Need help cleaning grout? I tested 10 popular homemade grout cleaners to figure out which DIY tile and grout cleaner works best. The winning grout cleaner is an all-natural cleaner that brightens and whitens grout with only 2 simple ingredients. Learn the easy, healthy way to clean grout and tile today!
Our new-to-us house has a white tile entry and white tile in the kitchen. Between the kids, the dog, and my husband (who likes to walk inside in his lawn mowing shoes) it’s nearly impossible to keep the tile and grout clean.
Seriously, there always seems to be one mystery spot or blob of goo somewhere on the white tile floor.
The worst part? The brownish discolored tile grout.
The floor tile grout hadn’t been cleaned in so long that it was hard to tell what the original color was meant to be. Was it white? Was it tan? Your guess is as good as mine.
What’s Best for Cleaning Grout?
I love DIY green cleaning solutions so I set out to find the best homemade grout cleaner that uses safe, all-natural ingredients.
My Grout Cleaning Resume
Let me backtrack just a bit… I’m not a newbie at cleaning grout! Thanks to my husband’s career we’ve lived in 10 difference houses including one with light colored stone tile floors and one with white tile and teal grout (???). We’ve had tile bathrooms and tiled kitchens, tiled entry ways and tiled laundry rooms. It’s safe to say I have a lot of experience cleaning grout.
Scrubbing grout might just be my least favorite chore. To me a tile floor means lots of scrubbing on your hands and knees to get (and keep) the grout spic-and-span.
(Anyone else feel a little like Cinderella when scrubbing floors?)
I wanted to see if there was a better way… a magical grout cleaner I was missing (or some singing songbirds that could help)… so I began to investigate homemade grout cleaner recipes –>
And I was totally overwhelmed. There were so many complicated recipes and many conflicting opinions.
The Great Grout Cleaner Experiment
I decided to test the 10 most popular DIY grout cleaners online to find the best homemade grout cleaner.
I tested each cleaner on the same surface (grimy white grout and tile) and used the same process to test each cleaner:
- I divided the tile floor into 10 sections using painters tape and numbered the sections with post it notes. (Yes, I’m a green cleaning nerd.)
- I mixed a batch of one cleaner, applied it to one section of the tile and grout, gave the cleaner 10 minutes to start working, then scrubbed the grout with a clean, dry toothbrush and wiped the area clean with water and a clean white cloth.
- I repeated step 2 nine more times using a clean, dry toothbrush and different white cloth each time. (I’m a martyr for your green cleaning needs!)
- I waited overnight for the grout to dry completely and then recorded the results.
The differences between the tile and grout cleaners were mind boggling! Some of the cleaners made absolutely no difference, some worked okay, and two left the tile grout amazingly clean!
The Tested Grout Cleaners
I found the 10 most popular DIY grout cleaners online to test. These are the recipes and directions I followed for each cleaner.
Grout Cleaner #1
Ingredients: 3 cups water, ½ cup baking soda, 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup white vinegar
Directions: Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.
Grout Cleaner #2
Ingredients: 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup liquid hand washing dish soap
Directions: Mix together the Epsom salts, baking soda, and dish soap. Scoop mixture onto the grout and rub clean. Rinse.
Grout Cleaner #3 (Winner!)
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp dish soap
Directions: Mix together the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Spoon mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.
Grout Cleaner #4 (Winner!)
Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
Directions: Sprinkle baking soda onto grout until it is covered, spray with hydrogen peroxide until it is wet, wait 10 minutes, scrub, and wipe clean.
Grout Cleaner #5
Ingredients: 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tbsp salt, 3 tbsp hand dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup vinegar, 10 drops essential oil (I used lemon)
Directions: Mix together is a large bowl or bucket (mixture foams a lot), pour into a spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.
Grout Cleaner #6
Ingredients: 1-gallon water, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp dish soap
Directions: Combine washing soda, vinegar, and dish soap in a one-gallon container. Slowly pour water into a container. Pour mixture into a spray bottle, spray the floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.
Grout Cleaner #7
Ingredients: 1-gallon hot water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 8-12 drops essential oil (I used lemon)
Directions: Mix ingredients in a bucket and mop floor.
Grout Cleaner #8
Ingredients: 1.5 gallons hot water, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 – 3/4 cup white vinegar, 5-10 drop essential oils (I used lemon)
Directions: Pour all ingredients into the hot water. Stir to combine. Mop or spray onto the floor.
Grout Cleaner #9
Ingredients: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp hand dishwashing detergent
Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and swirl to combine. Spray on the floor, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.
Grout Cleaner #10
Ingredients: 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 30 drops tea tree essential oil, 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle, shake to combine. Spray grout and wipe clean.
The Tile and Grout Cleaner Results
The best grout cleaner was the most simple: hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. (Tested Grout Cleaner # 3 and Grout Cleaner #4 both use this combo and had equally great results.)
Why this combo works:
- Baking soda is mildly abrasive so it helps to remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
- Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.
- Dishwashing detergent (used in Grout Cleaner #3) cuts through the greasy grime that gets tracked onto tile floors.
I love using the cleaning combo of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide! It’s in my DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaner that works great for all types of household cleaning and is perfect for laundry stain removal.
The most disappointing homemade grout cleaners were the ones that mix reactive ingredients such as Castile soap and vinegar or vinegar and baking soda.
- These combos create reactions that cancel out the cleaning power of both ingredients and leave your grout and tile dirtier.
- Read more in Green Cleaning Ingredients That You Should Never Mix.
I was also let down by cleaners that used expensive ingredients (such as 50 drops of essential oil) or took a lot of time to make (such as measuring and mixing 6 ingredients) and didn’t do much cleaning.
I’d rather stick with low-cost ingredients that are easy to mix into a cleaner!
How to Clean Grout
Getting ready to clean? These grout cleaning tips will help you get the best results:
- Give the grout cleaner some dwell time. You’ll get the best results if you allow your favorite cleaner some time to work (also called dwell time) before you start scrubbing. When cleaning tile grout, let the cleaner sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes then scrub out the dirt.
- Use a small, firm brush to scrub grout lines. Grout is porous meaning it has minute spaces or holes that liquid can pass through. These tiny spaces are great traps for dirt and grime. Scrubbing grout with small firm brush will loosen this dirt making it easier to mop or wipe up. (I use a cheap toothbrush to scrub my grout.)
- Scrub first then mop. After scrubbing the grout clean, sweep up any excess baking soda with a broom or wet/dry vac, then give the entire tile floor a final once over with a mop (or damp cloth). Use warm water with a few drops of dish detergent or a gentle floor cleaner. This final swipe will rinse off any remaining grout cleaner and leave the entire floor shiny.
Grout Cleaning FAQ
I get lots of emails from readers with grout cleaning questions. Here are some of the most common questions about cleaning grout:
What is grout?
Grout is the porous material that builders use to fill the spaces or cracks between tiles. It creates a smooth solid floor, wall, or backsplash and makes tile pop. The most common type of grout is cement grout. It is made from a mix that includes water, cement, and (sometimes) sand.
How do you clean grout between floor tiles?
Apply grout cleaner, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, then get a small brush and scrub. An old toothbrush works great.
Is bleach bad for tile grout?
I do not clean with chlorine bleach because it is toxic and pollutes indoor air. You should not use bleach when cleaning grout and tile because:
- Bleach is a base with a pH of around 12 meaning it is a highly alkaline substance that is caustic (can cause severe burns or injuries). Because of its high pH bleach can be corrosive and slowly destroy the materials it touches including grout and tile finishes.
- Grout is porous so it absorbs the bleach and wicks it down to your subflooring and/or over to you baseboards (or carpet) where it can do even more damage and cannot be rinsed away. Yikes!
Is vinegar bad for tile grout?
Vinegar is an acid with a pH of around 2 (vinegar contains acetic acid). A popular cleaning vinegar manufacturer recommends never cleaning grout with vinegar because it can corrode the surface.
- There are a lot of online cleaning tips that recommend mixing baking soda and vinegar to clean grout. This fun bubbling reaction is actually the baking soda neutralizing the acetic acid in the vinegar. The resulting mix cleans about as well as plain water.
How do you clean grout naturally?
Mix a thin paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, apply it to the grout, wait 10 minutes then scrub with a toothbrush, wiped clean with a damp cloth.
- Baking soda is mildly abrasive so it helps remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
- Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.
How do you whiten tile grout naturally?
Let the baking soda/hydrogen peroxide cleaner “soak” into the grout for a few extra minutes (15-20 minutes). Giving the cleaner a longer “dwell time” allows it to brighten and whiten the grout.
What’s the best homemade grout and tile cleaner?
Mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap. Apply cleaning mixture onto the grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub, sweep up the excess baking soda, and rinse.
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I usually don’t leave comments, but OMG this is comment worthy! This worked AMAZING! THANK YOU! 🙂
Thanks for the great response, Sam. It put a smile on my face!
