Secret Dirty Grout Solution

Soft Scrub Bleach Clean Gel CleanserUPDATE! DON’T DO THIS! Apparently bleach dissolves grout. So far I haven’t seen any problems but when a helpful commenter told me, I stopped using this. My grout looks cruddy again, too.

This handy little bottle to my right is my new best friend. Our dog, Matilda, threw up in the foyer the other day and after cleaning up the mess, I used this to deal with any germs. It just happened to be the first bottle of cleaner I could find under the sink, and probably not what I would have chosen if I’d really looked closely.

But after it sat working for 5 minutes, I went to wipe it up and immediately noticed how clean the grout looked!

Now, I’ve been dealing with stained, nasty-looking grout for years. I went through a phase summer-before-last where I bought a couple of different bottles of grout cleaner that didn’t work at all, and tried several different home remedies that, well, MAY have worked…it was hard to tell.

This wasn’t. This was obvious. Was it a fluke? I decided to head to the kitchen, where the grout looked the worst, to try it again. This time I was armed with the spray bottle and a toothbrush. Let’s just say it went well…very well:

Contrast between dirty and clean groutThis picture shows the intersection between four tiles. I used the Soft Scrub on the right-hand grout line and it soaked a small ways into each of the other grout lines. The dark grout is what it looked like below.

I know, gross, right?

So today I went back and did the entire kitchen.


Here’s what I learned.

1. Only letting the solution soak, and then mopping, does about 80% of the job. To get it really clean, scrub with a toothbrush.

2. It leaves a sticky residue, which I noticed after cleaning up the dog vomit. Today I rinsed several times with hot water then wiped everything up with a towel (which immediately went into the wash!)

3. There are some holes in my grout. I couldn’t see them before because the shadow of the hole was the same color as the grime on the grout!

4. Target doesn’t sell this stuff – at least, my local Super Target doesn’t. I wanted another bottle; I have LOTS of tile. I’ll have to try Publix on my next trip.

5. This is HARD work. Not if you just have a spot, but there’s a lot more grout to scrub than I would originally have guessed.

6. Don’t waste time on a special trip to your local home improvement store for dedicated grout cleaner! It’s a waste of time and money…and elbow grease.

The best news is that I’ve been hoping to save up enough money and prioritize a grout cleaning/sealing from Stanley Steemer since last year. They quoted me just under $1000 to clean my tile and grout, and to seal the grout. Fortunately (it turns out) we had other more pressing home repairs to real with, so I had to wait on this. Now I don’t… I’m going to give the kitchen one more application this coming week then seal it myself with stuff I saw at the Home Depot.

Here’s the final results (well, almost final…this was after the entire kitchen cleaning today). I should have taken a before picture, but suffice it to say that my grout hasn’t looked this good since we first moved in:

Final Results