The Best Grout Cleaners of 2020

Updated
Categories Hard Floors, Tiles
Clean between the lines with these seven products.

Tiled floors are widely loved and used in bathrooms and kitchens. They’re easy to clean and also easy on the eyes. But cleaning the space between tiles can prove to be challenging.

Are you beginning to notice grime in the grout of your tiled floors or walls? This is a common problem in kitchens and bathrooms. However, if not tackled quickly, the mold can stain or be absorbed by unsealed grout, creating even more of a maintenance issue.

To effectively clean this troublesome area, you need a grout cleaner, a brush and some elbow grease.


Cleaning Grout Lines

The best way to get rid of grout grime is by using a specialized grout brush and a suitable cleaner. Whether it’s the bathroom floor or kitchen walls, it’s crucial to get into this area.

A grout brush is small but has rough bristles. The small size makes it the perfect tool for this small area. They come in various shapes and sizes but look for one with a comfortable handle; you’ll need to exert some pressure while cleaning.

How Often Should You Clean the Grout?

Deep-cleaning the grout isn’t an everyday task. It is, however, essential to look out for mold or mildew as these tend to build up in these areas. They can trigger illness in allergic individuals (1).

How often the grout requires cleaning depends on the area’s exposure to moisture. So bathroom tiles, whether floor or wall, tend to need a scrub more often.

Ultimately, a good rule of thumb is to clean the grout when it’s beginning to look discolored or dirty.

The Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some top tips when it comes to cleaning grout:

  1. Use an alkaline solution.
  2. Avoid oil- or wax-based cleaners.
  3. Seal your grout.

1. Alkaline Solution

According to the Tile Council of North America, the best way to clean grout is with an alkaline solution (2). Some people might recommend you use either baking soda or vinegar to tackle the stains. However, experts highly advise against this.

Grout is mainly a mixture of sand and cement. Sand is, for the most part, unaffected by cleaners, but cement is alkaline-based and will dissolve if exposed to acids. Baking soda and vinegar are both high in acids, making them an unfit solution to grout cleaning (3).

2. Oil and Wax-Based Cleaners

Unsealed grout can absorb soap and stains, making them tough to remove. Therefore, to avoid staining, you should stay away from oil- or wax-based cleaners since these will leave a thin film behind.

Any soap for that matter could stain, so it’s important to wash the area off with water afterward.

3. Seal Your Grout

If you have unsealed grout, you might want to consider sealing them. This isn’t a difficult job; you should be able to do it yourself without any problems. Some grout cleaners also work as a resealer.

How to Find the Best Grout Cleaners

Finding the right cleaner requires a few tests and some consideration. For instance, the efficiency and safety levels of the cleaner are key points to think about.

Cleaner Efficiency

When we talk about an efficient grout cleaner, we mean one that does the job quickly and is easy to use. Depending on what you prefer, there are various applications available.

  • Direct application: Some products allow you to spray the solution directly onto the troubled area conveniently. Then, you can either scrub or wipe the grime away.
  • Concentrate: Other products are highly concentrated. This means you have to make a solution of the product and water. These come with instructions as to how much soap per gallons or quarts of water you use.

The next thing to consider when determining the efficiency of a product is time. How long does the formula have to sit? Does it require a lot of scrubbing that results in a more extended session? The most efficient formula will work quickly as it’s applied and won’t need too hard a scrub.

Safety Is Paramount

Even if you choose a product marked “safe” or with a low pH level, it’s still crucial to stay protected.

  • Wear safety gear: Grout cleaners are generally considered harsh chemicals. You should, therefore, wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles and masks.
  • Correct storage: Some formulas have to be stored at a specific temperature and away from direct sunlight. These are also things to consider when choosing a storage spot.

Stay Safe

Always store cleaners out of reach from children and pets. Choose higher locations such as overhead cabinets, or keep the products in a locked cabinet.

The Best Grout Cleaners of 2020

After testing out products and viewing reviews from real customers, we’ve created our list of the best grout cleaners.

1. Grout Cleaner and Whitener by ZEP

Best Brightener

ZEP Grout Cleaner and Whitener 32 oz. (Case of 4)
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When you need to give your bathroom floor a deep clean, ZEP has you covered. Its grout cleaner will lift dirt, mold, mildew and restore your floors to nearly new condition.

The product contains a professional strength of acids, making it a worthy contender against the grime. Rust stains can be a common problem in some regions of the bathroom, and they can seem impossible to get off. However, this potent formula is designed to get rid of these problems with little to no scrubbing.

