Some of the recipes below contain ammonia, or bleach, or vinegar (I’ve also included other homemade solutions that are gentler).
There are some who claim that these ingredients will degrade grout over time–what that amount of time is no one can say (5 years? 50 years?) or that they may affect it in a way that makes them more susceptible to future discoloration.
I can’t confirm the deterioration claims since I haven’t witnessed those problems myself.
These items will help kill bacteria and get rid of stains, but remember to rinse off well.
If you’re concerned about deterioration, dilute them a bit first (will reduce effectiveness), or use only in extreme situations, or choose an alternate method.
Tip: After you have brightened things up and everything is completely dry, apply a new coat of sealer so it is protected and harsh methods won’t be necessary on a regular basis.
Important: Test colored products first before using any batch to make sure it won’t be discolored.
Recipes & Tips
Here’s a list of homemade cleaners to help…
- Try your favorite liquid dish detergent to brighten grout between tiles, just drizzle on a wet cloth and scrub. Toothpaste is also a good option. From: Bring Bathrooms To A Shine.
- Use a mild soap and water solution and work it in with a plastic bristle brush.
- Combine 3 C. bicarb and 1 C. water. Mix then dab with a sponge, leave for a few minutes.
- Another option is 1/4 C. salt, 1/4 C. baking soda, 1/4 C. vinegar. Mix then work in with a sponge, leave for a minute.
- Cleaner For Tiles Too: 1/2 C. of baking soda; 1/3 C. of ammonia; 1/4 C. of white vinegar; 7 C. of water. Combine all the ingredients in a labeled spray bottle and shake well to mix. Spray on then wipe with a damp sponge. Do not mix with bleach. From this page of recipes for Shower Spray.
- Brightener: 1/4 C. bleach, 3/4 C. bicarb. Let soak in for a couple mins.
- General Solution: 1/4 bleach, 1 C. water, sit for 10 mins.
- Lemon Juice: Combine lemon juice and baking soda to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush. Another trick: lemon & salt (just sprinkle salt on a wedge of lemon and rub with that).
Dealing With Mildew
These can also be treated as an all-purpose cleaner, but they’re especially good for lifting mildew. Reminder: rinse everything off with plain water unless otherwise directed.
- First wash surface with plain water then use a toothbrush to work bleach into the stains. If they are especially tough, allow to soak in for a few minutes.
- Rub vinegar into the spot with a toothbrush.
- Dab on rubbing alcohol, wait for a minute or two then wash away with soap and water.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Full strength for about 5 mins.
- Peroxide & Bicarb: Make a paste then slather on, scrub and rinse.
- Borax & Water Paste: Apply, let it dry then scrub.
- Bicarb & Liquid Dish Detergent: Leave on overnight, wash off in the morning.
- To test if your sealer is still good, squirt a few drops of water over top. If it absorbs the liquid instead of beading up, you need a new coat of sealer.
- After getting things nice & fresh again, keep at it! Maintain regularly to avoid having to pull out the harsh chemicals or treatments to remove buildup.
- If stains are really bad and nothing you do lightens or gets them out, you can remove the grout then build up a fresh batch. Sound difficult? Not really, I found clear instructions here: ronhazelton.com.
- For quick spot removal, attack it with a bleach pen (watch: will likely discolor colored product).
- You can use old toothbrushes, a plastic bristle or a soft bristle nail brush, a nylon dish scrubber or a sponge with a nylon backing.