How to Clean Backsplash Grout


Keeping your backsplash grout clean is an important part of maintaining your kitchen or bathroom. Over time, grout can become stained and discolored from food, dirt, grime, and mold. Cleaning your grout not only keeps it looking fresh, but also helps prevent damaging mold and mildew growth. Fortunately, cleaning grout is a straightforward process that can be done using common household ingredients.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about keeping your backsplash grout sparkling clean. We will go over tips for preventing stains and dirt buildup, walk through step-by-step cleaning methods using a variety of DIY solutions, and provide advice for keeping grout clean long-term. With a little effort, you can easily restore dirty and dingy grout back to its original bright, uniform appearance.

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, you will need to gather a few supplies:

  • Grout brush or old toothbrush – For scrubbing the grout lines
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning solutions – Such as baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, commercial grout cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Rubber gloves – Optional for hand protection

Preventing Dirt and Stains

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to grout cleaning. Here are some tips to help keep your grout free of grime:

  • Sweep or vacuum your floor regularly to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining.
  • Use caulk in corners and along edges to seal the grout. This prevents moisture from seeping underneath.
  • Apply a grout sealer annually. Sealers create a protective barrier.
  • Control humidity levels. Excess moisture leads to mildew growth.
  • Clean grout routinely to prevent deeply set stains.

How to Clean Grout

There are several effective methods for cleaning dirty grout. Choose your preferred technique based on the severity of staining.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

For light cleaning, basic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar often do the trick. The baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive scrub, while the vinegar breaks down grime.

How to:

  1. Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Spread paste onto stained grout with a grout brush or old toothbrush.
  2. Let paste sit for 5 minutes. This gives the baking soda time to break down dirt.
  3. Spray vinegar onto the grout and allow it to bubble for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Scrub with brush to work paste into grout. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Check for any remaining stains and repeat if needed. Wipe area dry with a cloth.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The bubbly reaction of hydrogen peroxide is great for lifting stains. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first, as hydrogen peroxide may lighten some grout colors.

How to:

  1. Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly onto stained grout. Let bubble for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Scrub with a stiff bristle brush to work peroxide into grout.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
  4. For extra cleaning power, make a paste with baking soda and peroxide.

Commercial Grout Cleaner

For heavy-duty grout cleaning, a commercial-grade cleaner is often the most effective option. Look for cleaners designed specifically for grout.

How to:

  1. Sweep or vacuum grout first to remove loose dirt.
  2. Apply grout cleaner onto grout lines as directed on label. Avoid getting cleaner on surrounding surfaces.
  3. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so cleaner can penetrate grout. Reapply if needed.
  4. Scrub with grout brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.
  5. Wipe away excess moisture with a clean cloth. Allow grout to fully dry.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning uses hot vapor to sanitize and deep clean grout. Renting a steam cleaner from your local hardware store is an easy option.

How to:

  1. Vacuum or sweep grout to pre-treat any dirt buildup.
  2. Treat any extremely stubborn stains with a grout cleaner first.
  3. Run steam cleaner over grout according to manufacturer’s directions. Work steam into lines.
  4. Wipe down with a dry cloth once completed. Allow grout to fully dry.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew require stronger disinfecting solutions. Bleach or oxygen bleach cleaners work best.

How to clean with bleach:

  1. Mix 1 part bleach to 4 parts water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray mixture onto affected grout. Let sit 10 minutes.
  3. Scrub with a stiff nylon brush. Rinse thoroughly. Allow to dry.

How to clean with oxygen bleach:

  1. Create a paste using oxygen bleach powder and just enough water to make a spreadable paste.
  2. Apply paste onto moldy grout with an old toothbrush.
  3. Let paste sit for 4-6 hours, then rinse clean. Oxygen bleach continues working even once rinsed away.

Tips for After Cleaning

Once your grout is freshly cleaned, here are some tips for keeping it looking its best:

  • Squeegee shower walls after use to prevent water spots.
  • Consider applying a stain-resistant sealer, which adds a protective barrier.
  • Spot clean spills and stains quickly to prevent buildup.
  • Limit moisture exposure by running a bathroom fan during and after showering.
  • Allow grout to dry completely before applying any sealers for maximum effectiveness.

When to Regrout

In extreme cases of heavy staining or erosion, grout may be beyond cleaning and need replacing. Signs it’s time to regrout:

  • Missing or cracked grout
  • Pitting, crumbling, or washing out of grout
  • Failed attempts at cleaning with multiple methods
  • Visible mold or mildew that won’t wash away
  • Discoloration that can’t be removed

Regrouting requires scraping out old grout and replacing with new. This more extensive process may be best left to professionals.


How often should I clean grout?

  • Clean grout about once a month for high traffic areas like kitchens. Less frequent cleaning is needed in lower use areas like guest bathrooms.

What is the easiest way to clean grout?

  • For routine maintenance, mixing baking soda and vinegar is often the simplest grout cleaning method with ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Can I use bleach on colored grout?

  • Avoid bleach on colored grout, as it can discolor or lighten it. Use oxygen bleach cleaners instead as a safer bleach alternative.

Is it better to seal or not seal grout?

  • Sealing is recommended to protect porous grout from stains. Reapply sealer once a year or as directed on label.

Can dirty grout make you sick?

  • Mold and mildew growth in dirty grout can pose health risks. Be sure to disinfect any moldy grout properly with bleach or anti-microbial cleaners.


Cleaning and maintaining your backsplash grout does not need to be a daunting or time-consuming chore. With the right techniques and solutions, you can easily banish dirt and stains from your grout. Be sure to clean grout regularly to prevent buildup. Spot clean spills right away to avoid permanent discoloration. And treat mold promptly before it spreads. With the proper care, your backsplash grout can stay looking new and bright for years to come.