A small hole in the top makes the ZEP convenient to use. It also minimizes potential exposure since all you have to do is pour a small amount in the area needed.

Still, the strong formula does mean you have to take a few precautions when using the product. For one, it’s crucial that you wear protective gloves. ZEP also advises you wear long sleeves and pants to avoid any exposure.

PROS:
  • Brightens grout lines and tiles.
  • Doesn’t require rough scrubbing.
  • Safe for colored grout.
  • Convenient squirt top.
CONS:
  • Very “aggressive” product. The strong formula might not suit every homeowner.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseTiles, grout
FormLiquid
Container TypePour bottle
BrandZEP Professional
Kills MoldNo

2. Soft Scrub Gel Cleanser

Best for Multiple Surfaces

Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleaner Gel, 28.6 Fluid Ounces
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Having one cleaning product that can do all tough surfaces such as grout and stovetops can save time and money. This all-around gel can take on both the kitchen and bathroom.

It contains bleach but is non-abrasive, so it won’t harm anything except dirt. A great thing about the gel is that it’s fast-working. The opening is a convenient squeeze top that allows you to apply the product more carefully.

Apply it straight onto the surface or to a damp sponge. Give it a little rub and rinse it off. If the stain is a little tougher, allow the formula to soak for no longer than a minute, then scrub.

Because of the bleach, it’s crucial you don’t get any of the product on clothes, carpet or fabrics. Prolonged exposure to materials like metal and plastic can also cause discoloration. If you’re unsure about an area, do a small test run in an inconspicuous place first.

PROS:
  • Multiple purposes.
  • Non-abrasive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Fast-working.
CONS:
  • Strong odor.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseTiles, grout, kitchen countertops, stovetops
FormGel
Container TypeSqueeze bottle
BrandSoft Scrub
Kills MoldYes

3. Complete Mold Killer by RMR

Best Against Mold

RMR Brands Complete Mold Killer & Stain Remover Bundle - Mold and Mildew Prevention Kit, Disinfectant Spray, Bathroom Cleaner, Includes 2-32 Ounce Bottles
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Mold and mildew can quickly build up within grout lines, especially in bathrooms due to the moisture. It’s crucial to get rid of these fungi since they can trigger allergies and asthma.

This formula from RMR was explicitly made to kill mold and mildew. It acts within 15 seconds of application, and unless the mold is severe, you won’t need to scrub.

The spray can be used anywhere around the house. Mildew is often found around wooded areas and even drywall. Give it a few sprays and say goodbye to the problem.

With this product, you can effectively remove and prevent mold from returning in three steps. First, spray the troubled area and wipe it off. Then allow it to dry. Once it’s dry, follow up with a couple more sprays and allow the formula to dry completely.

PROS:
  • Kills and prevents mold and mildew.
  • Works on multiple surfaces.
  • Fast-acting.
  • Easy application.
CONS:
  • Overpowering odor.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseTiles, grout, wood, drywall, ceilings
FormLiquid
Container TypeSpray bottle
BrandRMR Brands
Kills MoldYes
Related Reading
Moldy smell on clothesThe Best Substances and Methods to Get Rid of Mold Smell 

4. The Floor Guys Grout-EEZ

Best Cleaner with Brush

IT JUST Works! Grout-EEZ Super Heavy Duty Tile & Grout Cleaner and Whitener. Quickly Destroys Dirt & Grime. Safe for All Grout. Easy to Use. 2 Pack with Free Stand-Up Brush. The Floor Guys…
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The most effective way to clean grout is by using a strong formula and a specialized brush. This duo gives you exactly what you need; you get two 1-quart bottles of cleaner and a brush.

The Grout-EEZ formula is a two-in-one that can clean grout lines as well as grease, soap residue and tiles. After getting rid of stains, the solution will brighten the area, making it look fresh and nearly new again. It can also be used on porcelain, ceramic and subway tiles, but it shouldn’t be applied to natural stone.

You get a convenient tough brush to get into the grout lines. The brush is angled with pointed ends, making it an easy fit in small lines.

Having to bend down to scrub the floor can be very tiring. However, the brush can be attached to any broomstick you might have lying around.

PROS:
  • Easy to use.
  • You only need a small amount.
  • Angled brush included.
  • Two-in-one cleaner.
CONS:
  • Brush works better by hand.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseKitchen and bathroom grout
FormLiquid
Container TypeBottle
BrandThe Floor Guys
Kills MoldNot specified

5. Zero Splash Bleach Pen by Clorox

Best Quick-Fix

Clorox Bleach Pen Gel, 4 Pens
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We don’t all have time to scrub grout lines, so when we need the job done quickly, this pen could help. Clorox has come up with a genius way of tidying dirty grout minutes before guests arrive.

