How To Clean Dirty Grout On Your Ceramic Floor

By Alyssa Davis

If you have a ceramic floor, you likely are concerned with keeping your grout clean. Dirty grout is not only unsightly, but it can make your entire room look unkempt. Dirty grout can be caused by mildew, mold, dirt, or food spills, but keeping your grout clean doesn’t have to be challenging. A big key to maintaining the grout when you have a ceramic floor is to use an appropriate sealant, which we will discuss later. In the meantime, the tips that follow will help you to get your ceramic floor into tip-top shape.

Optimal Way to Clean Grout – try the gentlest solution first

If you have dirty grout, trying the gentlest solution first is a wise idea. A good cleaner for grout can be made with a fifty/fifty blend of water and vinegar. Vinegar contains mild acidic properties that can loosen stains in grout. You might also make a paste of water and baking soda that can be used to clean granite, marble, and slate floors because you don’t want to use any cleaner that is acid based around these materials.


Apply the solution of fifty/fifty water and vinegar to a small area of grout, scrubbing with a natural bristle brush in a circular fashion. The circular motion will protect the grout. Do not utilize a toothbrush for scrubbing grout as it is too soft. As the grout becomes clean, rinse it with water and rip off any residue.

For the grout on a kitchen counter, mix up a solution of fifty/fifty bleach and water to dissolve away organic food stains – but only if the grout is uncolored. Bleaching can cause fading in colored grout. Always remember to wear appropriate protection on your hands when working with any chemical, including bleach, and to keep the area well-ventilated while working.

If the stain remains, use a steam cleaner to steam it out. Steam is an eco-friendly cleaning method that will dislodge a lot of dirt that traditional cleaning will not. If the stain remains after steam cleaning, you can use commercial grout and tile cleaner. One really good one is ZAP! Professional Restorer.

Keeping Your Grout Clean – a three-step approach

Once you have the grout clean, make sure you rinse the cleaning solution away completely. I recommend a three-step approach. First, rinse with warm water, wiping away any apparent cleaner. Rinse again with fresh water. Wipe all moisture away with a clean dry rag using as many rags as necessary to leave the tile dry.

Follow up your efforts with a premium grout sealer; choose one that is resistant to oil, acid, and water and that inhibits the growth of bacteria and mildew. This will keep you from repeating all of the hard work and scrubbing on down the road when the grout becomes dirty again. You’ll find that an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure when it comes to the grout in your ceramic floors.

About the Author: Alyssa Davis, is a design specialist and writer at, and she offers many suggestions and unique ideas for designing with

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