No matter how hard you try to prevent mildew and mildew from setting in, white grout ends up getting dirty and discolored, especially in corners and along ledges where water collects. This is where you need a good grout cleaner. Nothing is a faster facelift for your bathroom than restoring stained grout to a clean, shiny condition.
When the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab tests bathroom cleaning and grout products, we rate how easily and quickly they cut dirty grout lines on our ceramic tile and marble test panels. We review labeling and instructions to verify completeness and required safety precautions and assess product ease of application and rinsing. Then consumer testers take them home to clean up soap scum and mold-stained grout in their own showers that you just can’t duplicate in a lab.
Here are the best products for cleaning grout according to the tests of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab:
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Best overall grout cleaner
Foaming Bath and Kitchen Cleaner
We swear by CLR Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner, which cleans up stained grout quickly – and bleach-free. Simply spray, leave on for a few minutes, rub, rinse and you will see the coulis whiten as it dries. It also dissolves soap scum and hard water stains on sinks, tubs and shower doors. Your shower will be so clean that you won’t be able to stop admiring it.
- EPA Safer Choice certified
- Recommended only for white grout
Best gel grout cleaner
Bleach cleansing gel
The gentle scrub with bleach cleansing gel is ideal for large, flat surfaces (like floors, counters, or tub rims) because its pointed nozzle makes dispensing easy and targets your application where it’s needed. Run it straight along the grout lines, let sit for a few minutes, brush and rinse. And because it’s a gel, it stays where you place it to better penetrate dirty grout and bleach stains, instead of flowing like liquids can. Use this non-abrasive gel formula to clean and remove stains from counters, sinks, tubs and more.
- Whitens stains
- Rinses easily
Best long-lasting grout cleaner
24 hour bathroom cleaner
Not only does this new bathroom cleaner kill germs on the spot, it continues to work for up to 24 hours, even after repeatedly touching surfaces. It’s peace of mind for busy households knowing that surfaces stay cleaner, longer. And not only does it wash away soap scum and whiten the grout, but after cleaning, thoroughly wet the surface with another coat of spray and let it air dry. Repeat every seven days to prevent mold and mildew from coming back.
- Sanitizes surfaces for up to 24 hours
- Prevents mold growth for up to seven days
Best Antibacterial Grout Cleaner
Tilex anti-mold spray
Tilex practically wrote the book on cleaning grout and this latest formula not only whitens grout and removes stains, but kills 99.9% of mold and germs and bacteria, too, in just five minutes. Simply spray the grout, allow the formula to penetrate and rinse. In most cases, no friction is necessary. The Smart Tube Technology bottle is very innovative, where a special tube inside runs along the side of the bottle to suck up every drop for less waste.
- Kills germs
- Cleans without rubbing
- Vapors can be bothersome
- May discolor fabrics
Best marble grout cleaner
If you have marble in your bathroom or granite tile floors in your entryway, you probably already know that most traditional bathroom cleaners and grouts are not recommended for use on these stone surfaces, because the chemicals they contain can etch natural stone. Granite Gold is a company that has its roots in manufacturing and restoring stone surfaces, so they know a thing or two about how to properly maintain them. Granite Gold Grout Cleaner is formulated without acid or ammonia, two ingredients that can damage the stone. It is also safe for porcelain, ceramic and glass tiles and for use on food contact surfaces, such as tile counters.
- Safe to use on natural stone
- Works on white and colored grout
- May not be as effective on heavily soiled grout
Best grout stain cleaner
The handy Clorox Gel Pen Bleach makes spot cleaning easy. Just pour some gel through the wide end of the pen, scrub with the built-in brush and rinse. Keep one in your laundry room to remove clothing stains and one in each bathroom to remove mold.
- Can be applied directly to stains
- Has a scrub brush tip
Best Grout Cleaning Brush
Smart Scrub Heavy-Duty Grout Brush
The robust Casabella Smart Scrub grout brush triangular shaped head for easy access to corner grout lines. Plus, the stiff bristles won’t bend under pressure, the soft grip makes it comfortable to hold, and the double-sided design allows cleaning in any direction. Our GH cleaning lab loves it so much that they just named it one of our 2020 Best Cleaning Products award winners. Now you can ditch the toothbrush for good!
- Robust bristles
- Double sided for better coverage
How to choose the best grout cleaner
It may seem like all grout cleaners are created equal, but that’s not necessarily the case. When choosing the best cleaner for the location of your dirty grout, keep the following points in mind:
- Consider the spots. Bleach is a great bleach and germ killer, so if your grout is heavily stained with mold and mildew, a strong cleaner that contains bleach will be your best bet and probably requires the least amount of scrubbing. . If you’re cleaning floor tile grout that’s just dirty or discolored, or you’re meticulous about drying the shower every day and only have occasional stains, a milder formula should suffice.
- Think about the safety of the surface. Read the label before purchasing a grout cleaner to make sure it can be used safely on the surfaces you are going to clean. Some are only suitable for white, uncolored grout, and others may damage adjacent natural stone tiles, such as marble or granite.
- Choose your form. Sprays and foams are easy to apply, but may run or drip onto vertical surfaces before the job is finished, meaning you may need to reapply. And the vapors can be irritating to some, especially when used in small spaces. Thick gels stay in place for a longer contact time, but may take more effort to rinse.
How to prevent mold in the first place
Because cleaning up dirty grout takes a lot of elbow grease, there are steps you can take to keep friction to a minimum. Our Good Housekeeping Institute cleaning lab recommends these preventative measures to help keep mold at bay:
- Open a window in the shower and, if you have one, run an exhaust fan. Removing as much heat and humidity as possible from the room minimizes the hot, humid conditions that mold needs to grow.
- Raclette tiles and better yet, dry them with a towel when the shower is done for the day. Investing a few minutes a day will save hours of washing and even extend the time between deep cleaning needs.
- Keep the grout sealed to prevent moisture and stains from penetrating the surface. Sealed grout is easier to clean and keep clean.
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