Hi! Thank you for sharing this, it worked really well on our floors! However, it left a thin layer of baking soda on the tile and we are having trouble getting it up. We’ve tried scrubbing it by hand with soap and warm water, steam mop, and the swifter mop. Do you have any other suggestions? It leaves this oily look to it and we can see every footprint. Thanks!!!
You can try vacuuming or using a broom to sweep up the excess baking soda before moping or mop with a gallon of plain water mixed with 1/2-1 cup white vinegar. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and help it be washed away. Do not add additional cleaners.
Could I use Dr. Bronner soap instead of dish soap?
Thank you SO much for sharing this. My husband and I recently moved into our home. We soon realized that the previous owners didn’t not take care of small stuff, including cleaning. Upon further inspection we discovered that the grout in our bathroom floor was not meant to be the color it was-it was so uniformly dirty and disgusting, we had a hard time discerning what was dirt. Neither of us had been in a home with grout before, so we had no idea how to clean it without destroying it. We came across this page and your tips saved us, and our grout. I cannot thank you enough!!
I’m so glad it worked for you, Michelle! We had the same situation in this house – the previous owners hadn’t cleaned the grout – so I honestly thought it was brown before I did the grout cleaner test. The grout was light grey. 😉
Omg THANK YOU SO MUCH. Our bathroom floors grout was literally black. I tried scrubbing it but it ended up taking 4 hours just to do a third of the floor. I then found your page and was able to do the rest of the floor in only 1 hour! Your page saved me so much time, thank you.
I’m so glad it worked, River!
So I am curious about the type of floor that you were cleaning the grout with? Can that mixture of peroxide, baking soda and dish soap harm the surrounding floor?
Julie, I have used the mixture to clean ceramic tile floors and natural stone tile. I always recommend spot testing any cleaner (store-bought or homemade) in an inconspicuous spot before using on a large area. Good luck!
Hi, I have dark tiles and dark grout in my shower which are badly calcified, white residue along the tile joints, I would love to get them back to the original darkness. Will that work on dark grout too?
Pamela, it can be used on dark grout. You may need to use a acid-based cleaner such as citric acid, vinegar, or CLR to get the mineral deposits off the tile joints to get the best results. The acid breaks down the calcification better than baking soda.
I deap cleaned houses for 19 years, my knees and wrist are shot. To avoid Cinderella style cleaning try a soft to medium scrub brush on stick and steam cleaner with suction (like for carpet) or shop vac to remove the gritty water. Finish with damp hot mop. Once clean a standard steam mop will keep grout cleaner longer.
Great tips, Alicia!
Can this mix be used on coloured grout? Mine is a light grey.
Yes, it can be used on all colors of grout. I suggest spot testing in a discrete spot just to be safe!
Can this be used on acrylic grout used with LVT tile?
Yes, it works on all types of grout. I recommend a spot test in an inconspicuous area to make sure you like the results and do not cause any damage before doing the entire floor.
What concentration of hydrogen peroxide should I buy. Saw the store has 3%, 6% and even 39%.
Really want a solution to my grout problem.
I use 3% hydrogen peroxide, it’s sold in the pharmacy section in the United States.
I was stunned at how well this worked (formula #3) – thank you Bren for all of the time and effort you put into this research.
I have a small hand drill with a scrub brush attachment and use that to power through the scrubbing.
I tried this & I wish I could post pictures! It worked AMAZINGLY well! Now I want to scrub all my floors!
Thanks for commenting, Kristy! I’m glad it worked well for you!
I have a large shower where all the walls and ceiling are tiles with lots of soap scum and some black mold looking stuff on some of the grout lines. Will this mixture stay on the walls? Have you had luck with anything natural that can be sprayed on?
Yes, it will stick to walls, you can add extra baking soda and a bit of dishwashing soap to make it extra “sticky”. I also love this homemade shower cleaner.
Hello, I am confused about mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide since H2O2 is an acidic compound. Doesn’t it neutralising the effect of baking soda?
Hydrogen peroxide is a very, very weak acid with a pH of about 6.4 (when purchased as a 3% solution, the type sold for wound care in the U.S.). Hydrogen peroxide’s main activity in this mixture is as an oxidizing agent which makes it good for bleaching/stain removal.
I was shocked at how well this cleaned.
I will say I found the application with the spoon to be a bit tedious (I have a lot of tile). I tried filling a piping bag but my mixture didn’t maintain the right consistency.
What worked best was using a silicone spatula. It helped me to get the mixture spread evenly on the grout, quickly, and without wasting a bunch.
Great tip, KC. Glad it worked well for you!
I plan to use a plastic condiment bottle. Inexpensive at food service store. I typically use for icing cookies.
Great tip, Pam!
Hi I just did t leg scrubbing and wow my floor looks amazing !!But what about sealing the grout . I haven’t mopped yet bc I feel like it will get rid of my now beautiful and white grout by darkening it with dampness from mopping. Should I seal the grout after scrubbing then mop ? How does sealing fit into this . Thanks in advance and happy Memorial Day weekend !
Hi, wondering what percentage of hydrogen peroxide you use as there are multiple percentages available. Thanks
I use 3% hydrogen peroxide.
This worked so well, thank you Bren!!
What part of the concoction does the trick, the hydrogen peroxide or the baking soda? I ask because in order to have it stay put on the walls, you suggested to make the mixture thicker. I am afraid i have it too thick and am diluting the cleaning power! I did it 4 times and made only a small dent on the dirt, but it was progress!
Yvonne, the hydrogen peroxide provides the “bleaching” power, the baking soda excelerates the breakdown of the hydrogen peroxide which boosts its cleaning power and adds a little grit to help with the manual scrubbing. Have you tried the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and detergent version?
A M A Z I N G!!!! Luckily I have a stick scrubber so I didn’t have to get on my hands and knees. Thank you for the recipe and on to the next area….next week.
How many square feet does this mixture allow for? I have a huge thousand square foot project ahead of me for Passover and need to make sure I buy enough hydrogen peroxide. I will be using your #1 recommendation
I can clean approximately 400-500 square feet with one cup of baking soda and one cup of hydrogen peroxide, but it depends on how thickly you apply the mixture.
Thanks for the tips on cleaning grout
Is there an easier way to scrub than on your hands and knees ?
I wish! I haven’t found one yet… maybe a long-handled scrub brush like those used to clean/sweep the garage?
What should I use for darker grout? I assume the hydrogen peroxide is only for white or light grout. I have a tan/brown grout that I’d be afraid to “bleach” with the peroxide. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!
I have used this on white, cream and gray grout/ I suggest spot testing or simply using baking soda, water, and a tiny bit of detergent to make a scrub.
Hello, which hydrogen peroxide I should use it? 10 – 20 or 30 volume. In my country it has numbers.
Lotty, the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) I use is the type sold to clean wounds for disinfection. It has a concentration of 3%. I would look for a similar concentration. In the U.S.10 volume or V10 hydrogen has a concentration of 3%, 20 volume or V20 has a concentration of 6%, 30 volume or V30 has a concentration of 9%. I would double-check to make sure this is true where you live!
I chose Grout Cleaner #4 method (hydrogen peroxide and baking soda). Unfortunately, I no doubt applied too much baking soda and had to wash the floor several times to remove the excess. I was happy with the result, however. I’m wondering if it would work to premix the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and apply the solution using the same roller applicator I bought for the grout sealer. I believe this would avoid using an excessive amount of baking soda and also focus the cleaning solution on the grout and minimize the overflow on the tile. If you care to comment I would appreciate it. I’ve done the kitchen already but there a several rooms of tile flooring to do yet. Also, a neighbor recommended the Zep Grout Cleaner available at Home Depot and other places. She said it contained muriatic acid (sulfuric acid), although I haven’t confirmed this yet. Comment?
I’ve had several readers suggest mixing the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in a squeeze bottle to apply which would help keep it off the tile. I have also used a small spoon to apply to the grout. I have never tried Zep Grout so I am not sure how it works or whether it contains natural/safer ingredients.
Thanks so much Bren, it really does work ! I saw the same mixture proposed on other weblogs, so I decided to try it. The grout in our bathroom floor was really dirty: dark brown instead of the original light beige colour in some places. I let the mixture sit for a total of 30 minutes, and scrubbed it in two passes.
To wipe up the paste before rinsing, I used a plastic trowel (they sell sets of yellow ones in reno centres) and tossed it in a bucket. That worked well.
I think I will do a 2nd pass of the whole process in a week for the dirtiest spots that are still darker than the rest.
Sealing the grout is surely a good idea although I don’t know how much of a job that is.
We have ceramic tile walls in our shower. I can see how letting the mixture sit is advantageous. However, that doesn’t work for vertical surfaces (tile walls). Any suggestions?
