What to Use When Tile and Grout Cleaning

Tile and grout cleaning: four words that don't exactly instill excitement or inspiration to homeowners. But with the right tools and cleaning solutions, you can make the process a rewarding experience. You'll be glancing into your bathrooms more frequently to get a glimpse of your glimmering floors once the job is done.


Dirt and grime gradually accumulates in between tiles where the grout rests. With accumulation comes a dingy, dark look that brings down the brilliance of the tiles especially if they're as light in color as the grout. Before they even start to dull, however, it's likely that dirt is already gathering in the grout, even if you faithfully clean the tile each week with a traditional soft-bottom mop. Grout is typically recessed into the floor, according to Better Homes & Gardens, and needs a more focused scrubbing.


Grout isn't inherently smooth, and its rough texture makes it easy for dirt to cling onto the material. Your standard mop won't be able to break up and remove this dirt. You need the right tools to get deep into the grooves of the grout. Here are a few options to try:

  • A grout brush. This stiff-bristled brush is specifically designed for cleaning grout. Look for a brush that has very firm bristles though not hard enough to damage the floor itself, especially softer species of wood and, according to Cleaning Specialist Magazine, tapers to a 'V' so that the bristles can really get in between the tiles and attack dirt built up within the grout.
  • A tile and grout brush. This kind of tool usually has a long handle so you won't have to get on your hands and knees to get the job done. It's gentle enough to dislodge deeply embedded dirt in the tile (which has tiny grooves, too), but strong enough to activate and loosen dirt in the grout.
  • Scrubbing brush. Also designed for grout and tile, this is another long-handled tool that has a rectangular-shaped head with very strong bristles. These bristles can also stand up under long-term use and remove dirt on the floor and grout without causing damage to the tile.
  • Triangular brush. You may find this shape of grout brush in your local home-improvement store. The long end of the triangle edge has a narrow brush designed to move back and forth across the grout, whereas the opposing edges of the triangle make great handles.

Choosing Tile Cleaners

For the best results when tile and grout cleaning, choose cleaners wisely. Murphy® Oil Soap and other non-synthetic solutions are safe to use on tile and grout without wearing down either one, but other natural solutions include rubbing alcohol, particularly for more set spots of mildew. Fill a spray bottle with your solution and apply it where it's needed. It's also possible to replicate commercial grout cleaner on your own: Combine two parts water with two parts hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle.

No matter what cleaner you use, apply the solution to the grout and tile and let it rest for a few minutes before scrubbing. Then, go to town with an appropriate tile and grout cleaning tool. The results are a brilliant, sparkling floor and clean grout that'll bring a smile to your face.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.