How To Deep Clean Stained Grout

For months I have tried to find the magic solution to getting clean grout. From what I can tell, our bathroom tile is original from 1977. Yikes. Some spots are much darker and other places the grout is starting to chip away. If I had money to blow, I would start on a remodel ASAP. Yet, we have decided to put a limit on house upgrades. So instead of getting new tile, we decided to clean the heck out of it. I wanted to do it as cheaply as possible.

Before I get into the most successful solution, I’ll get into what didn’t really work. First, water and baking soda didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Second, I tried the Clorox bleach pen, which was a big whomp, whomp disappointment. Third, I tried pouring a solution of OxiClean and water in pools on the floor and letting it soak for a a while before brushing it off. This was an improvement, but didn’t get the results I wanted. But don’t put that OxiClean away just yet…

The winner? Making an OxiClean paste!

It should be noted that our original grout color is a tan color. The cleaning took it from a dark brown to almost its original color. This solution is somewhat temporary. In a few years I think we will either remodel or scrape out the grout and regrout since the tile is in good shape. So here’s how I cleaned our dirty grout:

What you’ll need: vacuum, OxiClean, toothbrush or grout brush (latter is better), rubber gloves (optional but recommended), spray bottle filled with water, rag or paper towels, and a sponge. Oh, and about an hour or two of your time.

Step 1: Vacuum up any dust and debris.

Step 2: This method goes area by area. Spray the desired area liberally with water. Sprinkle about 1/8 cup of OxiClean over the area and lightly spread it out over the area, focusing on getting it on the grout. I found going diagonally in swipes of my palm gave the best coverage. (Note the grout toward the bottom of the photo — that’s the best “before” shot that I got. Whoops!)

Step 3: Allow it to soak up for about a minute. If you notice that the OxiClean seems to dry up, mist again with water. You’re wanting the grout to soak it up.

Step 4: Grab your trusty brush and scrub away. You should notice the tile getting lighter and the water getting murky. You may need to mist with water and/or rinse off the brush in the faucet as you go.

(Here’s where I would show you the video of this happening, but apparently my phone was freaking out and didn’t save. So instead I give you a photo of the grout in our other bathroom and what this bathroom’s grout looks like after Step 5.)

Step 5: Wipe down with a paper towel to remove wetness and vacuum up the leftover OxiClean. Repeat steps 2-5 until you’ve covered your entire tiled surface.

Step 6: The grout will have faint white streaks (maybe not as visible if you have a white/light grout) and a haze over the tile if you allow it to dry for a few minutes. Soak a sponge up with water and wipe down, paying special attention to the grout. You may have to rinse in this way a second time to help remove the haze and white marks. Wipe down with a rag or paper towel and allow to air dry for about 15 minutes.

I just cleaned the floor, as the shower and half wall didn’t show signs of dirt. Now the floor’s grout matches the rest. Woohoo! Also, yes there is no mirror on the wall above the sink — yet another project going on. :)

It’s a lot of work, but doing this once a year or so should keep it looking great. I haven’t decided if I’ll apply a sealer in the next day or so.

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About Emily

Hi, I'm Emily! I live in Northern California with my husband Matt. When not blogging here or at Sparkle Meets Pop, DIYing, wine tasting or baking, I spend my days marketing in the wine and spirits industry, and some nights I take work home with me and sip on the fruit of my labor. :)

13 thoughts on “How To Deep Clean Stained Grout

  1. I love your answer to that question! haha

    Also, I cleaned a lot this weekend. Doesn’t it feel so so good to look at a clean house. I totally notice those cleaner details even more now!

  2. Great tip on using OxiClean to clean grout! I love OxiClean for removing clothing stains and think I’ll try using it to clean the grout in my shower.

  3. P.S. Anyone have any tips for cleaning bathtubs? My bathtub seems to get dirty so easily because there’s texturization on the bottom to prevent slippage. The only thing I can get to really clean it is Bar Keeper’s Friend. Maybe OxiClean will work!

  4. That’s my next challenge! I’ve had so much trouble in our shower too. So frustrating! Will be back to report and let you know how it goes. So far the best I’ve done is the Scrubbing Bubbles foam, but even then it doesn’t do THAT much.

  5. 8 comments on cleaning, seems that we’ve found a niche here.
    Best method of cleaning the shower… call Merry Maids!!!

    For far less than a bottle of Insignia ($150 at COSTCO) you might want to try these:


    KABOOM, which just happens to be a Oxi Clean product – and not to be confused with Oxi cotton, or something similiar.

    Then get yourself a Scotch Brite pad -they come in different grits so to speak, white being the least abrasive green the next, then red the most abrasive (kinda like my first…)

    The deal is you gots to get rid of the scum, soap scum that is
    just spray either of these where you have dreaded soap scum, scurge of a spotless tub. Let it work, while you have a smoke, then, scrub with the Scotch Brite pad. Do this a couple of times and you will be lovin’ life.

    Please forward your Insignia bottles this way…

  6. Oxyclean worked an absolute miracle on our grout. We wet down the floor, sprinkled Oxyclean and worked the slurry into the grout lines. Next we covered the floor with plastic trash bags to keep the slurry wet and left the solution on the grout for 90 minutes. After cleaning up the slurry, the grout was returned to its installed condition. Unfortunately the cleaning revealed a bad grout job (adhesive mixed in with grout) so we stained the grout/adhesive with Polyblend grout stain followed by a sealing the grout. Floor looks fabulous now. Thanks for the suggestion. So much better than ripping up all the grout and reinstalling it!!!

  7. Even though your grout is clean and showing the natural color, if you wanted to lighten it up some more you could go to Lowes in the tile section and they have watered down & colored “grout refresh” that you can “paint”on top of what you have. I’ve got really dark grout with light tiles and I wanted them to look more seamless so I am working my way through our bathroom and kitchen by applying that. The directions say use a toothbrush, but I have been using Q-tips and think that works better. In terms of wearing down, it can be scraped off near the edge of the grout and the tile, but that won’t be happening when you are just walking on it so I don’t think I’ll have to do too many touch ups.

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