7 Best Tile Grout Cleaners of 2024, Tested by Experts

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7 Best Tile Grout Cleaners of 2024, Tested by Experts

Whether your bathroom is big and beautiful or small and cozy, falling behind on cleaning the floor and shower tile grout can make even the most spa-like space feel dank and dingy. When you have tile surfaces in your home, a great grout cleaner should be a key component of your cleaning kit. And while some are formulated to work solely on grout, others are more versatile and tackle hard water stains, soap scum and more.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, tests hundreds of floor-cleaning, dishwashing and stain-zapping products every year. Our experts have spent thousands of hours researching and testing everything you need to keep your home sparkling, including the top tools to clean toilets. And while we do have ceramic and marble tile test floors in the Lab with very dirty grout lines, the best way to see how well grout cleaners will work in real life is to use them on naturally-stained floors and showers. So, we enlist GH staffers and consumer testers to use them at home and provide us with feedback via an evaluation survey. In the Lab, we also assess how easy each product is to use and the completeness and accuracy of the labels.

Following our product recommendations, you'll find more about how we test tile grout cleaners, answers to some frequently asked questions, and why to trust Good Housekeeping's recommendations. Looking for more ways to keep floor tiles clean? Check out our guides to the best mops and the more high tech and hands-off robot mops.

CLR's cleaning products consistently impress in our GH Cleaning Lab tests. We recommend the brand's powerful rust remover and disposal cleaner, but this foaming bath cleaner was one of the first products we came to love from the brand because it performs so well cleaning grout, tile, chrome and other bathroom surfaces. We've even included it in our lists of the best shower cleaners and best bathroom cleaners.

All this cleaner needs is two to three minutes and a light scrub to work its magic on dirty grout and even tub caulking. In fact, you'll actually see the grout continue to whiten as it dries. And one of our Cleaning Lab testers raved, "My shower grout was so bright and clean afterward, I couldn't stop admiring it."

CLR Brilliant Bath is EPA Safer Choice Certified which means every ingredient in the formula has been evaluated by the EPA and deemed safer for consumers and the environment. And while it's great at removing stains from white grout, the manufacturer does not recommend using it on colored grout to avoid removing the hue.

If mold and mildew stains are your nemesis, CLR's Mold and Mildew Stain Remover can help. It performed well in our tests and was so well received by our consumer testers that it earned a spot in a previous Best Cleaning and Organizing Awards feature. And it works well beyond the bathroom. Our testers used this cleaner to remove stains from items like a shower curtain rod, painted garage trim and even vinyl on a boat that had been in storage for months. Our boat-cleaning tester raved, "I practically sailed through cleaning it without hard scrubbing."

The foaming spray is EPA Safer Choice Certified and doesn't require much elbow grease to work, proving that a formula doesn't have to be harsh to be effective. Best of all, it's unscented and produced no uncomfortable fumes when it was dispensed.

Take note that if you have mold in your bathroom, CLR won't kill the spores that are already there or prevent stains from reappearing, but it will help brighten your grout quickly and easily. The foam is also not as clingy as some other formulas, so it's best to work quickly when cleaning tile walls or other vertical surfaces.

Read the labels of most traditional grout cleaners and you'll find that most caution against using them on natural stone surfaces — like marble and granite — two very popular materials for bathroom tiles and countertops. Granite Gold's cleaner is formulated without chemicals that could etch natural stone (like ammonia and acid).

Granite Gold comes with a handy grout cleaning brush, and in our tests, the combo worked well to freshen and clean lightly soiled grout. But the milder ingredients might not be as effective on very dirty grout. So if your tiles or trim are made of marble or other natural stone, it's best to stay ahead of cleaning to help keep mold and mildew from building up. Granite Gold also makes a full line of stone surface cleaners, sealers and polishes to care for stone surfaces across your home. This grout cleaner is safe for porcelain, ceramic and glass tile and for use on food contact surfaces, like tile countertops.

Cleaning a surface is great, but as soon as it is touched, bacteria returns. Good Housekeeping Seal-holder Microban 24-Hour Bathroom Cleaner not only kills germs on the spot, but it also keeps working for up to 24 hours, even after surfaces are repeatedly touched. In our tests, not only was it an effective cleaner on all bathroom surfaces — including grout — but its ability to disinfect and keep surfaces cleaner longer means you'll have to scrub less often.

To help prevent mold and mildew growth, spray until the surface is thoroughly wet and allow it to air dry. You'll only have to repeat this process every seven days to halt mold and mildew growth on hard surfaces, so you can go longer without having to give your grout a deep clean.

Unlike other bathroom cleaners, Microban 24 Hour works on soft surfaces too, like shower curtains, protecting them for up to 28 days from mold and mildew. One caveat: Though the smell didn't bother us, some reviewers online found it too strong.

While many cleaners can remove mildew stains from the surface of the grout, they may not be able to kill the mold and mildew spores that survive deeper, which can cause stains to return. This Mold and Mildew Remover from Tilex works with bleach to both whiten away stains and kill 99.9% of mold, mildew and bacteria — in just five minutes.

Online, it's a fan favorite with reviewer comments like "Great," "Mind blown," and "10+ stars." Our experts are fans of this cleaner, too, recommending it in our guide to removing black mold from your home.

It's easy to use: Just spray the grout, let the formula penetrate for a few minutes and rinse. In most cases, there's no scrubbing needed. Like other household cleaners with bleach, this bathroom cleaner can discolor fabrics and has a strong bleach smell some might find bothersome.

