Natural Tile and Grout Cleaner

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homemade grout cleaner
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Making the switch to homemade grout cleaner and natural tile cleaner is incredibly easy and very inexpensive. You likely already have all the things you need. And they’re more effective (in my opinion) than many store-bought alternatives. You also don’t have to worry about your kids bathing in a chemical cocktail after you clean the tub, or a toddler crawling around on a floor covered in carcinogens.

I’m a big fan of homemade cleaning recipes and these were born out of necessity for me. When I moved into my first home that I owned it needed a lot of work. Most of the remodeling became a DIY job. One thing I left was the vintage tile in the hall bathroom. Thankfully, it was a light blue color and not a horrible yellow or bright pink like many other 1970s bathrooms.

Unfortunately, this bathroom came with complimentary mold in the grout and tile and I had to figure out how to get rid of it. These natural tile and grout cleaner recipes were created in response to the mold decorations in the bathroom. Thankfully they cleaned the ceramic tile and dirty grout right up.

The Problem With Tile Cleaning Products

Store-bought grout cleaners can take your breath away (quite literally). The harsh cleaners may clean up tile floors and grout lines but not before they burn your lungs. Then there’s the residue afterward with the remaining harsh chemicals. Some of them promise a deep clean with no scrubbing, but I’m not afraid of a little natural cleaning elbow grease.

A common “DIY” hack is to use toilet bowl cleaner for grout cleaner. While the gel cleaners stick to grout and can clean it, they can cause damage over time. Plus again we’re back to harsh chemicals.

Another popular option is chlorine bleach. I read that bleach doesn’t actually kill mold but just bleaches it so you can’t see it so I didn’t want to go that direction. Plus, with little ones in the house, bleach wasn’t something I kept around anyway.

DIY Grout Cleaning Ingredients

So what’s a natural mama to do when it comes to grime and buildup on shower tiles? While lemon juice and Dawn dish soap are some popular options, I’ve found some natural cleaners that do the trick. I’ve come up with several different cleaning solutions based on the tile using the following basic ingredients. Most of them you probably already have on hand!

  • Vinegar – A somewhat gentle acid that works great as a tile floor cleaner. Over time it can break down grout though, so use it sparingly on these areas.
  • Baking soda – A gentle scrubbing agent that helps remove dirt and stains.
  • Washing soda – You can actually make your own from baking soda! It adds an extra cleaning boost to DIY cleaners.
  • Borax – A little controversial as a cleaner, but I’ve found it to be a great addition to my cleaning routine. Borax helps remove dirt and stains on tile and grout and it also softens water for a better clean.
  • Castile soap – A more natural replacement for conventional dish soap in DIY grout cleaners.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – The foaming action helps whiten and lift stains. Be careful with colored grout though as it may bleach it.

How to Clean Tile Grout

There are a few things to consider before tackling dirty tile and grout. Marble and stone tile are more sensitive to acids so they need some special care. Generally, a cleaning solution of filtered water and a little castile soap works best for cleaning these materials.

If you have porcelain tile it can benefit from other homemade cleaners, including baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and use a grout cleaning brush, scrub brush, or old toothbrush. You can let the grout-cleaning mixture sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it off with the bristles for better results. For less intense messes a sponge will work.

Protecting Your Grout

Be careful with old grout though, since scrubbing it too much or too often can cause it to chip and crumble. It’s also important to protect your grout with a grout sealer as needed. Grout is naturally porous (unless it’s epoxy grout) so over time cleaners and natural wear and tear wear it down.

Experts generally recommend resealing grout in high-traffic areas (like your main shower and bathroom) every 6-12 months. Less used areas, like tiled walls or a guest bathroom, can get away with resealing about every 2 years. It depends on the tile, your grout, and other factors which sealer you use (if any).

If your grout is damaged and chipped, it’s time to replace it. Damaged grout is a breeding ground for mold and mildew and this can also affect the area behind the tile. Keeping grout clean and sealed is the best way to protect it.

Here are some cleaning tips to do just that!

Homemade Tile and Grout Cleaner Recipes

  • Light cleaning of water spots or dirt – Get a damp sponge and dip it in a bowl of regular baking soda. Wipe down the tub or tiles and rinse with warm water.
  • For soap scum – Use filtered water with a little bit of castile soap (or dish soap) and white vinegar to clean the tile and grout.
  • Tough stains or set in dirt- Use a damp sponge in full-strength white vinegar to wipe down the entire surface. Immediately scour with baking soda and a scrub brush or sponge.
homemade grout cleaner
5 from 1 vote

Best Homemade Grout Cleaner For Tough Stains

This easy DIY grout cleaner gently scrubs and lifts away grime and stains. It also works on tubs and tile.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Yield: 7.5 ounces
Author: Katie Wells



  • Combine all of the ingredients except the vinegar and gently stir.
  • Wipe down the area you’re cleaning with straight white vinegar using a cloth or sponge.
  • Scrub the grout with the baking soda mixture, then rinse.


For tubs, wipe with white vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda mixture, and let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a sponge or heavy-duty brush and rinse.

How to Get Rid of Mold on Grout

If there’s mold actively growing on grout this can be a sign of a more serious problem. If the grout or tile is damaged and water seeped into the wall or floorboard behind it, the mold could be growing there too. Inspect the area for damage and see if the grout needs to be replaced and then sealed or if there’s other mold damage in the area that needs addressed first.

For mold stains on grout make a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%) and 1 part water in a spray bottle. Spray on grout until saturated. Wait 45 minutes then wipe down with a sponge and rinse well. You can also add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to the mixture.

Have you ever made homemade tile or grout cleaner? How did it work?

