7 Quick Tips to Keep Your Shower Tile Grout Clean

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated May 17, 2022
A modern shower with white tiles
Dan Reynolds Photography/Moment via Getty Images

Prevent stained or clogged shower grout with these tile grout cleaning tips

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Although shower tiles can make for a great bathroom aesthetic, the grout—the material that fills the space between tiles—often requires extra cleaning and TLC. Porous by nature, grout attracts debris and minerals, which in turn attracts mold and mildew. Not only is this an anti-aesthetic, but it can pose health risks. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive and simple ways for homeowners to maintain clean grout.

Why Does Tile Grout Get Dirty?

Most grout is cement-based and porous, which makes it prone to getting gunked up with minerals, dirt, and soap scum. This can result in bacteria, mold, or mildew growth, which can stain and clog your grout and even affect your health. In addition, it’s common for grout to be light-colored, making it almost impossible to hide or fix discolored grout

Through using common household products such as vinegar and executing simple tactics, preserving your grout is doable, and we’ve listed some of the best strategies below.

1. Use a Squeegee

Using a squeegee each time you use your shower will save you loads of time spent scrubbing at stubborn stains. After you shower, simply run the squeegee along the tile to remove any excess water. To provide extra maintenance, pair this with a daily vinegar/water cleaning solution or simple shower cleaner solution.

2. Clean the Grout Weekly With Baking Soda or Vinegar

Close-up of a hand cleaning the shower grout
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“Cleaning grout with a non-toxic neutralizing solution on a weekly basis will help to eliminate the buildup of soap scum, mold, bacteria, and odor that may be found within the shower grout,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

To start, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and warm water (equal parts) and spray the solution onto the shower grout. Let the tiles soak for a few minutes, and then use either a stiff brush or old toothbrush to scrub the tiles. 

If the vinegar solution doesn’t do the job, combine equal parts water and baking soda to form a paste. With a brush or old toothbrush, scrub the paste onto the shower grout and then rinse with water.

3. Reduce Moisture With Fans

An extremely humid bathroom makes for an extremely appealing environment for mold and mildew, which is a major reason for grout discoloration. To prevent this issue, keep your bathroom window open before and during showering or use vent fans to reduce the humidity.

4. Steam Clean Grout Stains

A common issue with tile grout is the soap scum residue it attracts. The steaming method is useful for persistent stains and soap scum residue. Apply surface cleaner to the tiles on the floor and in the shower, then turn on the hot water until the steam fills the room. Wait 15 to 20 minutes to allow the steam to loosen the debris on the tiles before scrubbing the grout.

5. Change the Products You Use

Because some soaps or conditioners are particularly prone to causing stains and buildup, swapping your shower products may help maintain clean grout. Check the ingredients on the back of your products and see if dyes or artificial colorings are listed. Switching these for more natural products will be better for both your health and the shower grout.

6. Use Bleach Solution on Persistent Stains

A bathroom with white tiles and a mirror
Jan Hakan Dahlstrom/Stone via Getty Images

If you’re dealing with stubborn grout stains or a buildup of grime and nothing thus far has helped, oxygen bleach is the next thing to try. Note: before using the oxygen bleach, try using a bleach pen, which is good for localizing the stains and reducing the harsh chemicals that are entering your shower. 

If you think that your grout requires a more substantial cleaning, try an oxygen-based bleach. Oxygen bleach usually comes in powdered form and is good for stubborn stains while serving as a general disinfectant. Plus, it is a more gentle cleaning option than liquid chloride solutions. 

Mix two parts of the bleach with one part water. Use a brush to apply the bleach paste and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with water.

7. Seal the Tile Grout

To prevent common grout issues such as stains, debris buildup, and soap scum residue, consider sealing the shower grout. Sealing your grout will reduce minerals, mold, and grime buildup, and lessen your cleaning load. You should aim to do this once or twice a year. Give the shower at least 24 hours to dry after cleaning it, and then contact a grout repair service in your area.

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