How to Clean Discolored Grout

Tackling grout stains doesn’t take long if you use the right cleaners and pair them with the best techniques. If dirt and grunge have left you with a gray or orange grout color, you can clean the mortar that keeps the charming tiles in place by addressing the grime head on.

How to Clean Discolored Grout

The little lines that run between tiles and keep them firmly attached to the surfaces of your home often get little attention after installation. However, grout needs just as much consideration and care as the shining squares and rectangles that create the backsplash, floor and walls of your living spaces. Often, grout doesn’t get a good look over until it begins to show signs of wear and tear or discoloration. If an orange grout color has begun to bloom on the otherwise pristine sealant or if the dingy filler is taking down the wow factor of your favorite stone, it’s time to get down and dirty with some cleansers and thoroughly clean the grout.

Ways to Clean Grout

Whether homemade or mass produced, a good grout cleaner can erase years from the look of a tiled space. It should be easy to apply and labor saving in its ability to lift dirt, mold and grime from the mortar. Chemical grout cleaning choices abound. If you have a large area that's layered in years of grunge, a commercial grout cleaner, such as Soft Scrub or CLR Bath & Kitchen, may save time and effort in lifting the grime from the rough surface of the grout. If it seems the grout is beyond saving but is otherwise in good shape, grout paint may be a smart alternative. Grout paint can also be used to change up the color of the grout rather easily. Always clean the grout thoroughly before using grout paint, which shouldn’t be used on tile that's unglazed. It's a less invasive and certainly much less expensive way to perk up tired grout or change up the look of the living space.

Homemade Grout Cleaners and Tools

A proven grout cleaner is baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the surface that needs to be cleaned. Then, spray vinegar over the baking soda until it fizzes. This will make a paste once the baking soda has reacted with the acid of the vinegar. Add a spritz of lemon to the vinegar if the grout is really gray from ground-in dirt. Use a toothbrush or wire grout brush to scrub the mixture into the grout. Always test a small spot before beginning any cleaning method. This process is best done over small areas in many batches. If you have a 4-foot area, do one foot at a time to get the most out of the process. Let the paste sit for 5 to 20 minutes before using a wet sponge to remove the excess paste. Go over the area with a dry towel to pick up the leftover cleaning solution. Grout should be cleaned every few months to keep it in its best condition.

Orange Grout Color

Orange spots or streaks may appear on the grout around sinks, tubs and showers if you have an excess of iron in your water supply. Installing a water filter can keep the liquid from damaging the grout. If the stains have already appeared, a 3-to-1 mixture of water and bleach can eradicate these orange spots. Mold and mildew can also leave behind an orange grout stain. Regular cleaning and a dehumidifier in the area, particularly in small bathrooms or poorly ventilated areas, can keep the mold and mildew from collecting on the grout and leaving behind the orange eyesores.