How to Clean White Grout on Kitchen Backsplash


A kitchen backsplash is a great way to add style, color, and personality to your kitchen. However, over time, the white grout between the tiles can start to look dingy and discolored. Regular cleaning and maintenance is key to keeping your white grout looking like new.

There are a few easy methods for cleaning white grout that don’t require harsh chemicals or a lot of time and effort. With a little bit of elbow grease and the right cleaning solutions, you can have your backsplash looking bright and fresh again. Read on to learn some of the most effective ways to clean white grout on your kitchen backsplash.

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, make sure you have the following supplies on hand:

  • Grout brush or old toothbrush – This helps scrub the grout lines.
  • Grout sealer (optional) – Sealing the grout will help protect it going forward.
  • Baking soda – A gentle abrasive that helps lift dirt.
  • White vinegar – Helps cut through grime.
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Old rags or paper towels
  • Rubber gloves – To protect your hands.
  • Eye protection (optional) – When using strong cleaners.

Cleaning Methods

Baking Soda and Vinegar

One of the most common homemade cleaners is baking soda and vinegar. The baking soda acts as a gentle scrubbing agent, while the vinegar helps dissolve soap scum, grime, and calcified deposits.

Here’s how to clean grout with this dynamic duo:

  1. Combine equal parts baking soda and vinegar in a bowl to form a spreadable paste.
  2. Using an old toothbrush or grout brush, apply the paste directly to the grout lines.
  3. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so the solution can work on breaking up dirt and stains.
  4. Scrub the grout gently in a circular motion to lift grime.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.

The natural effervescence from the baking soda and vinegar will help loosen discoloration without damaging the grout. Repeat as needed for stubborn areas.

Hydrogen Peroxide

As an alternative to vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is another household staple that can brighten dingy grout.

Follow these steps for cleaning grout with peroxide:

  1. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a spray bottle.
  2. Liberally spray the solution directly onto the grout lines.
  3. Let it dwell for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Scrub with a stiff grout brush or toothbrush.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

The oxygenating bubbles in the peroxide help whiten the grout and break up stubborn stains.

Baking Soda Paste

For a slightly more abrasive option, try making a baking soda paste. The coarse texture of the baking soda combined with just enough water to form a paste gives you some scrubbing power against dirt and discoloration.

Here’s how to mix up a batch:

  1. Add 1/2 cup baking soda to a small bowl.
  2. Slowly add water while mixing until a thick, spreadable paste forms. You don’t want the paste to be runny.
  3. Using your grout brush or an old toothbrush, apply the paste directly to the grout lines.
  4. Let it sit briefly before scrubbing in a circular motion.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

Repeat as needed for extra dirty grout. The baking soda paste is safe for most grout colors.

Steam Cleaner

For a deeper clean, consider using a handheld steam cleaner designed for grout and tiles. The high temperature steam helps sanitize the grout and break up stubborn dirt and stains.

Follow these steps when using a steam cleaner on backsplash grout:

  1. Fill the steam cleaner reservoir with distilled water per manufacturer instructions.
  2. Set the steam level to medium/high. Holding the nozzle a few inches away, apply steam directly to the grout lines for 5-10 seconds at a time.
  3. Use a grout brush to gently scrub while the grout is warm and moist.
  4. Wipe away any grime or dirty water with a clean cloth.
  5. Repeat as needed until grout appears clean.

Let the backsplash fully dry once finished steaming. The combination of steam and scrubbing disinfects the grout and leaves it looking freshly cleaned.

Grout Whitener

For quick touch-ups, you can also use a premixed grout whitener product. These typically come in pen or brush-on formulas. Simply apply the whitener directly to discolored areas of grout as needed to boost the white color. Follow manufacturer instructions for application and drying time.

Grout whitener pens provide an easy, mess-free option for spot cleaning. However, results are temporary and will require reapplication over time.

Tips for Ongoing Maintenance

  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent stains.
  • Sweep or vacuum the backsplash regularly to prevent dirt buildup in the grout.
  • Apply a penetrating grout sealer annually to protect grout from new stains.
  • Use a gentle grout brush and mild detergent for regular grout cleaning.
  • Re-caulk along the edges if cracked or missing caulk is allowing water underneath.
  • Consider re-sealing the grout every 1-2 years for optimal protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my backsplash grout?

For high traffic kitchens, aim to deep clean the grout every 1-2 months. For light use kitchens, every 3-6 months is sufficient.

What is the best grout sealant to use?

Look for a penetrating silicone-based sealer designed for grout. This will soak in and repel stains without creating a top coating that can peel.

Can I use bleach to clean my white grout?

Avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals like ammonia or acidic cleaners. They can degrade and discolor the grout over time. Stick to gentle cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, or mild dish soap.

Why does my white grout turn yellow?

Discoloration in white grout is typically caused by dirt buildup, grime in the kitchen, hard water deposits, or exposure to coloring agents like spices, coffee, or juices. Regular cleaning and sealing can prevent yellowing.

Should I regrout my backsplash?

If the grout is cracking, crumbling, or missing in spots, a full regrout is likely needed. But often you can restore discolored grout to like-new with a thorough deep clean instead.


Cleaning and maintaining white grout on a kitchen backsplash doesn’t require strong chemicals or a ton of effort. With the right techniques and cleaning solutions, you can easily remove stains and discoloration from grout lines and keep your backsplash looking bright white. Be sure to seal, regularly clean, and promptly wipe up spills to prevent recurring issues. Your beautiful backsplash will stay looking fresh for many years to come.