If you use the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, detergent version mixed to icing like consistency you can smear it on the vertical grout and it will stick. I do this and then spritz it with a bit of hydrogen peroxide when I am ready to scrub.
Thank you for testing all these methods and publishing your results! I’d tried a couple methods and was frustrated by poor results. I took your baking soda and peroxide method (#4) and it worked like a charm. I don’t want dish soap (#3) because if you don’t rinse the soap well enough, it soap attracts dirt later. To the person with the baking soda mess, I poured straight from the box and used my hand to sweep into the grout and my finger to spread it further. Really wasn’t much left on the tile. I agree, sweep or vacuum excess after drying. I also poured the peroxide rather than spraying so maybe that made less mess on the tile. I’ll try the mustard bottle tip too. I’ve kneeled on a folded towel or used kneepads. Great feedback by all!
Any suggestions for using either of the two winning recipes for shower wall grout? My husband has his own bathroom (Yay!) that he’s responsible for cleaning and let’s just say that I’d rather just shut the door permanently on that room or perhaps start demolition. But neither of those is a viable option so someone’s going to have to clean that nasty grout that he apparently cannot even see. How can I get “dwell time” on wall grout?
Try using the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, detergent version mixed to icing like consistency. You can smear it on the vertical grout and it will stick. I do this and then spritz it with a bit of hydrogen peroxide when I am ready to scrub.
Will your #3 or #4 recipe work on the mold on grout in a shower?
It will remove the surface mold and lighten stains but may not completely remove stains or kill mold that is deeply embedded in caulk/grout.
No before/after pics?
There are a few above in the post.
This is great … BUT, how about cleaning shower tile grout? You know, the stuff that’s VERTICLE? Everything I’ve used drips down off the grout so it has no time to interact. Thanks
Mix the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into an icing like consistency and it will cling to vertical grout. You can add a bit a dish soap to help it stick. I like to wipe it on, leave it to dwell, and then spritz with a bit more hydrogen peroxide before scrubbing.
Hi Bren! You mention walls and backsplashes in passing, but no mention of how to apply to a vertical surface. I have no floor tile, only in the shower and kitchen backsplash. Any suggestions about how to get dwell time on a wall?
ff you mix the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and/or detergent to icing like consistency you can smear it on the vertical grout and it will stick. I do this and then spritz it with a bit more hydrogen peroxide when I am ready to scrub.
I have found that by using my husband’s mechanics creeper when cleaning the grout that I really save my knees and back. I lay down on the creeper on my stomach and maneuver myself over the areas of dirty grout by using my toes and hands. It gives a much closer view of the work. As long as you don’t use the toxic cleaners this is so much easier on the body.
Delcy, that is GENIUS. We don’t have one of those but now I’m considering getting one just because of your comment. Ha ha! 🙂
The peroxide/baking soda mix works quite well. I bought 4 plastic ketchup/mustard dispensing bottles,
cut off part of the spout to make the aperture a little bigger and used that for dispensing into the grout lines. With 660 sq.ft. of tile to clean I couldn’t make a paste and spoon onto the grout. After waiting 10-15 minutes on the less dirty grout I used Walmart’s magic Erasures to clean by just pulling the erasure down the grout lines. On the dirtier traffic pattern areas, I used a grout brush and some effort. My problem is cleaning up the mess the baking soda makes. I used 4.5 lbs. of baking soda on the first 180 tile I cleaned. It creates an hellacious mess. Cleaning the baking soda out of the grout lines (I plan to seal the grout after cleaning) and off the face of the tile took much longer than the grout cleaning. Any way to make that part easier?
A shop vac or broom can be used to remove some of the excess baking soda.
My question exactly!!!
John K Johnson
I can’t thank you enough!! I had tried several things but the upstairs bathroom grout just didn’t look clean. I made your Baking Soda/Hydregen Peroxide mix, applied it, and waited about 15 minutes. Gave it a good scrubbing, and was amazed!!! Thank you so much! This will be my go-to grout cleaner from now all!
God bless you for your help and willingness to share.
I was very skeptical that any of the homemade remedies would work but, Wow!! Number 3 did an amazing job, I am so happy, the floor looks brand new. I was hoping to share a photo to show that it really worked, but could not do it.
Thank you so much for sharing your discoveries.
I’m so glad it worked well for you, Kirstine. I am also skeptical of many homemade remedies which often results in these nerdy cleaning tests, LOL!
Ca I use #3 or #4 on colored grout safely?
Yes, but I would spot test first.
Really a great recipe to try out on Tile grouts, may I know can we use food grade i.e. 3% Hydrogen peroxide or a higher concentration?
I use the 3% solution bought in the pharmacy section for wound care.
I was looking to clean grout before doing repairs and found this site. I used the #3 grout cleaner on my kitchen floor and it worked wonderfully. Was also happy that it is not toxic and has no odor. Now I can see what color my grout really is – takes the guesswork out for my repairs. Thanks.
I find the film of baking soda so hard to clean from the tiles? Any tips
I like to shop vac or broom up the extra baking soda then mop with warm water. Some people us a little vinegar in the moping water to help break down the baking soda.
Daniel Le Roy
I googled how to clean grout yesterday October 15, 2020 and my attention was immediately caught by your website Bren. I used your winning solution with the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap on a 2 x 2 section of 4x 4 white ceramic semi gloss tile with white grout in my kitchen. I am going to be fully transparent as the tile in our kitchen is long overdue for a grout cleaning. I had to make two batches of the mixture and one was more liquid and the other more like paste (actually more like whipped cream). I scrubbed the entire area and was blown away by the magnificent change. I just scrubbed the entire area which mixed my two combinations of different consistencies. The grout and white tile look brand new and I cannot wait to do the rest of my kitchen today. Thank you Bren for your experimentation to find the number one option. I truly appreciate the fact you made cleaning grout for me enjoyable which is hilarious. Thank you from Dan in West Hollywood.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide worked great. Better than anything else I’ve ever used. Thank you.
What strength is hydrogen peroxide please
We used the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. We got great results on our kitchen floor. I put the baking powder in a zip tip bag and cut off the corner, It made it easy to pour the baking soda right onto the grout lines. Then we sprayed it with the peroxide and left it for 10 minutes or so, We scrubbed it with a grout brush. My husband sat on a rolling mechanics stool to scrub- great if you can’t kneel. Loved your scientific approach to find the best “recipe”!
I live in a small town and I’m having trouble finding hydrogen peroxide. Can I switch it for normal bleach?
Bren is a genius. I thought I’d have to buy a toxic caustic cleaner so I just gave up on the job, happened across Bren’s baking soda and peroxide method and it worked! Our shower grout is very old so it doesn’t look like new, but I wasn’t able to keep up with the mold forming on it (humid shower area). This method is fast, easy, and safe. I found sand-colored grout under the black mold, which magically brushed off with the toothbrush and washed down the drain. Thank you!
Hi, what percentage hydrogen peroxide do you recommend?
3% hydrogen peroxide
#3 worked!!! (I had tried a cleaner with bleach the day before. That one didn’t help much but did make the kitchen stink like beach!) One small modification I had to make: my grout was originally beige/light tan and after drying overnight, it looked white, due to some soda that hadn’t come up when rinsed. I used my stiff tile brush on the grout, then a pointed vac attachment. Voila! Leftover soda was gone and grout looked like original! Only problem: I now have to do the rest of the floor–the cleaned part is so obvious!!!
Thank you for an excellent and effective recipe. We found an easier way to apply the paste is to use a frosting piping bag or even a a ziplock bag with the tip snipped off. The bag can be used to apply a steady bead in the grout line.
thank.. my grout came out great, but now i have a powdery film i cannot get off my tiles. I rewashed the floor w my shark steamer three times, it doesn’t lift the baking powder residue, it just keeps sliding it all over. I even poured straight white vinegar and got on my knees w a towel but i cannot remove the streaks. :(. Any advice?
I would vacuum or wipe up the excess baking soda if you have a lot leftover before moping or using a steam cleaner. A steam cleaner won’t pick up particles, it just moves them around.
Used the peroxide and baking soda tip. Wow, what a fantastic result. Couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks very much.
Hi, the cleaner worked amazing thanks!!
Do you have any tips for rinsing the tile floor after the grout has been cleaned ? I’m having a difficult time getting the baking soda to rinse completely from m the tile.
I just used method #3 and the results are amazing. I somehow overlooked the instruction to apply with a spoon and applied it with a 1” paint brush. We recently purchased our house and the grout in the bathroom was literally black. I knew it was supposed to be white as spots of it would lighten with normal cleaning. It’s now a yellowish-tan and might need a second application, but that’s probably because the paintbrush didn’t apply as much mixture as a spoon would have. I’ll have to wait until morning when it’s dry to make that call. Overall, I’m thrilled with how well it worked. Thanks!
