This post looks at a few of the popular ways to clean tile grout (baking soda and vinegar, bleach toilet bowl cleaner, and boiling water) to see which one really works best.

different cleaning products in a tile shower

Can you believe we're at the end of this summer's Cleaning 101 series? Over the past 10 weeks, I've posted about everything from how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar to how to clean upholstery. I hope you guys have enjoyed these little peeks at (sometimes unconventional) cleaning methods that I really do use in my home!

This post, however, highlights a little bit of a gap in my knowledge about cleaning. I didn't really have an effective way to clean grout before starting on this post - it's just something that's never really been on my radar. I haven't lived in a home with a lot of floor tile in years, and my newest home was built by us - meaning the grout was brand new (and clean) when we moved in. It's only recently that I've even thought about needing to clean it.

So, I did a little research. I found three really popular ways of cleaning grout: baking soda and vinegar, boiling water, and bleach toilet cleaner. I thought I'd conduct a little experiment to see which one is the most effective.

tile shower floor

I tried to be oh-so-scientific with this one. I picked a spot in my shower that had pretty evenly stained grout and was already (mostly) dry. I left each method on for 30 minutes, scrubbed, then wiped away any residue. Afterwards, I let the shower run for a few minutes to wash any leftovers off and allowed the floor to dry completely before I took after pictures. Let's see what I found!

Method 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar

I must say, I think I'm rooting for this method the most. With this one, you simply sprinkle baking soda over the grout and spray it with vinegar until it fizzes. I love cleaning with baking soda and vinegar because it's such a versatile trick, non-toxic, and usually really effective!

baking soda on grout in a shower
spraying vinegar onto grout
baking soda in a grout line

This is going to fizz a little after you spray it - that's totally normal. I didn't touch it for the 30 minutes after it was sprayed.

Method 2: Bleach Toilet Bowl Cleaner for Grout

This is the method I've heard the most praise about. And it totally make sense - a non-running formula that has bleach in it, in theory, would knock out the stains the best. But it's also the most expensive, especially if you have a whole tile floor to clean.

toilet bowl cleaner in a grout line

The nozzle on the bottle actually makes it pretty each to apply to grout. Just spray as little as possible in the grout line!

Method 3: Boiling Water

I was honestly a little skeptical of this one, but several sites I read swore by it. It's as easy as it sounds: pour boiling water all over the grout and let it sit for a little while to knock out the stains, cleaning it pretty quickly after applying.

grout after being cleaned with hot water

To be fair, I let it sit on the tile the same amount of time that I let the others sit.

The Results (aka How to Clean Tile Grout The Most Effective Way)

comparison of grout cleaning results

Umm...hello. I think this picture speaks for itself. Remember - I allowed each method to stay on the same amount of time and scrubbed each one the same amount. I waited for the tile to dry to really make sure the results were clear (so this picture was a few hours later).

floor of a tiled shower

The toilet bowl cleaner is the hands-down winner! If I had to say (after seeing all three in person), the vinegar/baking soda would be in second place, with the boiling water in third. Now that you think about, it makes sense that the boiling water would do almost nothing - hot water hits that tile daily and it is still stained.

If you're going for a more natural solution, baking soda/vinegar is worth a try. It didn't do *nothing* just didn't do a lot. I could tell that the toilet cleaner was going to be the winner before it was even dry!

If you try the toilet cleaner method, make sure you get the kind with bleach - I can't speak to how non-bleach options would work. But i definitely know what I'll be using from now on! Also, make sure you let the cleaner sit on the grout for at least 20-30 minutes. I tried this for a shorter amount of time somewhere else in my home and it wasn't nearly as effective.

Thanks for hanging out and discussing a few (sometimes weird) ways to clean your home this summer! Check out all of the posts in this series by clicking the links below...

You can also see all of my cleaning posts here.

xo, Leslie; signature for end of the blog post.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing! I’m definitely trying this next time. We have stones on our shower floor…such a pain to clean!