How To Clean Grout With A Homemade Grout Cleaner

Want a simple trick for cleaning grout in your shower, bath, or kitchen? This is the absolute BEST homemade grout cleaner; just baking soda and bleach!

This homemade grout cleaner works great and it only requires 2 ingredients: baking soda and bleach. If you want to see how easy it is to clean your grout, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the video!

When we moved into our apartment it wasn’t very clean. I already shared my 5 minute microwave steam cleaning tip, but another area that needed serious cleaning was the bathroom. The grout was disgusting! But after cleaning it with this homemade grout cleaner, it looks brand new again!

before and after collage of white tile with dirty grout and white tile with clean grout and text "2 Ingredient Homemade Grout Cleaner"

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There are tons of recipes out there for homemade grout cleaner, but I wanted an effective one that wasn’t too hard to make. I ended up with this grout cleaner recipe which only has 2 ingredients, and it worked great!

Table of Contents
  1. How To Make Homemade Grout Cleaner
    1. Tools For Cleaning Grout
    2. DIY Grout Cleaner Ingredients
    3. Grout Cleaning Instructions
  2. Homemade Grout Cleaner With Bleach [Printable Version]
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

More easy cleaning tips!

How To Make Homemade Grout Cleaner

  • 30 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 30 minutes (time spent waiting around)
  • 1 hour (total project time)

Tools For Cleaning Grout

DIY Grout Cleaner Ingredients

bottle of bleach, baking soda, and scrub brush sitting on the edge of a bathtub

Grout Cleaning Instructions

This is what the grout looked like when we moved in. Gross!!!

white tile wall with dirty black grout lines and orange hard water stains

Mix the baking soda and bleach together in the bowl until it forms a thick paste. Apply the paste to the dirty grout lines and let it sit.

The bleach will do most of the work just sitting there, but after 10-15 minutes, scrub it with your scrub brush to really work the cleaner deeper into the grout.

white tile wall with baking soda and bleach grout cleaner paste covering dirty black grout and orange hard water stains

Wait at least another 10-15 minutes and then rinse the cleaner off. If you have a handheld showerhead, use that; otherwise, just use a damp rag and rinse it out often as you wipe the cleaner away.

Remember, grout does sometimes turn darker when it’s wet. So if you’re not totally impressed with how sparkling white your grout is right when you finish rinsing it, wait a few hours until it dries!

white tile wall with clean white grout and no orange hard water stains

I am so happy with how CLEAN everything is now!

before and after collage of white tile with dirty grout and white tile with clean grout

Important notes

  • You’re using bleach. Make sure you are wearing old clothes or something you don’t care about. I figured it wouldn’t splatter so I didn’t change before doing this, and now my jeans have white spots all over them! There is a surprising amount of splatter, even if you’re careful. So just change first.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from irritation if you have sensitive skin.
  • Open a window or wear a respirator to protect your nose, mouth, and lungs.
  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from irritation.
  • And if you use a washcloth or rag to wipe the cleaner off, make sure it’s something that’s okay to be bleached.
  • Remember to NEVER mix ammonia and bleach. They are both strong cleaners, but don’t try to “boost” a bleach cleaner by adding ammonia or vice versa; it will create toxic fumes that can be lethal.

How’s the state of your bathroom grout? Or in your kitchen, if you have tile on the floor or in your back-splash? I’m really liking these make-it-yourself cleaning recipes because they work just as well and it means I don’t have 30 different types of chemical cleaners laying around! We have been using homemade borax free laundry soap for almost a year now and we absolutely love it! It’s cheap, non-toxic, and works better than commercial detergent!

before and after collage of white tile with dirty grout and white tile with clean grout

Homemade Grout Cleaner With Bleach

4.67 from 24 votes
Want a simple trick for cleaning grout in your shower, bath, or kitchen? This is the absolute BEST homemade grout cleaner; just baking soda and bleach!
Active Time 30 minutes
Wait Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • stiff-bristled grout brush
  • rubber gloves
  • respirator
  • safety glasses



  • Mix the baking soda and bleach together in the bowl until it forms a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste to the dirty grout lines. Be sure it covers the grout lines entirely; if it's too thin it will slide down the walls.
  • Let the paste sit for 15 minutes.
  • Work the paste into the grout lines with a scrub brush, paying careful attention to any discolored areas. (Don't scrub the paste away entirely–make sure the paste is still covering the grout lines after you scrub.)
  • Let the paste sit for at least another 15 minutes, or longer if your grout is really dirty.
  • Rinse the paste off of your tile and grout with clean water and a rag.



Remember that grout is always darker when it’s wet. If your grout still looks dark and dirty after you rinse the paste away, wait until the grout is fully dry and it will look better!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use concentrated or “anti-splash” bleach that is thicker than regular bleach?

Yep! Any kind of bleach will work here, but you may need to modify the ratio of bleach to baking soda. You want the mixture thick enough that it doesn’t slip and slide off the walls after you apply it, so when using a thicker bleach, you won’t need as much of it as you would with regular bleach.

Can I use this homemade grout cleaner on floors or kitchen counters, or just in the shower?

