a Costco member and haven't been there in a while. I didn't even know there was OxiClean that is specific for tile. I usually get a big box of the powder at BJ's which is similar to Costco.
I think there must be drawbacks to every variety of flooring in the kitchen. I've told myself, after laying laminate flooring throughout our downstairs (including the kitchen) that I wouldn't do it again, because if it gets wet and someone misses the water, it'll bubble up the flooring, ruining it. Has happened in a few places in our home. I've thought tile was the answer in our kitchen! Maybe it's still better, who knows. I say hardwood floors - one day, when I have the money to do it, anyway!
What fabulous advice! I'm so tired of using the bleach infested Tilex to clean my tile grout and the fumes we have to breathe afterwards. I cannot wait to try Oxiclean, why didn't I think of this sooner? Came over here from The Finer Things In Life. =) Thanks for sharing this great tip!
we have 4 rooms with time and I just tired this on one area and it worked amazing!!! The last time we cleaned our tile grout was 5 years ago and we were on our hands and knees for hours. Not this time! The oxyclean really does do the work. thanks so much for sharing this. You are saving me a ton of time and effort.
So we have done 3 out of the 4 rooms and just have the 1 room and a hallway left. (finally!) I am noticing the tile is amazingly clean,but it is also leaving foot prints a ton more. (almost like a film on the tile) Did this happen to yours too? and if so what did you do? Thanks, Kelly
Kelly ~ I did not notice more footprints. The OxiClean can leave a little residue. I mopped everything with water after scrubbing the grout. Maybe yours needs another rinse.
thanks for the info. that is what I thought (about needing another rinse) but I was a little surprised cause I rinsed, mopped, and even rinsed again! Could just be our tile and the age of it etc. It is still better with clean grout!
Great timing! My hallway is nasty so I need to work on this slowly. I have a lot of tile so maybe I'll make this a winter project.

Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for the great tip! I have some of that OxiClean stuff... will need to try it on the grout!

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