This works great but the baking soda leaves a horrible film on my tile. I wipe up as much of the mixture as I can but I can never get rid of all of the baking soda.
Is there a way to make the sprinkling of baking soda and spraying with hydrogen peroxide work on vertical surfaces like grout in showers? Would it be feasible to make a paste of baking soda and a little water to get the baking soda to “stick” before spraying with hydrogen peroxide? Thanks for any tips. I’m at my wits end!
Yes, you can make a paste. Adding a little dish soap like in Grout Cleaner #3 (1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp dish soap) will help it stick to the vertical surface too. I sometimes let this mixture “soak” into the grout and occasionally come back to spritz it with hydrogen peroxide to keep it wet until I scrub. Hope this helps!
Hi — Thanks so much for the grout recipe. Are you aware that it’s been copied all over the web (you are credited, which is how I found this site) with the wrong directions? That’s why I came here. People have copied the mix of 1 cup peroxide to 1 cup baking soda part, without including the “sprinkle the peroxide on the baking soda” part. Instead they say that a 1:1 mix of peroxide and baking soda makes a paste—which it does not. So I came here out of annoyance and I’m glad to have found the real recipe. Come to think of it, I should have commented on the incorrect websites instead of yours. Still, I thank you and I remain pissed off at the other sites.
I’m so glad you found the site, Martina!
Brilliant. I wish I could attach a video. The results are dramatic. It was unimaginably ugly. Never sealed, seventeen years. I did the worst of the worst twice, and though a few faint dark spots remain, I’m quite happy. The rest of it looks like new, WITH a lot of scrubbing.
1. The backing soda doesn’t wanna to stay in the liquid, it forms a slurry at the bottom. Although the last bit works really well, you must keep stirring the mix as you go along spooning it into the ground lines.
I’m glad I found this. Although it’s a lot of work, I’ll go along bit at a time. It will look new. I won’t forget to seal grout again.
If some of the grout cleaner #3 got into stainless steel or marble, would it damage it.
It should not damage stainless steel or marble, but I would spot test the cleaner before you use it if you have concerns.
I was wondering if method 3 causes any damage to stainless steel appliance and marble tile backsplash if it got on them.
Ken, I have never had trouble, but I would do spot test of any surfaces that you are concerned about to be safe.
Whatever grout cleaning solution you choose, use a portable steamer. It loosens dirt in the grout and will cut your labor time in half.
Thanks for the tip, Angie.
#3 is amazing. Used a grout cleaning brush rather than a toothbrush & it took very little scrubbing. Never have I found a DIY that delivered as promised so well! Thank you!
Looking to attack this with hatred, but last on the list! Can you let me know if the cleaning solution of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda will affect the slate tile? Hate to have to deal the entire floor again! Thanks
Jeanette, sorry I’ve never cleaned slate tile. I would suggest you test a spare tile or a small area before tackling the entire floor.
Amazing!! I was dreading cleaning my grout as the last time I did it I used vinegar and baking soda and spent ages scrubbing with little to show for it. This was worlds better. Thank you!
I’m glad it worked well for you!
I can’t thank you enough for this! I used # 3 on my floors yesterday and it was AMAZING! I couldn’t believe how well it worked. I did 1/3 of my floor then had to stoo because I only had a small amout of hydrogen peroixide. Plus it gives my wrist a break between scrubbing lol. Thank you!!!
I’m so glad it worked well for you, Joanna! It’s one of my favorite cleaning hacks!
Hi,just a quick question. Seeing that a few people have already had success with cleaner #3 I’m going to try that one. My question is do I apply the mixture to wet or dry tiles?
Hello! Thank you for this amazing guide! your method #3 is doing wonders. My grout is disgusting and I make the mix and then use a small bottle with a spout to leave a layer of the solution on the grout for a while. Although after brushing the dirt away I wipe with a cloth and then after mop with an all purpose cleaner, I am always left with a greasy floor full of strikes even after mopping 3/4 times. What could be causing this? Am I using too much of the solution? I feel the spout allows me to hit the grout well but it does distribute quite a bit. THANK YOU!
I would try using just baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Try to wipe up and excess chunks before moping. You may be getting too much soap on the floor which is leaving streaks. Also, you might want to mop with plain water to get up the extra detergent, using multi-purpose cleaner is adding more cleaner to the floor. Good luck! Bren
Hello! Are you using hydrogen peroxide on white grout only, or is it safe to use on darker, colored grout as well? Thank you.
Michelle, I use 3% hydrogen on all grout colors. You should spot test yours if you are concerned before you clean the entire floor.
How would you suggest cleaning up the paste? I tried method #3 and it worked wonders (thanks!), but mopping after spread the dish soap and made the floor sticky. Do you have a simpler method than mopping several times?
This recipe was a lifesaver!
Tiff, I use a pan and hand broom to get the excess baking soda up before mopping. However, if the problem is extra dish soap you’ll probably have to mop a few times to get it all up! Sorry!
How much grout would you say the recipe covers, do you have advise on one large batch vs making several smaller ones? Ps. Inline your scientific approach to testing the cleaning ‘recipes’!
It really depends on how much of the mixture you apply. When cleaning a large area I simply sprinkle on a little baking soda then spraying with hydrogen peroxide (add a spray top to your hydrogen peroxide bottle). Hope this helps!
My mother’s shower tiles had seen better days and I was determined to try and clean her grout using a DIY cleaner. I tried using Oxiclean but had very little success with it. So I stumbled across your website and decided to try grout cleaner #3 at it was one of your top picks. I made the mixture and gave the product some dwell time (10 minutes). Once I started scrubbing, I was so surprised to see how quickly the dirt stains were coming off. Like you mentioned, this involved some elbow grease, which I had to do vigorously throughout the shower. But overall, when I was done, about 90% of the grout lines came out clean. For the 10% of grout that were not throughly clean, we resorted to a store bought solution. Oversll, cleaner #3 is my go to for mild-moderate grout cleaning. It’s safe and inexpensive to use and does a good job of tackling some tough set in stains.
What type of dishwashing detergent did you use? Also, how did you ultimately clean up the solution off the grout? The one commenter said they vacuumed. Did you do this or just wipe it clean?
I use whichever liquid detergent I have to hand wash dishes. After scrubbing I use a broom and dustpan or shop was to get some of the baking soda off the floor before wiping it clean.
Thank you soooooo much for sharing all of your wonderful recipes! I used your #3 cleaner on our kitchen floor. I did not know the grout was actually dove grey and now it feels like I have a brand new kitchen! Can’t help but stare every time I pass the kitchen! 😆 Thanks again!!
I see that the hydrogen peroxide in my medicine cabinet is 3%. Is that what you use?
Yes, I use the 3% solution sold for wound care.
Can I use #3 on colored grout?
I’ve used it on all types of grout. I would spot test to be sure before cleaning the entire floor.
Quarantine and rain have been keeping me indoors and stir crazy so I decided to clean my bathroom grout. I checked different websites, who knew vinegar. doesn’t clean everything? I was intrigued by your testing though it still baffles me. 😊 But thank you! I made the paste and waited, rubbed, waited, did my exercises, rubbed a bit more, cleaned my louvre doors, and rubbed again. Hey, might as well do it right the first time. The only thing I was worried about was the rinsing, getting dirty water over my clean grout and spreading the goop! But I noticed that the paste was drying and flaking, so maybe I could vacuum it up. That didn’t work so I used a dustpan and hand broom and it swept up beautifully! Sparkles in my tile I never saw before.! I then quickly give it a short rinse with a damp towel. It looks beautiful, and I actually found it easy and relaxing,. I am recovering from knee surgery and had no problem sitting and rubbing with my toothbrush. And believe me cleaning is not high on my list! But boredom does strange things. My floor looks great, and I have accomplished a milestone. Won’t be afraid to do it again! Thank you.
I’m so glad you found the site helpful and have wonderfully clean floors!
Did you follow up with a grout sealer once your grout was dry?
You can if you’d like. I did not.
Is this ok to use on natural stone/grout shower floors and also should it be resealed after drying
I have used hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on natural stone. Of course, you should check with your manufacturer and only do what you are comfortable doing!
Tile grout cleaner number 3 worked wonders. Our kitchen tiles and grout look brand new. Thanks heaps
What an impressive article and and the lengths you go to to bring us very well researched results are appreciated!
Hello Bren! Is it ok to make cleaner #3 and store it or is it best to mix as needed? Thanks, Becki
I would mix as needed for best results.
I used number 3 on my parents white shower tiles grout and it took away some really set in grime. It definitely involves some elbow grease but one tip I’ve seen from others is to use an electric toothbrush which would help not feel so exhausted.
Thanks! I will be trying ASAP. I’ve just moved into a place with white tiles on the bathroom floor.
