Tile Floor Seen Better Days? Here’s How to Clean It in 5 Easy Steps

Jacqueline Quach
Written by Jacqueline Quach
Updated May 11, 2022
A father and his daughter dancing in a floor tiled kitchen
Photo: Biz Jones / Image Source / Getty Images
Difficulty

Simple

Flex your DIY muscles.

Time to complete

3 hours

1–3 hours, depending on room size

Don’t let dirty grout get you down

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.

What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Gloves
  • Towels
  • Mop
  • Spray bottle
  • Grout brush

SUPPLIES

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Commercial grout cleaner
  • Dry oxygen bleach
  • Alcohol

The grout on your tile flooring might be the last thing you think about, but it deserves some attention. Whether you've got kids running around the kitchen or pets making occasional messes, you may notice dirt and grime building up between your tile grooves over time. 

Even if you have a busy household, keeping grout clean doesn’t need to be difficult. By following these five steps, you can get the grout on your tile floor to look brand new.

5 Steps to Clean Tile Floor Grout

  1. Apply Cleaning Solution to the Grout

    Use either equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide or a commercial grout cleaner to clean tile and grout. If you’re using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, sprinkle the baking soda on the grout between your floor tiles. Spray the hydrogen peroxide onto the grout until it is wet, then wait 10 minutes. 

    Hydrogen peroxide helps lighten any stains, while baking soda is abrasive enough to loosen the dirt on grout surfaces. 

    If you’re using a commercial grout cleaner, spray the cleaner onto the grout and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes or as directed on the label. When choosing commercial cleaners, take a look at the ingredients. 

    Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals such as chlorine bleach and ammonia since they can wear down the grout. They may also leach the color out of tinted grout and change the look of your tile flooring.

  2. Scrub the Grout Lines

    A hand scrubbing with a brush the grout on floor tiles
    Photo: wattanaphob / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    After applying the mixture or grout cleaner, use a brush to scrub the floor grout. Grout brushes are suited for this purpose, as they have thicker, denser bristles and can help you remove tough debris. They also help you get into the grooves between tiles more easily than toothbrush bristles, so you spend less time scrubbing your grout. 

    As you scrub, focus on removing any stains or buildup lodged between tiles. This can take a while if there’s a significant amount of grime buildup.

  3. Wipe the Grout Off

    Wet the floor and wipe the floor grout with a towel or mop. Make sure to wipe thoroughly to clean all the residue, so your tile flooring is sparkling clean.

  4. Repeat for Stubborn Stains

    If there are any stains remaining, put dry oxygen bleach on the grout and spray it with water. After a few minutes have passed, scrub the grout again and wipe it clean. Oxygen bleach is best suited for lighter-colored grout lines, so spot-test it before using it on your entire floor. You can try it on a corner next to the toilet or near the kitchen sink. 

    If your grout is deeply stained and chipping, you may want to consider regrouting your tile floor. While cleaning your grout can refresh it, grout that is worn down needs regrouting in order to make your tile floor look its best.

  5. Keep the Grout Clean

    To keep your tile floor clean, spray some alcohol onto a towel and wipe your tile floor weekly. This keeps mold and mildew from showing up on the grout and prevents grime buildup. For tile floors in your bathroom, you can also run the exhaust fan during showers and keep it well-ventilated by opening the windows.

    Because of its porous nature, grout requires attention quite often. By wiping it with alcohol weekly, you can go longer between deep cleans and put less effort into keeping your grout clean.

DIY Grout Cleaning vs. Hiring a Pro

Cleaning grout is a fairly simple DIY that costs $30 to $36 for supplies. But if you're busy or would rather spend your time relaxing with friends, you can hire a local house cleaner. It costs an average of $180 for a house cleaning if you have a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home. 

Additional Questions

Are there alternative ways to clean tile grout?

Yes, you can steam your tile floor with a steam cleaner if you prefer an alternative method. Steam cleaners help loosen dirt and grime to make it easy to scrub grout residue. 

Does vinegar damage tile grout?

Vinegar will damage tile grout if the grout is not sealed or needs resealing. If this is the case, the vinegar will wear away the grout over time. 

How do I know if I should regrout my tile flooring instead of cleaning it?

If your tile floor grout is cracked, unsealed, or has small holes showing, then it is time to regrout your tile flooring. Your grout is more prone to staining when it’s worn down, so consider regrouting when it shows signs of wear.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.