Seeking A Peaceful & Safe Grout Cleaner- If one exists

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Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2023
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Detroit, MI
Hi All!

Our house has several tiled floors with white grout- well, used to be white... Some's sanded grout & some isn't.

Between my dog and I, the grout is now far from white. We're the kings of mess making!
I've tried cleanser, scrub brush, green nylon scrub pads, vinegar & hydrogen peroxide. Also failed were dish soap, shampoo and laundry detergent.

The challenge is that, due to respiratory challenges of a member of the household, I can't use chlorine bleach nor can I use acids stronger than white vinegar, such as sulfamic acid grout cleaner. The person can't leave the house during use, nor is ventilation adequate.

Therefore, do any of you have suggestions for a people-friendly way to get the grout white again?

Thanks For Sharing Your Knowledge!
We just dealt with this at our house. The sure proof method we've found is liquid bleach. Yes, you are correct, it is harmful to the lungs. We will next try Comet (dried bleach) where once it is wet, doesn't emit that toxic smell. Other things we are trying is a Simple Green product, or an Orange Cleaner, but I expect them to not work as well.

Just to add, I received a set of bristle brushes that attach to battery powered drills, which really work quick and well for scrubbing floors.
Thanks Havasu for taking time to reply with good suggestions. I appreciate your help. The citrus products that you mentioned sound promising. I never thought of them for this. Citrus oil certainly works magic on lots of things.

The brush set that you linked looks like it would come in very handy. I look forward to trying the brushes on lots of things, including the grout.

To find out how deep the grout was discolored, I took an old carbide tipped scoring tool (similar to a cement board tool) and dug in on some test joints. The dirt is fairly shallow in some areas and very deep in others; indicating that my dog and I are truly expert mess makers!

If your cleaning ideas don't work, I'll re-grout where needed. (Especially near where I make coffee. Who'd a thunk it?)

Removing grout isn't too tedious with a carbide blade in an oscillating tool. (I bought some blades on Temu for a brick project for $1.52 US each. They lasted a very long time on brick and mortar.)

Thanks Again For Inspiration!
I have to add, those brushes were a gag gift to me for my birthday last year, from my daughter, since she complains that I am hard to buy for, and I have everything I need. Those brushes have become my daily go-to for scrubbing floors, cleaning bbq's, and while shampooing my car carpeting.
Late Update (In case someone wants to clean grout without using dangerous stuff); below's what I did to clean the grout without killing any brain cells or wrecking any lungs.

While scrubbing a machine part for welding with Bar Keeper's Friend, Divine inspiration struck....
A) Washed the floor with water & let it dry

B) Mixed Bar Keeper's Friend powder with hydrogen peroxide to about the consistency of melting ice cream.
I wear a dust mask when handling any powder. I also wear rubber gloves with Bar Keeper's Friend.

C) Smeared the paste gently onto the grout with a thin, stiff, nylon bristle brush. (Like a toothbrush for a crocodile)

D) Took an ice cream break for about 10 minutes while the magic paste did its magic.

E) Brushed the lines back-and-forth very lightly with the nylon brush. It didn't take much brushing.

F) Rinsed well & let it dry

G) Painted hydrogen peroxide on with a flux brush & let it stand for 10 or so minutes

H) Rinsed with water & let it dry

I) Wanting more whitening in the coffee stained lines, I painted hydrogen peroxide again on the lines and let it dry
Actually, I painted all of the lines with hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and to evenly whiten. Necessary? Beats me.

J) Took another ice cream break

It worked great on the white grout. Really tough spots, such as where I spill instant coffee powder, needed some gentle scrubbing.
The whole project would have gone much faster if I had remembered to order the great brush kit that Havasu linked!

What I have not yet figured out is how to prevent me from tracking it all up again! (My dog buddy will wipe his feet at the back door. I, however, have to remember to tell him to do it. Old boys can't lear new tricks- but dogs sure can!)

Thanks Again Havasu for your great suggestions. They are what got me creative about this seemingly impossible task.

I want to know what kind of ice cream you had?
Now, while the grout lines are clean, is the time to apply clear sealer over them.
You can use various tools, including an artists’ brush, to paint it on the grout lines.
Comes in flat, matte, low gloss, or high gloss
It keeps the grout from absorbing stains or dirt.
Now, while the grout lines are clean, is the time to apply clear sealer over them.
You can use various tools, including an artists’ brush, to paint it on the grout lines.
Comes in flat, matte, low gloss, or high gloss
It keeps the grout from absorbing stains or dirt.
Thanks for the great suggestion, Jeff!
Hi Paul,

Dealing with stained grout can be quite a challenge, especially without being able to use harsh chemicals. Here's what I've found helpful in similar situations:

Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste. Apply it to the grout lines, let it sit for a while, then scrub with a soft brush or sponge. This can help lift stains gently.
Hydrogen Peroxide: You've already tried this, but sometimes leaving hydrogen peroxide on the grout for a longer period before scrubbing can enhance its effectiveness.
Steam Cleaning: If you have access to a steam cleaner, it can be effective in loosening grime from grout without using chemicals.
Oxygenated Bleach: Look for oxygenated bleach products that are chlorine-free and safe for household use. They can be effective in whitening grout.
Professional Cleaning Services: Consider hiring professional cleaners who use eco-friendly or people-friendly cleaning solutions. They often have equipment and products that can tackle tough grout stains safely.

Hope one of these methods helps get your grout back to white without compromising anyone's health!

Best of luck!
I’ve been in the same boat with my dog making a mess. I found using a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide works pretty well. Make a paste, apply it to the grout, let it sit for a bit, then scrub with a brush. It’s not super harsh and doesn’t have strong fumes.
Thanks Very Much Gracemoore030 & Fawana for wonderful suggestions!

I tested you guys' baking soda and peroxide, with a longer time before rinsing as Grace suggested. It worked as well as, or better than, my Bar Keeper's Friend trials. The best part was rinsing baking soda was a whole lot easier than Bar Keeper's.

I had never thought of oxygen bleach or steam cleaning. Both make very good sense. I'll try the oxygen bleach on the next area. I'd never heard of it before you mentioned it, Grace. (My favorite name- my wife's) It sounds like a good product to have around. Maybe I'll mess around with a steam cleaner, too. I forgot how well steam cleans stuff.

Thanks Again & Thanks Again Jeff & Havasu. I look forward to happy grout!


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