OMG! Scrubbing with a toothbrush is back-breaking work! I just did a small section (about 12 tiles) and I dread doing my entire home. (I just moved into new place and previous tenant who lived there for over a decade made it dirty. She was so dirty, the landlord even installed a brand new toilet and bathroom sink.) Ugh. I’m probably going to continue this when I have something even worse to do – like taxes.
LOL, I love putting on an audio book!
I can’t thank you enough for posting this information. We have grout in our kitchen that was put in about 15 years ago, and all the years of kitchen traffic plus a recently spilled bottle of red wine made it very dirty. We used the baking soda, peroxide, dish soap method that you recommended and the results are astonishing! We used a squirt bottle with a pointed spout (similar to a ketchup bottle in a restaurant) to easily apply the solution neatly to the grout. Thank you again!
Thanks, Teri! Great tip on the squirt bottle.
Grout cleaning question. Can #3 be used on a Dark Brown Grout? Thanks John
I have not used it on dark brown grout, so I would test a small area first. If you do not need bleaching you can just use water, baking soda and a toothbrush.
Does this work for grout that has some mold on it?
It will clean the grout but it may not bleach away the stains left behind from the mold completely. (Mold and mildew tend to leave stains behind.)
Bren, thanks for your excellent scientific testing method.
I found that method 4 was the best for me.
I used a Farberware Classic Deluxe Ice Bag Set to load the grout lines with baking soda. Perfect amount dispensed.
I used a re-purposed cleaning product spray bottle to wet the baking soda with the hydrogen peroxide (I use 12% solution with a few drops of Dawn).
I used a Fuller Brush Tile Grout E-Z Scrubber Replacement Head with a 5′ telescoping paint roller extension. Scrubs very well without having to get on your hands and knees.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Thanks for the ideas, Bill!
What kind of dish soap do you use? I only have Blue Dawn and I am afraid of my white grout turning blue.
I use hand washing soap for the sink. Mine is clear. I’ve never tried Dawn.
I wear gloves and use toilet bowl cleaner, Carefully follow the grout line when applying and let sit for 30 minutes then take warm water and a cloth and wipe it up. Both the tile and the grout line come to life like brand new. Do not use the toilet bowl cleaner with bleach in it. Bleach is not good for the grout!
Thank you so much. Really appreciate all the effort that you put into giving a lot of helpful information. Can’t wait to try the winners. What percent or concentration hydrogen peroxide did you use ?
I use 3% hydrogen peroxide, it is generally sold in the pharmacy section in the US.
I just tried this baking soda/ peroxide/ dish soap combo to clean my tile floors. It worked like a charm.
My only issue was getting ALL of the cleaning solution mopped up. It took several times to get it up asking with lots of old towels.
I’m glad it worked for you! If you use a lot of the paste it’s good to get some of the chunks off the floor before you mop.
Thank you SO much for this! We bought a foreclosed house that hadn’t been lived in for 7 years and are working on rehabbing it. We can’t afford to replace the kitchen tile yet, but the grout is just disgusting. I really didn’t want to use chemicals and tried out Winner #3. I couldn’t believe the difference! Just amazing.
I stumbled upon your site while trying to figure out how to clean my grout because of my OCD husband. Is the baking soda/hydrogen mixture safe for porcelain tile?
Thanks so much!
I use it on porcelain tile. If you have concerns you should spot test!
I also stumbled on your website and I just cleaned my bathroom floor grout with method #3 – it worked PERFECTLY! The only comment I would add is that I needed to double the “recipe” to finish my 5′ x 8′ bathroom.
Thank you so much for going into such a detailed post with photos and descriptions. I feel like I would do the same thing (painters tape and number the sections) 🙂
I just came across your post as I was searching to see if there is an easy grout cleaning method I’ve missed. I thought I would share my trick, especially useful for floors. Hydrogen peroxide works best in the dark (weird, huh?) Every so often I make a point of spraying the guest bathroom floor grout with straight h.p. before I go to bed (no one uses it at night) for 4 or 5 nights in a row. Likewise, I spray the master bath in the morning after getting dressed, and leave it, repeating for several days. It makes a difference, and no scrubbing! I also use this trick for the grout in the shower. Since there is no odor or fumes, you can do it at night & still sleep in the adjoining bedroom.
Thanks for doing all the research (and hard work!)
Great tip, Karen! The extra dwell time would be great for the hydrogen peroxide, it’s the way I whiten my cutting boards.
How do you let the baking soda and HP mixture sit on vertical wall tiles?
Just smear it on!
Does this work on mold on shower tiles?
If will remove the mold but will not remove the stains.
Thanks so much, Bren! This worked wonders and I wasn’t aware that grouts could be cleaned with a DIY solution. The hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap misture works like a magic solution to get rid of all the dirt in the grouts. It sure is a lot of hard-work but worth it when you see the end results.
Thanks, I’m glad it worked well for you!
Hello! I have stumbled upon your website and I love that you use the scientific method in order to find the best natural alternatives. I’m on a journey to lower my waste, and so making my own cleaners sounds amazing. My question, HOW do you spread a paste on a VERTICAL surface? I’m going to clean my oven tomorrow, but also I have a tiled shower and the walls in need of a good grout clean. Have added your page to my bookmarks 😊
I just use my hand and smear it on!
How do you clean grout that is vertical, such as a shower wall? The hydrogen peroxide or vinegar runs down. I suppose you’d use a paste. I’ve tried that but hadn’t found it effective.
I make a paste with some added dish soap and smear on then let soak. Sometimes I let it soak then give it a extra spray of hydrogen peroxide after an hour.
Hi Bren, thanks for doing this experiment! I really want to try either of the winning combos. But first I wanted to ask you, if you’ve had any experience with what is called an engineered tile? I have Armstrong flooring, it’s called hunt of Regency and falls under the category of Luxury vinyl tile but feels like a composite. I would love to hear your opinion/recommendations.
Is there real grout between the tiles or it engineered to look like grout? I have used on engineered tiles with real grout, I am not sure I would use on engineered grout.
I was also about to say you made my day but I see Suzanne has beaten me to it! I’ve just spent an hour scrubbing the laundry floor with baking soda and vinegar before Googling a better solution and finding your test. Time to tackle the next room with better results. After years of using just water and a micro-fibre mop I’ve discovered you just can’t beat a a scrubbing brush and elbow grease. Thank you!!
Thank you, you make my day!
I have used method 3 and it works a treat. However I do seem to end up with a lot of excess which takes a lot of mopping to remove. Do you have a secret method for application ?
Try to keep the mix to the grout area then use a spoon or damp cloth to “scoop” up excess before mopping. Good luck!
I tried this in our bathrooms today with Saltillo tile and very thick grout and I had a really hard time cleaning up the mess afterwards. I think I did about 6 rounds of mopping and then had to do several rounds of microfiber cloth with my hands – got a good workout in 😂 Is it likely that I used too much? I tried to just spoon it on but the thick lines required quite a lot. I made 4 or 5 batches of the soliton 😬
I would try to wipe or scoop some off before mopping if you use several batches!
You can buy soft brushes that attach to battery powered drill. It does the scrubbing not you.
I just tried this, omg, I can’t believe how well it works! I had purchased grout cleaner at Home Depot, which did absolutely nothing. I was looking in to hiring a professional service, then thought to search online and stumbled onto your site. I can’t believe how easy this is. Thank you so much!
This works. I really appreciate the research that you did to find the winner. Used it today and very happy with the results.
Pat a Rupp
I read your article and head in there to tackle this area of discontent ,i was wondering if i could stain my grout after the cleaning ,then add a sealer as well, have you any thoughts or recommendations on that.
I would read the direction on the grout stain and see what they recommend for best results. Good luck!
This was VERY helpful! Thank you!!
Hi Bren, I’m going to put a tile backsplash behind my stove–think grease pit–because paint just doesn’t look nice for long. The grout cleaner you suggest (or any!) won’t be able to dwell on the grout for minutes, as it is a vertical wall and not a floor. Please tell me your thoughts or experience about this. Thank you!
I love tile behind my stove and clean with dish soap/water water and a microfiber rag. If I clean right after cooking grease and oil don’t have a chance to set. Otherwise I use the mix with a toothbrush and a dab of this cleaner (think toothbrush/toothpaste) then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Bonnie Ann Baker
Does this also work to get air freshener oils out. I had one plugged in and someone walked by it and it came out of the outlet. They put it back in but unfortunately they put it upsidedown! Oils spilled onto the tile and went into the grout.
I’ve not tried it on air freshener oils but it might work.
OMG how pathetic is it that you just made my day?! I’m so thankful I found your post though bc I just used the baking soda & peroxide one & was about to head out to go find yet another cleaner to fix this mess left behind from another tenant when the landlord said their cleaning crew wasn’t responsible for deep cleaning floors. It’s horrid the shape they were left in, pure black to be exact. So thank you!!!!!! I’ve been working all day @ this so now I at least know it won’t take so long & can work in patches. You are the best!!!!
