The ultimate purpose of grout is to turn an unconnected, fractured surface (tiles) into a solid surface of tiles bound and protected by grout. The products that will keep your tiles clean may not be the best cleaner products. As grout is softer than tile, your grout may darken and look dirty no matter how clean you keep it.
What’s the source of this discoloration? It can be many things. Moisture in grout lines can lead to mold growth, resulting in darkened grout lines. If your grout is in the kitchen, grease can collect on grout lines and serve as a magnet for dust and dirt. Grout on floors is likely softer than the tile, so dirt will not only collect in grout lines but may be ground into the grout, changing both the surface of the grout and trapping dirt inside the lines.
Finally, chemical reactions can change the color of your grout. Once your grout has undergone a chemical reaction, it’s not possible to change the outcome. In addition to color changes (some of which can be quite extreme) you may find that your formerly solid grout becomes porous and crumbly.
Best Grout Cleaner & Tile Cleaner Reviews
From The Floor Guys, Grout-Eez grout cleaner may require you to buy some new safety gear. Per the instructions, apply it to the grout lines, let it sit for five minutes, then scrub it away. The scrubbing process may cause splatter; be sure to protect your eyes and hands. Once you’ve wiped away the grout cleaner, you’ll need to rinse the tile and seal your grout. This product cannot be used on marble, though The Floor Guys offer a product for that.
Pros: Works on ceramic and porcelain tile, cleans up dirt and mold discolorations, works quickly
Cons: You have to let this sit for at least 5 minutes for best results. It must be rinsed away. This is a caustic product, so use your safety gear including goggles!
This 32 ounce spray bottle cleaner/degreaser is an ideal choice for grout lines in your kitchen. Even if you cook with little fat, grease becomes airborne quickly and once it settles on tiles and in grout lines, it will become a magnet for dust and dirt. This is also an excellent product for grout that has been waxed. Spray it on and let it sit for at least five minutes, then work the grout line with a brush or a steam cleaner for best results. Once the lines are clean, rinse them with plain water, allow them to dry and seal them.
Pros: Excellent on grease and wax, great all-purpose cleaner for kitchens, grills and garages.
Cons: This product will take a lot of rinsing and you may need to leave it soak for longer than you think. Start with an out of the way place to test its effectiveness before you apply it to a large area.
Granite gold is a great option for anyone with chemical sensitivities as it contains no bleach. You will need to spray it on and let it soak for a few minutes before using the scrubber brush that’s included with the product. The product can be used on ceramic tile and natural stone. However, if you aren’t sure of the floor or countertop material in your space, be sure to test an inconspicuous space to confirm the stone won’t be harmed by this product.
In addition, this product is food safe and can be used in your kitchen; just rinse with warm water when you’re done.
Note: This product has a limited effect on mold.
Pros: Pleasant scent, safe to use in kitchens, comes with brush, works on natural stone
Cons: Not very effective on mold, doesn’t break down soap scum
This liquid version of the classic scrubbing product Bar Keepers Friend is a great choice for dirty grout once you go to work with the brush set. Simply apply the product, let it sit on the grout line for 10 minutes, then scrub the product away with one of the brushes.
Bar Keepers Friend is an excellent option for when you need to boost the scrubbing power, thanks to the very fine grit of this product. You will need to rinse this product away when you’re done cleaning. This rinsing may take several passes. Best results are generally achieved with a large sponge so you can get down into the grout lines.
Pros: Easy to use, takes little time to sit and work before you can start scrubbing, pleasant odor
Cons: This product contains an abrasive that will need to be rinsed away and you may need to rinse multiple times. The scrubbing will take some elbow grease; if you have hand problems, consider investing in a spinning tool.
Brilla Grout Cleaner and Brightener with stand up scrubber brush and hand held brush for small jobs. This is a grout cleaner with cling! Rather than spraying on grout cleaner and watching it run down the wall, you can apply this product directly to that dirty grout line and let it soak in. Once you’ve scrubbed the cleaner away, rinse carefully.
