“Thanks to gravity, your grout is usually the dirtiest part of your floors,” says Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro home cleaning. In order to keep your grout in top shape, you’ll want to use one of the best grout cleaners, which will effectively clean or whiten your grout without causing any damage to surrounding tile. Whether you opt for a chemical or steam cleaner, it’s important to choose a product that’s not just effective but easy to use — Amazon reviews will give you an idea of which picks require minimal elbow grease on your part, but some scrubbing is typically necessary for chemical cleaners.
To help you narrow down all of the grout cleaner options, remember that “not all tile is created equally,” according to Sarah McAllister, CEO and Founder of GoCleanCo, so make sure the product you pick is safe for the specific type of tile you’re working with. For durable tile materials, like ceramic or porcelain, Homer suggests that you can use an acid-based grout cleaner, which she explains “are best for removing grime, grease, soap scum, hard water deposits, and rust stains, as the acid actually dissolves the minerals and oils.” These cleaners can also get rid of mold and mildew. However, if whitening your grout is a top priority, choose a product that contains bleach, which can also kill bacteria and germs. For whitening a small section of grout, you may prefer a bleach pen that distributes just a little bit of product at a time. Just note that bleach cleaners can damage colored grout.
To avoid harming more delicate tile materials like marble, you’ll need milder products that are free from harsh ingredients like acid or bleach. If you’re not sure which type of cleaner to use for your tile, Kristiana Laugen, Home Expert at Handy cleaning and handyman services, suggests that before you start, “read the directions on the bottle to see which surfaces the grout cleaner can be safely applied.”
While choosing the right grout cleaner for your specific job is the most important, Homer, McAllister, and Laugen all agree that it’s also a good idea to invest in a stiff grout brush for scrubbing, since it can greatly speed up the task which is why I’ve also included one at the end of the list.
If you’d like to avoid having chemicals in your home, however, a steam cleaner can effectively clean your grout, sans scrubbing. Becky Rapinchuk, owner of Clean Mama, recommends that you “look for one with a nozzle/hose that can force steam on the grout lines.” Pay attention to the size of the water tank as well; larger tanks can hold more water and can tackle bigger grout-cleaning projects without stopping to refill the tank — but they tend to be pricier. Steam cleaners can be used with white or colored grout, but be careful not to use them on marble.
These six grout cleaners are all raved about on Amazon, boasting thousands of positive reviews that back their effectiveness.
1. A Fan-Favorite Acid-Based Grout Cleaner
- Safe to use on: ceramic; porcelain; white and colored grout
With more than 5,900 reviews on Amazon and a solid four-star rating overall, the Grout-Eez grout cleaner is a favorite on the site for being incredibly powerful. Many reviewers commented that it made even the dirtiest of grout look practically brand new. The acid-based cleaner can be utilized on both white and colored grout since it’s free from bleach, and is safe to use with ceramic and porcelain tile. However, this is not a good pick for more delicate surfaces like marble.
To use, spray the product directly on the grout, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then scrub to remove grease, grime, and pesky stains. Amazon reviewers have mixed feedback about how much scrubbing is required, but most indicate that letting the product sit before doing so made the task much, much easier. It doesn’t come in a spray bottle, but if you can always buy a spray bottle separately.
One bottle of this grout cleaner can clean up to 250 square feet. If you’re in need of a grout brush, you can also buy a set that includes one.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I absolutely love Grout-eez!!! So easy to use and IT REALLY WORKS!!! My kitchen floor looks awesome! I definitely recommend this product for the person that is looking for an Easy way of cleaning their grout, not a lot of effort, and results are amazing!”
2. A Gentle Grout Cleaner That’s Safe To Use On Marble
- Safe to use on: ceramic; marble; porcelain; white and colored grout
For more delicate tile materials like marble, you’ll need a gentler grout cleaner to avoid damage, and this one from Black Diamond is an ideal option. Free from both acid and bleach, this pick is safe for a variety of surfaces, including marble, ceramic, and porcelain. Plus, it can be used on both white and colored grout. While this pick isn’t necessarily the best at getting rid of mold, mildew, or water spots, Amazon reviewers confirm that it does an excellent job at cleaning grout overall; they give this pick a four-star rating on the site, after more than 5,900 reviews.
To use this product, spray it on to the grout, let it sit for 1 to 3 minutes, and then scrub it with a brush — don’t worry, reviewers confirm that this step requires minimal elbow grease — to loosen any residual grime.
This pick is sold in many different bottle sizes ranging from 1 quart to 4 gallons, and some options come with a brush or even two different-sized bottles.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I knew my grout was dirty but I didn't realize how disgusting it was until I used this cleaner. It arrived yesterday and I decided to test a small area to see how well it worked. Sprayed on and waited 3 minutes. I then used the brush to agitate the dirt in the grout which was much easier than I expected it to be (I thought I was going to have to scrub hard). Instead, it was a very simple back and forth motion and the dirt immediately came loose and out of the grout. I then used a very wet dish towel to clean up the cleaner and dirt. The results were significantly better than I anticipated. I'm buying more to finish my entire home.”