Not pathetic at all, LOL! I love a easy green cleaning win!
Thank you, thank you! Have tried everything to no avail until I came upon your website. Your winning mix of peroxide, baking soda and dish soap worked wonders! I used a small wire brush I picked up at the dollar store. It worked so well that I tried it on the stonework and hearth of our fireplace. Came out fabulous! Thanks so much!!
I’m glad it worked for you, Leigh. Be careful with the wire brush, if it is too stiff it can damage the grout. Also, some wire brushes leave behind tiny bits of metal that can rust. As long as it is stainless steel you should not have a problem with rust.
What can I use for cleaning grout with natural stone tiles?
I would start with water, a drop or two a dish soap and a brush.
The grout cleaner mixture with baking soda, peroxide, and dish soap works beautifully. Thank you for posting! I have a very large kitchen and hallway and am cleaning the grout in sections. However, I am having a hard time cleaning up the residue. The floors feel sticky and look like they have a film on them. We’ve tried several hot water rinses and also washing with floor cleaner. Any other suggestions? Would steam work?
Pamela, you can add a bit of vinegar to some mop water to help dissolve the baking soda if the grit is the problem. Your floors may have build up on them from other cleaners, polish or wax that is making them sticky once scrubbed. The cleaner does not make the floor sticky. You could try steam if it is safe for your tile or just keep moping with water. Good luck!
Sadie B Whaley
Do you need to seal the grout after using the DIY cleaner? Some websites say yes, some say no. Help!
Yes, you can seal it after cleaning with a commercial sealer to keep it clean longer. It is not necessary to do this every time you clean. I would seal it once or twice a year, check the sealant product for recommendations.
I also have white tile (6×6 in squares) that run entire kitchen, breakfast nook and laundry room that has a 1/2 bath. I owned a construction company for over 5 yrs until I needed 9 foot surgeries and another one soon, Find a drill and a few stainless steel dremmel cleaning/polishing attachments so you do not have to scrub so hard, They can be cone shaped or flat depending on grout line width, For more expensive tile, there are sift bristle brushes like a soft bristle deck brush that can go on the end of a broom handle, Amazon has a drill attachment kit that includes 6 different drill heads for kitchen and bath but they are not great for where tile and grout meet but great for the basic grout line for maintaining once the initial cleaning is done,
If after initial cleaning is done, there is a grout sealer that is in a spray can you can use to do a quick seal but grout lines need to be dry completely before applying and go over tile if over spray occurs, If you REALLY dislike the upkeep of white grout, there is two options 1) use dremmel carbide cutting attachments to remove the grout and pipe in a darker color or 2) use grout stain/paint, The grout stain/paint is super easy (comes in 35 colors to match or change grout color) to use but can be time consuming and have used it in million dollar houses, Even with sealer in it, I still sprayed it with addt’l sealer. PREP IS EVERYTHING! It will not end well if you have grease on tile from years of cooking (like bacon) and then attempt it, Do not use a degreaser prior to using, it will leave a film and prevent proper absorption.
Just hydrogen peroxide will work fine…no need of baking soda and then clean that mess…..
3% hp is available in india..at medical store…generally used to clean wounds…
What percentage you have used ,whipe cleaning?
Sheetal, I use 3% hydrogen peroxide it is generally sold in the pharmacy section in the US. I like the baking soda for really grimy floors but hydrogen peroxide alone would work well for lightening stained grout.
Thank you for your instructions for cleaning tile grout. I have very old tile grout on the floors in my home. I saw in the recipe for cleaner #3(WINNER!) that calls for dish soap. However, another reader asked if the recipe actually meant soap or detergent. You said that you prefer detergent. Dish detergent that is meant for use in an automatic dishwasher comes in a few different forms: powder, liquid gel, and a white-ish liquid that is a little bit pasty. Which type of automatic dishwasher detergent should I add to my baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixture?
Janice, in this grout cleaner we are taking about hand washing dish soap (AKA dish detergent). Hand washing soap used in the US is commonly called “dish soap” but it is technically a detergent hence the confusion. Get a bottle of the soap/detergent you would use to wash dishes in your kitchen sink.
Thanks! I’m going to try it today!
Hello and thank you for your post!! I need to clean floor tile with a medium/dark brown grout. Trying to find a natural cleaner that will not lighten the color of the grout. Do you know if the hydrogen peroxide used in your “recipe” would lighten the darker grout??
Lori, the hydrogen peroxide should not be strong enough to bleach the grout colorant. (I would spot test a small area to be certain!) You can also use just baking soda, dish soap and water for the same scrubbing action with no lightening power!
Karen Anne Byrne
Hi Bren, am using your mix on my wall mosaic tiles (so much grout!!) and not having the best results, the grout is brightening up but is leaving a sort of blackish stain in some spots, why do you think this might be? This is an area of the kitchen where there is no cooker so it isn’t affected by the usual cooking grease. It is more a food prep area. I’m using 5% hydrogen peroxide, might that be a problem? I see your note on leaving a dull scum on the tiles, I have that issue too so I am obviously not rinsing well enough. As well as elbow grease what sort of tool do you use to go at the grout after the mixture has settled in? Thanks so much for the effort you put into this!
Karen, I’ve seen black-sih type bits that turned out to be dust/fuzz stuck in the grout when cleaning. Could that be the stain? Otherwise if might be a sealant that was applied to the grout when it was installed or something on the cleaning brush. I have never used 5% hydrogen peroxide, only 3%. I use a white toothbrush to clean the grout and a microfiber rag with water to wipe the area clean. Hope this helps!
Does it work on shower tile grout?
Thank you for taking the time and posting your test results.
I have the same tiles as you and I did a small test section to clean grout with a borax, baking soda and water mixture. I found that the mixture that landed on the tiles, took some of the shine from them, thus making them dull.
Did any of the mixtures you tried remove the shine from your tiles making them dull?
Len, if the baking soda is not washed away completely it will leave a cloudy film that needs to be rinsed but I have never had the tiles damaged. Please note: I do not use borox so I am not sure how that would affect your tiles. Good luck!
Can I just say how happy I am with number 3! I have tried so many off the shelf expensive cleaners and nothing has worked until I stumbled upon this page. Thank you! This solution worked perfectly and quickly!
Wooo hooo! I am so glad it worked for you, Yolanda!
Hope you can answer this. I’m finding really hard to clean grout on wall tiles. How would you do this?
I use a paste of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap for better “cling” to the walls. Then let it soak for an hour or so. You can spray with hydrogen peroxide before scrubbing for a little extra whitening power. Hope this helps!
Bren, you are a pistol. You have done the experiment with not 2, 3, 4, 5 but 10 methods! ! ! Thank you so much for all your hard work.
I truly enjoy your site and look forward to learning so much more from you.
Thanks, Pazzy! I tend to get a little overenthusiastic at the beginning of projects! Hee, hee!
Thanks for all of your research.
Once clarification please: earlier in the post you say to use dish detergent; at the end of the article you say dish soap. I know that soap and detergent are different animals, so I wanted to make sure I understand correctly.
Also, a couple more questions: I was wondering about using Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds as the detergent, and wondered if you had any experience with that to comment.
And, I am dealing with shower grout, and have always had a hard time with the mixes that are supposed to soak, as they tend to drip down and not really stay on to do their work. Do you think it changes the effectiveness significantly to leave it a bit thicker so it will stay on a vertical surface?
I use dish detergent in the grout cleaner but dish soap would work as well… it just might need more rinsing. Yes, I have used Sal’s Suds. It is very concentrated so you may need to use less than when using other dish detergents. Changing the thickness should not change the effectiveness much. Sometimes, when cleaning shower grout, I make a thick paste then apply and wait for an hour. I then go back and spritz the mixture with a bit more hydrogen peroxide for a little more “umph” then let it dwell again before scrubbing clean. Hope this helps!
I am going to try your method using baking soda, peroxide and dish soap. My small dog has been having accidents on my kitchen tiles. I want to disinfect the grout. Wish me luck. Thank you for experimenting with all of the cleaners for we “newbies”.
Hope it works for you, Barbara!
What percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide did you use for the winners (#3 & #4)?
Lynnette, I use 3% hydrogen peroxide, general household strength. It’s sold in the pharmacy section for wound care.
Birgit De La Torre
Do you have any “before and after” pictures?
Just the ones in the post! 😉
Govindan E Menon
The # 3 & # 4 mention usage of H2O2, Hydrogen Peroxide. Is there a specific concentration necessity? Will 30% work fine? Or even weaker solutions are okay? Appreciate your reply.
G E Menon
I use 3% hydrogen peroxide, general household strength. It’s sold in the pharmacy section for wound care.
Do you have advice on how to use #3 or 4 on vertical tile grout in my shower? How do I make it stick so it has time to dwell?
Stir in a little extra baking soda to make a paste of frosting consistency with the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. It will cling to the walls and is easy to scrub away after the dwell time.
