Dealing with Grout Stain

If you have grout between your tiles to hold them in place, you’ve probably run into grout stain before.

Grout is made of sand, cement and water.

These elements dry into a rubbery, elastic substance that tends to be porous, and it collects grime and dirt. It’s an ideal condition for mildew and bacteria to grow. To be sure that your grout remains clean, seal it, and clean it regularly, whenever it needs it. A sealant for grout fills any holes and helps to smooth the floor surface, and makes the grout easier to clean. You can have tile installers seal your floor, or seal it yourself.

Even if you have sealed your grout, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to clean it. It may still stain if you don’t keep on top of it, but if you use a good sealant, your tile floor will be easier to keep up.


There are various ways you can remove grime and dirt from grout, whether you do it by yourself, or hire someone else to do it for you. Cleaning grout can be a rather tedious chore, but your floor will look better if you do it sooner rather than later.


For cleaning colored grout, in a bucket, mix:

  • five cups of water,
  • ¼ cup of vinegar,
  • ½ cup of ammonia
  • ½ cup of baking soda.

Mix the solution well and them use a spray bottle to wet the grout.

Let it sit for five minutes or so, and then rinse or wipe, to remove grout stain.

If you have to scrub, use a brush with soft bristles and don’t pull any of the grout out from between your tiles.Be sure that you do NOT mix ammonia and bleach, as this will produce a toxic gas.


If your grout is not colored, but bright white – or not so bright white – you can mix water and bleach, in a ratio of five cups of water to one cup of bleach.

If the first mixture with baking soda does not work for you, leave it a couple days. Then try the solution with bleach. Don’t bleach your grout too often, or it could become discolored.

Bleach doesn’t actually remove a lot of the dirt; it makes it harder to see. Don’t use bleach on any colored grout, only on white grout.


After you have cleaned your grout, you can make future cleanings less tedious, by sealing the grout. It will make for a bit more work now, but it will save you a lot of cleaning time in the future.


There are other ways to clean grout, including pressure washers, but leave this method to a professional tile person. If you have loose grout, don’t use a power washer, as it can remove loose pieces of grout.

Some handymen will tell you to use dye to recolor your grout when it gets dirty. This actually will work, but applying it properly can mean more work than just cleaning it. Regardless of whether you clean or dye, seal the grout when you are done. And if you dye, you will need to clean the dye off all the tiles. You also should not dye over a grout stain anyway – you should clean it first.