This product is recommended for ceramic and porcelain tile as well as porcelain bathroom fixtures, but shouldn’t be used on natural stone. Again, if you’re not sure, test a spot.
Pros: Thick tile cleaner that will cling to grout, comes with multiple applicators, offers an acid cleaner to soak into the grout.
Cons: Includes acid and must be thoroughly rinsed away, be sure to wear your safety gear and a mask. Strong odor. Consider using a fan if you’re working in a small space.
DuPont offers an excellent grout cleaner that can be used on any form of stone, ceramic or porcelain tile. When working with this product, users suggest that you
1) apply, scrub and rinse immediately
2) seal the grout once you’re sure the grout has been effectively rinsed
3) use this product sparingly for occasional cleaning.
Pros: Works quickly, so if you have a large area to clean, be sure to work in small sections. Once you’ve scrubbed this product, it will need to be rinsed right away.
Cons: This product takes a lot of rinsing. Be ready for a very wet project, particularly if you’re working on the floor.
TileLab Grout and Tile Cleaner can be used to clean your grout on a regular basis. If you’re working with unsealed or unwaxed grout, this is an excellent cleaning product. For those who need to strip sealant or old wax, a cleaner with a strong de-greasing agent will be necessary.
This product works off of sodium bicarbonate, so dirt will be raised from the grout via oxygen. It may take some time. When the label refers to minimal scrubbing, be ready to let this product sit for best results.
Pros: This product will go deep into old grout to lift dirt to the surface so you can finally get rid of it
Cons: Not a de-greaser, so you may need to strip away grease or oily build-up before applying this product.
Marble Life tile and grout offers deep cleaning to your grout without putting any of your natural stone at risk for chemical discoloration.
One of the challenges of working with natural stone is that these products can experience a color change caused by a chemical reaction. In the event of such a reaction, the discoloration will likely be permanent and irreversible. If you’re trying to clean up old stains and aren’t certain what the original grout formulation was, or what type of stone you’re cleaning up, this is an excellent product to start with.
Pros: Excellent option for natural stone or any product you’re not certain of. Be sure to test an out of the way spot to make sure you don’t ruin your tile while you’re cleaning your grout!
Cons: While you’re not at risk of damaging natural stone, this is not an “apply and walk away” product. It will work, but it will take some serious scrubbing to get good results with this product. If you have a drill, you might want to invest in some spinner scrubbing brushes.
Custom Building Products offers a great grout cleaner for anyone with chemical sensitivities, pets or children in the house. If you’ve struggled to get your grout looking new again, check out this product!
Many users find that this product is most effective in small doses. Get a good scrubbing brush for grout, some clean water and sponges or rags. Spray on the product, work it in with the brush, and wipe it away. Your rags or sponge will darken quickly; just change out the water and keep going. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, and as possible, keep this product in the grout lines. It does have a sealer in it and this may leave a film on some tile.
Pros: Easy to use and easy to wipe up. Many asthmatic users have no reaction to this product.
Cons: This product does contain a sealer and that may leave a film on your tiles.
Black Diamond Stoneworks is focused on providing a great clean to all different types of stone in many different applications. Their particular expertise is in cleaning natural stone.
As previously stated, both grout and natural stone are susceptible to chemical reaction in cleaning agents. Some of these chemical reactions can be activated or exacerbated by steam or heat. If you don’t know what stone, tile or grout you’re working with, make certain to use a cleaner that is safe for natural stone. This will protect your ceramic tiles as well as any other stone you encounter.
Pros: This cleaner works on stone, tile or grout. Highly concentrated to be mixed with water before application.
Cons: Black Diamond cleaning products are concentrated and have a strong odor. If you’re working in a small space such as a bathroom, consider using a fan or wearing a mask to protect your nose and throat.
Dirty grout will make your entire home look and feel grubby. Depending on when the grout was applied, you may have no idea if it was sealed or when. To test, simply drip water on a grout line. If the water beads, the grout seal is in good shape. If the grout darkens, you’ll need to seal your grout once it’s clean. This take time but will save you a lot of scrubbing in the future!