This natural tile and grout cleaner recipe will get rid of mold and mildew without chemicals. Inexpensive to make and safe to use around children.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


27 responses to “Natural Tile and Grout Cleaner”

  1. Angela Avatar

    Do you have a natural cleaning recipe for cleaning chocolate brown grout that’s turning white from soap scum and hard water? I live my dark chocolate grout but it’s being faded. I’d like to restore the color without harming the grout.

  2. Kirsten Avatar

    I am SO very appreciative for your thoroughness. I’ve been hating the mildew in our master shower for ages and haven’t found a tough enough natural recipe that worked and this did it. I did one side of the shower and left the other for comparison and it is astounding. Only one tough spot that needs more. I’ll have to try it a few times there, but everywhere else it’s gleaming.

    Thank you!

  3. Sara Avatar

    Hello! Great article. For the record though, bleach absolutely does kill mold on non-porous surfaces. Bleach damages the DNA of any organism it comes into contact with. However, on porous surfaces, bleach does not kill mold.

  4. Jason Taylor Avatar
    Jason Taylor

    Floor cleaning is always a tough job; you need to maintain proper method in order to get them cleaned without affecting the quality. The best experience is using the vinegar and water combo, it’s really helpful! I have recommended that to many people. I don’t know about the brands of cleaners that you used but I hope they are as good as the DIY methods.

  5. Paul Brown Avatar
    Paul Brown

    Can I use Oxygen Bleach on the grout between marble tile on a shower floor?
    I have tried the 50/50 solution of water and peroxide and I have also tried the baking soda paste with very little improvement. Help!

  6. Amanda Avatar

    Vinegar is not good to use on grout because of the acidity (like with marble and granite)… maybe using it once to do a thorough clean is ok, but repeated use runs the risk of breaking down your grout, which isn’t fun to replace.

  7. Lisa Avatar

    I have colored grout the baking soda will bleach it white? Right now I am using Seventh Generation but want a homemade all natural because of autoimmune disease.

  8. Summer Avatar

    For soap scum in my tub, I use coconut oil on a sponge, magic eraser or paper towel. It comes right off with no soak in time required.

    The oil+magic eraser also makes my water-marked brushed nickel bath fixtures sparkle like new.

    For tuff water stains in toilet I use sand paper.

    Could oil also help loosen and remove mold in grout?

    1. Shelby Avatar

      Yes, get a scouring stick from your local target, Walmart. Its like a pumice stone & is safe for porcelain. Just make sure you wear a glove because you’ll have to put your hand in the toilet. I love these because there’s no harsh chemical smell & it makes the toilet look brand new ?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I don’t have marble so I haven’t tried it out, but check with the cleaning instructions that came with your marble to see if there are ingredients you shouldn’t use.

      1. Colleen Diamond Avatar
        Colleen Diamond

        Hi Wellness Mama

        For grout with mood, do I use the hydrogen peroxide spray and then the grout cleaner for the Vicky stains or are you saying the spray does it all?? Wishful thinking 🙂

  9. Jenae Avatar

    I was wondering if you could tell us more about how you use branch basics? Do you usually by the big set? Aloe do you just survive all purpose cleaner on everything ? How do you use it in the ways you have mentioned- for hair, cleaning , oven , hand sanitizer etc? I’ve been using the Kotex clothes with just water and recently started adding a little soap nuts but have been trying to find a safe hand sanitizer to use while on the go since we are planning on trying for another baby soon one that is pregnancy safe since it seems option become limiting with diy home and beauty care when you prego. And my soon to be husband has a need for scent and a more soap like fee and has been wanting me to try something different then just water even though it works so I was looking into norwex to use branch basics in all the different articles that you side mention it. Thanks!!!

  10. Sarah Avatar

    Thank you, Katie, for posting these natural ways for cleaning grout. When we first moved in to our current house, I cleaned my son’s bathroom with chemical concoctions. Since then, with the help of your blog and others, I have been ridding my home of chemicals and using natural cleaners and soaps. When it came time to tackle the master bathroom floor, I decided to try your method. I started with the baking soda and vinegar method, figuring that if I had any tough stains left over, I could work my way up to the stronger methods. The baking soda and vinegar has worked wonderfully. My 6-year-old son has really enjoyed being able to help me scrub the grout, and being able to watch and listen to the “fizzies” from the reaction.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I tried to attach a picture of the “during” picture, to show how well it was working, but the picture doesn’t seem to be working.

  11. Daelin Avatar

    I am so glad that it is becoming more and more popular to do cleaning with green, natural products. It should become much less of a stress on the environment. Every surface presents its own challenges: my particular struggle is with bathroom grout. It seems that I will never be able to get rid of all of that gray color darkening my bathroom. I’ve already had some grout replaced so as to avoid further water damage and I’m sure it will improve the situation.

  12. Lauren Fuller Avatar
    Lauren Fuller

    This saved my sanity! We moved into a house 3 years ago with dirty grout in our kitchen tiles. With plans to remodel eventually, we never really bothered with it, but it was really starting to bug me. So I was dealing with VERY old, VERY stubborn stains. Pretty much solid brown grout that should be white. I was going to break down and try a chemical cleaner, but thought I would give this a try first. I used the “really tough stains and spots” directions. I did add more water to the baking powder mix to create more of a paste. It did take lots of elbow grease, probably about 30 passes with a scrubber in each spot, but my grout is now magically sparkling white! I wish I could show you the before and after. I am SO pleased with the way my grout looks now!! Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Amy R Avatar

    I hope this works, we just re-tiled our kitchen countertop recently, and I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard to keep the little stains like coffee and tomato sauce from staining the grout.

  14. Monica Rooke Avatar
    Monica Rooke

    This is great information. Thanks for posting this. I’m making a list right now of the ingredients I’ll need to switch to homemade cleaners. :]

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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