3. A Gel Grout Cleaner With Bleach
- Safe to use on: ceramic; porcelain; white grout
Thanks to its thicker formulation, this gel cleaner from Soft Scrub is easier to use on vertical surfaces (and less messy, too!) since it shouldn’t drip as much as liquid products. And since it contains bleach, it’s also an excellent pick for brightening white grout lines while removing stubborn mold and mildew at the same time. Just be sure to avoid using it on colored grout.
To use, apply the product directly to your grout and rinse it off. Amazon reviewers indicate that they did need to do some scrubbing as well to get their grout perfectly clean. For extra-stubborn jobs, the manufacturer recommends letting the product sit on the surface for up to a minute.
While this pick is excellent at cleaning grout, it actually can be used on a variety of other surfaces as well, including including bathtubs, countertops, showers, sinks, stovetops, tiles, and toilets. However, it’s not suitable for delicate materials like marble.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Seriously amazed! I thought I had tried everything. Then I tried this on my bathtub grout and caulk. [...] Still in shock. Everything is clean again! Yes, it smells like bleach which doesn’t thrill me but after rinsing the smell went away pretty quickly and so worth it.”
4. A Set Of Bleach Pens For Spot Cleaning
- Safe to use on: ceramic; porcelain; white grout
If you just have a small section of white grout that needs cleaning or whitening, these bleach pens from Clorox are your best bet, since they’re super fast and easy to use — simply shake the pen, unscrew the gap, dispense the gel, scrub (just a little!), and rinse. The dual-tipped applicator has a fine point for targeted spot treatment and a broad scrubber for tackling bigger areas. Mold, mildew, and stains are no match for this pick, and it works on caulk, too.
Since this product contains bleach, it should only be used on white grout and with durable tile materials like ceramic and porcelain. The set comes with four pens.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Used these to clean my shower grout. Amazing because I barely had to scrub. Just trace the tiles, let sit, then lightly scrub prior to rinsing. Whitest my shower has been... probably ever!”
5. A Powerful Steam Cleaner With A Large Water Tank
- Safe to use on: non-porous surfaces; white and colored grout
Sick of scrubbing your grout clean? Make the upgrade to this steam cleaner from McCulloch, which uses hot, pressured steam (aka no chemicals) to take your grout from dirty to dazzling — no elbow grease required. With 18 different cleaning accessories included, this pick can be utilized throughout your home, but for grout, the true champ is the powerful jet nozzle that’s designed to fit perfectly in the small crevices to get rid of grime. Amazon reviewers are wild about this pick, hence the knockout 4.4-star overall rating they give it on the site, among 9,000 and growing reviews.
This steam cleaner heats up to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit in 8 minutes, and the 48-ounce water tank can run for a whopping 45 minutes before needing to be refilled. The 15-foot power cord and 9-foot hose give you plenty of flexibility and range. Plus, this pick comes with a 2-year warranty.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “First of all, i want to say i have NEVER wrote a review. But this piece of [equipment] is such a great piece of equipment, I felt in my heart i had to take the time out of my day to write one. This thing cleans everything so easy. And it’s even actually fun to use. [...] It is such a time saver and no elbow grease is needed. It cleans my porcelain tile floors and grout lines so easy. I thought my floors were [actually] clean after I mopped them until I used this thing. You should see all the dirt it shoots out of the grout lines. It you have tile floors, this is a MUST have. And you can’t beat the price.”
6. A Handheld Steam Cleaner For Less Than $50
- Safe to use on: non-porous surfaces; white and colored grout
Despite being super budget-friendly — it costs around $30! — this steam cleaner from BISSELL can easily tackle grout cleaning since it delivers high-pressure steam with just the click of the trigger (and with no chemicals!). The grout cleaning tool is designed to get down into the grout to get rid of dirt and grime, while the other six cleaning tools (including three round brushes and a flat scraping tool) can be utilized throughout your home to clean and sanitize surfaces.
The handheld steam cleaner heats up in just 30 seconds, and the 6.6-ounce tank capacity will allow you to get about 15 minutes worth of steam before needing to refill the water, according to Amazon reviews.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is a great tool for cleaning out crevices and grout. I cleaned the grout in the kitchen and was actually a bit grossed out at how bad off they were. I clean my tile, and thought I was doing a good job, but this returned everything to what it must have been when the house was built (1950s) the tiles are brighter and the grout is clear and I'm very happy. It looks like I updated the tile work. The scrubber attachments are nice to scrape away the grime that gets loosened by the steam.”
Also Great: A Stiff Grout Brush
With a whopping 4.6-star rating overall on Amazon, among 1,400 and growing reviews, this grout brush from Crown Choice makes the grout-cleaning process immensely easier — aka it’s worth every penny. The brush features stiff, angled bristles that are narrow enough to get deep into the grout to clean. And the wide, plastic handle is easy to hold and maneuver. Use it with any chemical cleaner on this list and prepare to be wowed.
Once you’ve finished cleaning your grout, you can clean this pick either with hot, soapy water or place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This scrub brush is super helpful cleaning grout. I wasn’t sure it would be different from a regular scrub brush but the design really lets the scrubbing area focus on the thin grout line. Handle also makes it easy to use.”
Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro
Kristiana Laugen, Home Expert at Handy
Sarah McAllister, CEO and Founder of GoCleanCo
Becky Rapinchuk, Owner of Clean Mama