This grout cleaner will work for grout anywhere in your home! You can use it for cleaning tile showers, tile floors, tile countertops, or anywhere else you have grout.

I don’t like using bleach, can I use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to clean my grout instead?

Yep, you can! If the smell of bleach bothers you, or you want a less harsh chemical, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (or even just baking soda and water) can work as well. Just be warned that substituting the bleach for something else will probably mean a lot more elbow grease for you. If you want to substitute hydrogen peroxide or plain water in for the bleach, you can use the same amounts that the recipe calls for. If you want to use vinegar, a spray solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water is great for regular cleaning of your grout, but probably isn’t strong enough to completely whiten really dingy grout.

Do I need a special grout cleaning brush?

No, not really, but they do work super well! Grout cleaning brushes are thin and very stiff, so they make quick work of scrubbing your grout lines. But a regular scrub brush or even an old toothbrush will also work.

Is this homemade grout cleaner safe for colored grout?

I wouldn’t use any cleaner that has bleach in it with colored grout. For cleaning colored grout, I would recommend just replacing the bleach with water—it will take a lot more elbow grease but it won’t bleach your grout lines! (P.S. Don’t use anything with hydrogen peroxide in it either; hydrogen peroxide can also pull the color out of your grout.)

I just cleaned my grout and it looks brand new again! How do I keep it looking nice and new for as long as possible?

The best thing you can do to keep your grout clean is to seal it. Grout is porous, which means it will absorb dirt and spills. But a grout sealer forms a protective barrier on top to help keep it clean. You can find liquid grout sealers at most hardware stores; you just apply the liquid on the grout lines and it soaks in and seals it. You can also use a spray solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water for regular cleaning and maintenance after you seal the grout.

I tried cleaning my grout with this homemade grout cleaner and it didn’t really work…any suggestions?

The keys to making this homemade grout cleaner work are the time you let it sit on the grout before you scrub, and the actual scrubbing. You should let the paste sit on your grout for at least half an hour before you start scrubbing to give it a chance to work. And when you do start scrubbing, be sure to use a stiff-bristled brush to really get the mold and gunk out of the cracks.

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

Have you checked the FAQs above to see if your question is answered? View previous questions.

  1. Garden Girl says

    12 years ago

    I love this idea. I am going to try it this weekend. Thanks!

    Hope on over to my site for my latest creation.

  2. Becky says

    12 years ago

    I can definitely use this!!

  3. Betsy @ Romance on a Dime says

    12 years ago

    This is great info!! We don’t have tile in our bathroom, but there are definitely still corners that need to be clean. Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime!!

  4. Michael at says

    12 years ago

    Great info, and I appreciate this tip: “Use an old toothbrush for scrubbing, and please don’t use one you’re going to put in your mouth later!”

  5. fatmonica says

    12 years ago

    Thanks for this.i was only thinking of sorting the tiles in my bathroom yesterday!

  6. Katie says

    12 years ago

    The DDH is in charge of cleaning the downstairs bathroom (the only one with a shower/tile). And our grout was gross. Even if you do pretty well doing a regular wipe-down, it seems like the grout always needs to be tackled separately. 🙁 Cause yeah. Slime monsters.

    I don’t know what he used; I think just 409 (everything I clean we use some sort of homemade concoction, but he insists that if he is going to clean, he’s going to use the products he wants to use. so I let him).

    BUT! I did get him a brush at Target or Walmart that was labeled as a “grout-cleaning brush,” and he says it works better than a toothbrush (bigger so more surface area and stiffer bristles) and waaaaaay better than just a sponge. It has a plastic handle and a line of stiff blue bristles on one side and a wider line of softer white bristles on the other. Our grout looks amazing now, and it took him only about a half hour.

    I don’t usually like to buy weird specialized cleaning doohickeys, but this really was worth it. ^_^

    • Jessi says

      12 years ago

      Yeah stiffer bristles would definitely help! My old toothbrush has super stiff bristles (thus why it is “old”…it was too harsh for my gums) so it works ok, but it was still a lot of scrubbing!

    • Mandy says

      7 years ago

      We have one of those grout brushes and cleaning what seems like ten acres of tile without it would be a beast. I don’t remember what it cost but whatever it was it was worth it.

  7. norma brooks says

    12 years ago

    I made the mistake of cleaning a bathroom yrs ago with out gloves and just bleach and had to go to emergency room as I burnt my hands, so use rubber gloves and don’t forget to dilute it.

    • Jessi says

      12 years ago

      Oh no, sorry to hear that! It’s definitely good advice to be careful; my hands were okay but safety first! And rubber gloves are cheap and easy to come by so it can’t hurt to use them and be on the safe side 🙂

      • Lee says

        5 years ago

        The bleach I buy is concentrated, or “anti-splash”, it’s super thick so should I cut the qty of bleach in half and still be effective?

        • Jessi Wohlwend says

          5 years ago

          That should work just fine! You want to have the mixture be thick enough that it won’t drip down and slide off your grout lines, but if your bleach is already thicker you won’t need as much to make a good paste.

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