I tried #3 mixture and let it dwell as recommended on white tile, grey grout. The results were fantastic.
Not sure why others who used that combo were disappointed but it worked for me.
After mixing the ingredients it was liquid enough to use a funnel, pour solution into a empty used shampoo bottle and drizzle it into the grout seams. In this way I used it a bit more sparingly and was quicker to apply
Thank you for your article. I found it very informative
Thanks, Don! I’m glad you had success! The shampoo bottle sounds like a great dispenser.
#3 works wonders on my tile flooring. After 8 years of renting my property and moving back in, The grout was nearly black and even after one application it worked wonders. Gonna wait until it dries and do another application.
Woo hooo! I’m glad the cleaner worked well for you, Tjwonna!
Um, you’re amazing! Thank you for going through the rigorous and tedious testing to help others. I plan on using your winners to clean my bathroom and kitchen grout. I have a busy 1.5 year old and two cats and worry about using chemicals around them so this is perfect for me. Thanks again!!!
I’m glad to be of assistance, Meag! Those toddler years are so busy with so much time spent on the floor. I agree, it’s great to have a natural solution!
I tried the hydrogen peroxide & baking Soda & it did NOTHING !
Sorry it didn’t work for you, Jane. Did it get enough dwell time and a scrub?
Question I used number 3 worked great! Thanks you!
I feel like there is a film on my tile what would you use to get it off? Thanks!
You can mop with water and a bit of dish detergent or add a bit of vinegar to water to help dissolve the baking soda. A microfiber mop of cloth really helps!
Help! I did numner 3 and now have what looks like water marks around all the grout lines of my tile. What happened? It has been mopped and it is dry.
Laura, it is hard to tell without seeing your tile in person. I would guess that it is either leftover baking soda or the tile is cleaner along the grout lines where it was scrubbed. If it is leftover baking soda you can spritz very lightly with vinegar (this will make the baking soda fizz up), then wipe away. Try to keep the vinegar off the grout. If it is the tile that is extra clean then the whole area might need a baking soda scrub! Good luck!
I am excited to try this in our new home! Was about to purchase big name store tile & grout cleaner but I like your suggestion better. How much did the mixture you listed cover? Was it enough for your entire floor or did you need to make multiple batches? Thanks!
It covered about 4 feet x 4 feet. It depends a lot on how much you use. I would mix in small batches.
Thank you!!! #3 worked wonders for my light grey grout. I started with a small section of my kitchen floor (I was admittedly skeptical due to purchasing a variety of other grout cleaners that were a major disappointment) and I cannot believe the difference. Now the rest of my kitchen floor looks so grimy! I bought more baking soda and will be finishing the kitchen tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the results in my master bath. Thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad it worked well for you, Lauren! I agree, I’ve purchase way to many grout cleaners that did not work as promised. I love this simple solution.
Michael c Mower
I tried ZEP grout cleaner because the customer reviews were through the roof.Apparently these people don’t know what dirty grout is.Itried your #3 mixture and it did what the ZEP was supposedto do and for less money and more environmentally friendly.it worked GREAT!!! Thanks for the help,
Woo, hoo! I’m so glad the cleaner worked for you, Michael!
I’m looking forward to trying your winning grout cleaning method in a home I’m renovating and I also need to clean the tiles. One bathroom floor has ceramic tiles and another has tumbled marble. What do you recommend for cleaning the tiles? The same baking soda H2O2 solution (i.e., do the grout and tile at the same time), or something different?
I use water with a few drops of dish detergent to mop tile. It does a great job and leaves no residue.
i mixed two of your articles, this one and the one where you show your all purpose cleaner made with Castile soap and I put that paste onto the grout, added the peroxide, then scrub and wiped away and my grout looks like new!
I’m glad the cleaners worked well for you!
I was wondering if you happen to know how using the winning solutions will work on removing dog urine odor from grout? (And which of the two would be best?) We have a rescue dog who took a VERY long time to potty train, and who still has the occasional accident. We clean our floors regularly, including steam mopping, and have used the products that are supposed to remove the odor, but every time our grout gets wet (rainy days) we can smell urine. Help!
Kristy, we got a rescue dog this summer so I feel your pain! Our little lovebug still pees a tiny bit when she gets overly excited so I am still dealing with the mess. I have been using a spray bottle filled with 1 c rubbing alcohol and 1 c white vinegar on carpet, tile and Pergo. First I wipe up the mess then spray and wipe the cleaner. It seems to eliminate the odor quite well. Good luck!
I used #3 and #4 on side by side grout areas to see which works best for my really stained grout. Both were great. I left the solutions on for 15-20 minutes. Thanks for your cleaning tips. Next I’ll try the vinegar soaked towels in the tough calcium rings in the toilet.
So glad you had success, Ellen!
You are my favourite person ever! Seriously. I’ve been staring at my two year old tile wishing I hadn’t picked white grout for the lines. Contemplating painting or even removing and re-grouting! I used method 3 because, well it’s only 10 minutes and I have everything in the house. My tile looks brand new and it took 30 minutes to do both bathrooms. I never comment or review anything but I’m so insanely happy I found this article… thank you
Awwww, thanks Ben!
I think it is awesome that you did those test strips for comparison instead of just reporting the results. It shows that you truly did the experiment. Now I’ve got some grout-cleaning to do!
I just got done cleaning one of two bathrooms with Kaboom (bathtub and tile grout). Now my eyes and hands burn, I can barely breathe, and the whole house smells like a meth lab. And it did very little for the grout, though the tub is much better. I’m not even going to attempt that again on the second bathroom. I’ll give the peroxide/baking soda mix a try tomorrow (if I don’t end up in the hospital tonight due to toxic chemicals eatting away at my body!)
Yikes! I know harsh cleaners can do a number on your breathing, be safe and ventilate! I would definitely try the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda combo and try this no scrub shower cleaner for the rest of the tub/shower. Let me know if you like the results!
Holy cow! #3 is a miracle! My kitchen grout is beige, and it was dark brown. So gross. It is now back to its original color. I have to stock up on peroxide and baking soda now. Thank you!!!
Thanks, Nancy! I am happy to head the the peroxide and baking soda worked for you. They are two of my favorite green cleaning ingredients!
Your #3 grout cleaner is a miracle! So glad I found this post. Even the tough spots nothing else did. So what do you use to seal the grout? I especially need to do this in the foyer. Thanks!
Glad it worked well for you, Mia! You can find a commercial grout sealer at most home improvement stores.
Did you use 3% or 12% hydrogen peroxide to make your cleaning solution?
Stuart, I use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. It is the type that is sold in the U.S. for “wound care” in the pharmacy section.
We have marble tile in our shower on both the walls and floor. Will your mixture damage the marble? Thanks so much for your help!!
I have used hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap on natural stone with no problem. If you are concerend I would spot test it or check with your manufacturer. Good luck!
THANK YOU!!! I visited your site for the first time today. And I tried your grout cleaner (#3). It worked beautifully. I am embarrassed to admit, I may now actually enjoy cleaning my grout because I know it can be done – easily and without the caustic lingering odors.
My kitchen floor is gray tile with gray grout. The grout is a bit lighter than the tile, but with the course of having a family always appears darker gray. I have been making my own homemade all purpose cleaner for several years, which works great. But not to brighten grout. Your recipe is my lifesaver. Thank you so very much Bren…I actually have time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea!
Woo hooo! I am glad the cleaner worked well for you Kelleigh! … and am I jealous of that cup of tea time! 😉
I tried #3 (baking soda, hydrogen peroxide & dish soap) and it made a huge difference! I’m quite amazed. Thank you for researching this and making it easier for the rest of us! Fantastic!
Wooo hoooo! I am so glad the cleaner worked for you, Brenda!
Do you think the effects will be similar with a bigger brush? I can’t imagine doing my whole space with a toothbrush!
You can use your favorite brush. I like to use a toothbrush because it fits great in the grout lines and is not too stiff. An extremely stiff scrub brush can damage the grout.
It works!!! Thank you so much! Was investigating hiring professionals then came across your suggestions! Will definitely be sharing your info and checking out more of your suggestions. Although a little slow, the work shows instant results. Will be sealing after it is all clean! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m so happy the cleaner worked well for you, Anna!
Will it kill mildew?
Thanks for the tips!
Yes, hydrogen peroxide kills mildew. Hooray! Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to kill the mildew.
Hi! Love the tips for cleaning bathroom grout. My hurdle is cleaning floor tile grout – with three indoor pups it’s difficult to keep our grout looking like new, even though we wipe the pups’ feet each time they come in from outside. The only thing I’ve found that works is good old “elbow grease” … which was fine when I was younger but, now … not so much! LOL!
Hi, Nancy! I use this mixture (baking soda/hydrogen peroxide) to clean the grout in my entry way and kitchen. I works great!