You can finally ditch the toothbrush and use a tool specifically designed for getting into the tight grout lines between tiles. With two sides of bristles and a triangular head, it makes it easy to clean vertically, horizontally and into corner grout lines. We loved the stiff bristles that don't bend under pressure and the handle's soft grip that makes it comfortable to hold. In fact, one GH tester who has used this brush for several years says, "It's much sturdier than other grout brushes I've used, and the bristles don't bend easily." Pair this tool with your favorite grout cleaning spray or gel to have your tiled walls and floors looking like new again.

Our Cleaning Lab has tested many products from Zep, and we feature them often. We highlighted Zep in our review of best oven cleaners and we included Zep's Degreaser in a previous Best Cleaning Awards. They have consistently performed well in our evaluations and though we have not tested this grout cleaner from the brand, consumer reviews support the results we've seen with other Zep products we've tested.

With an impressive 4.3-star average rating from more than 1,700 online reviews, it's clear that this acid-containing cleaner has a solid fan base. Unlike most other grout cleaners on our list, this product is meant to be poured, not sprayed on, so it's best for cleaning the dirty grout in between floor tiles or on other flat, horizontal surfaces. It requires just three minutes to get the job done. While it is safe to use on white and colored grout, Zep doesn't kill or remove mold or mildew.

When the Good Housekeeping Institute experts test bathroom and grout cleaning products, we test them in the Lab and bring them home to test on our own soap scum, mildew and hard water stains. We then review and score each attribute via a survey

In the Cleaning Lab, we assess how easily and quickly they cut through the dirty grout lines on our ceramic and marble tile test panels. We note the wait times, how well they cling to surfaces and how much scrubbing is required for each cleaner to work. We review the labeling and directions for completeness and any required safety precautions, and we evaluate how easy the products are to apply and rinse off.

Products that are submitted for consideration in our annual Cleaning and Organizing Awards are shipped to our team of consumer testers to clean and assess the performance on the soap scum and mildew-stained grout in their own showers and provide us with their feedback via a survey. We even ask how the test product compares to the grout cleaner they usually use and which they prefer.

✔️ Grout material and color: Read the label before buying any grout cleaner to be sure it is safe to use on the surfaces you'll be cleaning. Some are suited only for white, not colored, grout, and others can damage adjoining tiles made of natural stone, like marble or granite.

✔️ Cleanser form: Sprays and foams are easy to apply but can run or drip off vertical surfaces before the job is done, meaning you may have to reapply. And some may produce fumes that can be irritating, especially when used in small spaces. Thick gels stay in place longer, but they can take more effort to rinse away.

✔️ Scope of the job: Bleach is a great whitener and germ-killer, so if your grout is very badly stained with mold and mildew, a strong bleach-containing cleaner will be your best bet and will likely require the least amount of scrubbing. If you'll be cleaning dirty or discolored floor tile grout or you're fastidious about drying the shower daily and have only occasional spots, a milder formula should suffice.

Since mildew grows in warm, moist conditions, the best way to stop it is to keep surfaces as clean and dry as possible. Taking a few minutes to wipe tile walls and grout after showering can save hours of scrubbing. Here are a few more expert tips to keep in mind:

A spray or gel cleaner and a heavy-duty grout cleaning brush are often all you need to make grout look new again. But if you’ve tried store-bought grout cleaners and are still struggling with yellowing grout, try this DIY method from our cleaning experts:

Mix ¾ cup household bleach with 1 gallon of water (or 3 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water for a smaller cleaning job). Wearing rubber gloves and eye protection, apply the mixture to the grout, being careful not to get it on any fabric or other material. Allow it to sit for several minutes then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse well. For pesky hard-to-clean corners, try dipping a cotton ball in bleach and pressing it into the corner. Let it set to bleach stains and re-wet the pad with more bleach as it dries.

It’s important to note that if your grout was not white to begin with, using bleach to clean it will likely remove the color from the grout. If this bleach mixture doesn't seem to work, it might be time to call in the pros for a professional grout cleaning or to reapply, repair and reseal your grout.

To avoid having to deep clean your tile grout with the bleach mixture mentioned above, add your home’s tile grout to your usual cleaning routine. Use a cleanser that requires little scrubbing about once a week or whenever you start to notice your grout becoming a bit discolored. To help delay deep cleaning and keep floor and tile grout brighter for longer, follow these tips:

As the executive director of the Home Care and Cleaning Lab, Carolyn Forté tests hundreds of cleaning appliances, products and tools each year. Every product in this roundup was vetted, researched or tested by Forté and her dedicated team of analysts and consumer testers. And with two bathrooms and several tile floors at home, she lots of first hand experience cleaning grout.

Updates Editor Elizabeth Berry most recently updated this article. She keeps GH's product reviews up to date and has written about everything from the best way to clean a glass shower door to the best swing sets you can buy.

Carolyn Forté brings more than 40 years of experience as a consumer products expert to her role as executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab. Using deep analytical testing and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, textiles and organizational products, she produces cleaning and home care advice for GH, has authored numerous books and bookazines for the brand and partners with the American Cleaning Institute to co-produce the Discover Cleaning Summits. She holds a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Queens College, City University of New York.

Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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7 Best Tile Grout Cleaners of 2024, Tested by Experts

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