Old grout naturally gets dirty over time, making it visually unpleasant. Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to whiten it without purchasing expensive commercial grout cleaners. You’ll be surprised about the number of grout whitening solutions you already have available at home.
You can get grout white again by using homemade solutions like baking soda, bleach, lemon juice, or vinegar. Soaking grout in a cleaning solution for 10-20 minutes is often enough to make it whiter. However, you need to rinse the solutions and dry the grout completely to see the improvement.
In the rest of the article, I will explain how to whiten grout using the items mentioned above. These items are available in most households and safe to use as long as you follow the preparation and application suggestions. Keep reading to learn more!
- 1 1. Prepare Homemade Solutions for Whitening Grout
- 2 2. Apply the Solution and Leave It for 10-20 Minutes
- 3 3. Rinse the Grout Thoroughly
- 4 4. Wipe or Air-Dry the Grout and Tiles
- 5 Final Thoughts
1. Prepare Homemade Solutions for Whitening Grout
You can find everyday household items that are effective for whitening grout. However, they may have different mechanisms of action, resulting in varying levels of effectiveness. I will discuss them in more detail below:
● Baking Soda and Bleach
Baking soda, by itself, is a safe, all-around cleaner that can remove grease and dirt stuck in the grout on your kitchen counter or soap stains on your bathroom tiles. Removing the dirt will usually whiten the grout.
Because of this, I recommend using bleach only on white grout that has become dirty. Avoid using it when trying to whiten naturally dark-colored grout.
To neutralize the damage while maximizing the benefits, mix two tablespoons of liquid bleach and two tablespoons of baking soda. Mix them well together until you get a gooey or paste consistency.
This mixture is suitable for wall tiles because the paste can stay in place for as long as you need to whiten the grout. Liquid solutions won’t soak the grout between wall tiles long enough to achieve visible results.
● Vinegar Solution
Grout can darken over time due to bacteria or molds building up on its surface. Vinegar is an acid that has antimicrobial properties, making it a cheap option for treating microbial growth on grout. Dealing with these microbes often results in a whiter grout.
Pure white vinegar can kill microbes more quickly and effectively. However, the acidic nature of vinegar might corrode the grout with frequent use. To keep the grout in good condition, limit your use of pure vinegar to once every few months.
If you plan to use vinegar as part of your regular tile cleaning routine, it helps to dilute it in warm water first. Mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of water. If you need a bigger amount of liquid, use this ratio as a blueprint.
● Lemon Juice
If you find the smell of vinegar to be too strong, you can use lemon juice. It has antimicrobial properties that can help eliminate bacteria and molds from your tile grout. Its acidic nature also helps remove alkaline-based dirt, such as soap and toothpaste stains on the grout.
You can squeeze the juice directly on the surface that needs whitening. Alternatively, you can dilute it in tepid water in the following ratio: mix the juice from three lemons with one cup of water.
Although lemon juice works well as a cleaner alone, using it with baking soda can make an even more potent grout whitener. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda powder with the juice of one whole lemon until you get a gooey mixture.
2. Apply the Solution and Leave It for 10-20 Minutes
As mentioned, different solutions have varying levels of potency and effectiveness. Therefore, the amount of time required to expose the grout to different solutions also varies.
● Baking Soda Mixture
The alkalinity of the baking soda neutralizes the acidity of lemon juice or oxygen bleach, making it relatively safer to leave the mixture on the grout longer. Using a toothbrush, spread the paste evenly over the grout and let it sit for up to 20 minutes.
● Acidic Solution
When using pure white vinegar or lemon juice on the grout, you must limit the exposure to only 10 minutes. Pour the solution into the area that needs whitening and let it sit for the recommended duration. Rinse the area afterward, and reapply after 24 hours if necessary.
● Diluted Acidic Solution
On the other hand, when using a diluted acidic solution (like diluted white vinegar), you can leave the liquid on the grout for up to 20 minutes. Saturate the area with enough liquid using a spray bottle. This only works for grout on floor tiles, where the liquid can stay in place.
3. Rinse the Grout Thoroughly
After the recommended duration, scrub the grout using a sponge or a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles to remove the dirt and stains. You may want to avoid using hard bristles, as they can damage the grout. Spray some water on the area as you remove the dirt.
Avoid scrubbing the grout too much, and rinse the area thoroughly afterward. Keep in mind that you won’t see your grout whiten right away because grout naturally appears darker when wet.
4. Wipe or Air-Dry the Grout and Tiles
Using a clean piece of dry cloth, wipe the grout to remove as much water as possible. Allow the grout to dry completely before inspecting for improvement. When it is fully dry, you will easily see whether or not the cleaning solution effectively lightened the color.
Repeat the process as needed to maintain or whiten the grout further. Keep in mind that some solutions may need to be used less frequently to avoid weakening and wearing off your tile grout.
Dirt and stains can significantly darken your tile grout, leaving your tiles looking less attractive. Mold and bacterial growth can also persist in the grout, darkening it and posing health risks to your family. That’s why it’s necessary to clean your tiles regularly.
You can use simple and economical homemade solutions to clean and whiten grout. With adequate preparation and proper use, you can make your tile grout sparkling white again!