Unlike other grout pens, this one treats the stains instead of merely covering them up.

You get four pens in the packet, and they’re easy to use. Each one has two ends; one is a thin point that applies the bleach in even the smallest crevices. The other end is a broad scrubber to rough the stains. When you’re done, wipe the area clean or rinse with water.

Clorox is a well-known brand for its laundry bleach. And yes, these bleach pens can be used on white garments as well, but not while wearing them!

PROS:
  • Quick.
  • Usable on grout and garments.
  • Compact design.
  • Precise.
CONS:
  • It’s tricky to see how much of the product is coming out.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseTiles, grout, household areas, garments
FormLiquid
Container TypePen
BrandClorox
Kills MoldNot specified

6. Mapei Grout Refresh

Best Cleaner for Colored Grout

Mapei Grout Refresh Colorant and Sealer: Grout Paint and Cleaner - 8 Ounce Bottle, Ivory
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Grout stains can sometimes become too hard to handle. But instead of replacing it, you can give it a refreshed look.

To give new life to old grout, this product colors and seals it. Sealed grout is less likely to stain and is also less prone to mold and mildew.

When you purchase, choose a color to match your grout. The product is available in 14 shades, so you can easily match it precisely. Customers have been pleased with how well the color stays put even with daily cleaning.

Although the product is water-based, it’s still important to handle it with care because it contains some harsh chemicals. Apply it directly to the area and use a brush to cover the desired lines.

PROS:
  • Seals grout.
  • Restores and rejuvenates old-looking tiles.
  • Wide range of colors available.
  • Easy application.
CONS:
  • Requires a long time.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseCeramic and porcelain tiles
FormLiquid
Container TypeBottle
BrandMapei
Kills MoldNo

7. CLR Bath and Kitchen Cleaner

Best Biodegradable Formula

CLR Brilliant Bath, Fresh Scent Foaming Action Cleaner, 26 Ounce Spray Bottle
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If you’re reluctant about using harsh chemicals when cleaning grout, this product might be what you need. This convenient spray is an all-purpose cleaner made to get rid of tough stains, calcium and limescale.

It can be used anywhere around the kitchen and bathroom, such as showerheads, faucets, sinks, tiles and grout.

As you apply the formula, it foams and quickly lifts build-up and stains. You can then wipe it off to reveal a clean surface. Adamant stains may require the formula to sit for a minute or redo the area until the desired result is reached.

The biodegradable formula is gentle on surfaces but tough on stains. It’s certified by EPA’s Safer Choice Program, and it doesn’t contain any bleach, ammonia or phosphates. Because it’s biodegradable, you won’t have to feel guilty about using it; it’s safe for the environment.

Other formulas are notorious for having a strong odor that can be overpowering. This spray, however, has a fresh scent that won’t leave you gasping for air.

PROS:
  • Safe for the environment.
  • All-purpose cleaner.
  • EPA-certified.
  • Safe on multiple surfaces.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t kill mold.

Additional Specs

Recommended UseKitchen and bathroom surfaces
FormLiquid, foam
Container TypeSpray bottle
BrandCLR
Kills MoldNo

Detailed Comparison

ProductAwardRecommended UseFormBottle TypeKills Mold
ZEP WhitenerBest BrightenerTiles, groutLiquidPourNo
Soft Scrub GelBest For Multiple SurfacesTiles, grout, kitchen countertops, stovetopsGelSqueezeYes
RMR Mold KillerBest Against MoldTiles, grout, wood, drywall, ceilingsLiquidSprayYes
The Floor GuysBest with BrushKitchen and bathroom groutLiquidBottleN/A
Clorox ZeroBest Quick-FixTiles, grout, household areas, garmentsLiquidPenN/A
Mapei RefreshBest For Colored GroutCeramic and porcelain tilesLiquidBottleNo
CLR CleanerBest BiodegradableKitchen and bathroom surfacesLiquid, foamSprayNo
Jump to the Full Grout Cleaner Reviews

No More Scrubbing

Cleaning grout isn’t an easy job, and most people end up with a sore back. Fortunately, the task can be made easier with effective grout cleaners and a good brush.

Finding the right formula for you might take some testing. An efficient cleaner is fast-acting and requires minimal scrubbing.

How do you clean your grout lines? Leave a comment in the section below.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!
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