Wow wow the only word comes to my mouth when i read your blog. I never tried hydrogen peroxide when cleaning tile and grout. Does it help me with wooden floor?
I’ve never used hydrogen peroxide on wooden floors, this is my homemade floor cleaner for hardwoods.
I used number 3 and it worked FABULOUSLY! I’ve used many, many cleaners over the years. Lots and lots of hard work and fair results. After using #3, my floors look new again. Even my husband noticed the difference. I had a cheap paint brush I used and a regular scrub brush. Even the tile cleaned up great! Thanks.
Hooray! I’m so glad the cleaner worked well for you, Holly!
I just found your grout cleaning suggestion while playing on the computer while the magic works. I did use nozzle tipped bottles (like mustard & ketchup dispensers) to apply the baking soda and peroxide.
Hope it worked great, Jo Ann!
Thanks for sharing this information. I have Sodium per carbonate which I use for laundry. Can I use this as a replacement for the liquid hydrogen peroxide in the HP/baking soda cleaner?
I’ve never tried using sodium percarbonate on tile grout so I am not sure how it would work. I would check the manufacturer’s recommendations to be safe. Good luck!
#3 worked beautifully on my shower floors but what would you use for the vertical tiles? Not sure the paste would sit well for maximum effect. Thanks
I’m glad it worked well on your shower! You can make a batch of my all-purpose scrub cleaner, apply to shower tiles, and then mist it with hydrogen peroxide.
I had the same question so I just took a leap and tried it. I used the baking soda, hydorgen peroxide and dish soap mixture on my tiled bathroom walls. It worked very well. It was thick enough that enough of it stayed on the 5-10 minutes (I did 10.) It worked well. I had one small area that the stain persisted so I will be trying again and leave it on a bit longer.
Thanks for the post!
Thanks for sharing, Veronica! I’m glad to hear the grout cleaner worked well for your walls. Shower grout is my nemisis! 😉
HOLY MOLY! My grout has never looked so good. I did #3 like you recommend and I will never use anything else. I have to now stock up on baking soda! Thank you for taking the time to do this experiment!
Wooo hooo! I am so glad the cleaner worked great for you, Kat!
Would this work on the tiles as well or do you have a guide on an all natural tile cleaner?
Also, which dish washing soap do you prefer?
I use water with a bit of dish soap to clean the tiles (you can get my other floor cleaner recipe here). I like Honest Company dish detergent, Sal’s Suds, and Seventh Generation dish soap.
My kitchen backsplash grout all of a sudden turned reddish in one area. The backsplash was installed 4 months ago. It looks stunning everywhere except this which is right at the back of the range. I have no idea how and what caused it to be reddish. I have cleaning using baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and what not. Nothing seems to bring this stubborn stain off. Please help.
Hena, I would talk to your installer to see what was used behind the grout. If it gets too wet something might be seeping through. Hydrogen peroxide has a bleaching effect if exposed to light so I use that instead of other cleaners on stains. FYI, vinegar is not recommended as a grout cleaner, it can damage grout. Good luck!
Bren, the hydrogen peroxide you use is 10 volumes (3%)? Is it the one that we buy at local stores, like health and scratches? Thank you for you help jn our everyday life 🙂
John, I use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. It is the type that is sold in the U.S. for “wound care” in the pharmacy section.
Great, Great solution for the tile/grout cleaning. I tried many OTHER things, but this works the best!!
HOPE YOU HAVE AS SUGGESTION FOR THIS: TOILET BOWL RINGS
I have tried everything you can purchase from the store, and nothing is coming close to cleaning/getting rid of them.
I need something really strong, I guess. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated!!
Rhonda, my favorite tip is to turn off the water at the wall. Flush the toliet to get out as much water as possible and then place vinegar saturated rags or paper towels over the toilet bowl rings. Let them sit overnight then remove (do not flush the rags or paper towels). The rings should wipe right off! This also works for those annoying stains under the rim of the toilet!
Use a Pumie. It is a pumice stone with a handle attached. We have very hard water here and toet rings are a big problem. The Pumie takes it off in a minute without damaging the porcelain. A really amazing product! I will never be within one.
Thanks for the tip! I’ve never found a soft pumice stone. Where do you buy yours?
Try your local hardware store 🙂 I use a Pumice stone as well to clean the toilet rings. Works great! BTW, your homemade grout cleaner is awesome!
Great for my kitchen but what about BLACK grout in my bathroom. Just baking soda, dish soap and water you think? Great article much appreciated.
The combo should clean any color grout… you just won’t see a big change. If you have concerns about colorfastness make sure to test a small spot first!
Bren – I am so excited to get started on some bathroom tile with the baking soda/peroxide slurry-recipe. After looking at the grout a long while I was just not seeing the grime anymore.
You are a true inspiration. I came across your blog, not suspecting that I would get such a charge from a website. I have tried, in the past, so many “things” to clean that grout, I think I’d given up. Never tried peroxide with baking soda (I love baking soda). Unfortunately, vinegar was my go to when I pulled out my 5lb bag of baking soda.
I’m a fan of Dawn dish detergent (platinum) for keeping the toilet flushing well. It was a suggestion from an elderly man who cleared his waste pipes by dumping a small bottle in his toilet every once in a while. It works.
Receive praise for the excellent explanation on the difference between baking soda and washing soda, ph and all. (I didn’t know what washing soda was). We need more than a blog with this kind of information. Please consider publishing a book.
I do have a question: My mother used a product called barkeepers friend to clean the kitchen sink. What is that? Is it related to baking and washing soda? Is it safe? How about Borax?
Here’s hoping brightening the grout will act on me too – reflecting that effect. I feel oddly invigorated now! Thank you so much. – Alice
I did a bit of research and found that Bar Keepers Friend contains oxalic acid which rates a D on the EWG guide. I generally use Bon Ami (which rates an A) if buying a scrubbing powder. The Materiel Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) give more information about the composition: Bar Keepers Friend contains 5-10% Oxalic acid. Bon Ami has Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, and Feldspar.
Thank you Bren. I had no idea bon ami and bar keepers friend were so different. I don’t use either but will remember bon ami means good friend.
What can be used instead of Bar Keepers Friend to clean hard water stains?
If you’re trying to clean hard water stains off of grout you could try an abrasive powered such as Bon Ami Powder Cleanser (It rates better on the EWG scale than Bar Keepers Friend), CLR, or vinegar (if you only need to clean the grout once). A small brash (toothbrush) can help remove the build up too. Make sure to spot test any cleaner to make sure it does not damage the surface. Good luck!
I tried the baking soda and spray hydrogen peroxide method. I was doubtful as I scrubbed with toothbrush, but it looks white and clean. Thanks.
I’m so glad it worked for you, Joelle!
Do you ever put a sealer on the grout after you clean it?
Yes, I do occasionally seal the grout.
Thank you! I started the process of cleaning all of our grout on our tile floors. I’m using the baking soda and peroxide combo and it’s working great! It’s a long process, but it’s rewarding to see the difference!
I’m glad it’s working well for you, Melissa! I agree… it can be a slow process but it’s rewarding to see the nice clean floors!
Would love to try the wining combinations but besides looking for green products I also want to make sure they are pet friendly since the 4 legged members of my family are very important. Do you happen to know if these items leave any residue that might be harmful to pets?
Thanks for commenting, Annette. I did not specifically test these recipes for pet friendliness but if you use a pet safe detergent, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide it should be pet safe. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly, and baking soda is non toxic. I would be sure to rinse any cleaner well with water if you have pets.
I appreciate the care you put into your research. You are either a frustrated engineer or a domestic goddess. Maybe both? I am trying your hot water and dish soap for the slow bathroom drain. Did one round. It clearly needs another. I will try this grout cleaning tip in my shower. The store products designed for this job have been a disappointment. Our current house has bath/shower tiles that attract mold like no other. There seems to be good ventilation, and we dry the grout after usage. I am willing to see if your method helps us. Thank you.
Thanks for commenting, Barb! I’m probably a frustrated domestic goddess… is that a thing? I hope the grout cleaner works well for you. Some showers seem to attract mold like no other! Have you seen my No Scrub Shower Cleanerr? It might help too. I also think that adding a shower filter has helped cut down in the mold in our bathrooms. (These screw on shower attachments cost around $30.00 and use $12.00 replaceable filters that last for up to 6 months.)
Thanks for doing this test – I was definitely going to pick one of the non-winning recipes before I saw this. Just finished cleaning the grout in our powder room with Grout Cleaner #3 – worked like a charm.
Thanks, Nicole. I am so glad the cleaner worked well for you!
Yes! Thank you! I have tried, unsuccessfully, with a few of the fails. Excited to try one that will work. 🙂
Thanks, JC! Let me know how it works for you!
I love that you’ve tested this in your new house and now I can clean my shower.
Glad to be of service! 😉