How to Clean Tiles & Tile Grout

TilesDirty tiles and grout sometimes seem like just one of those things you have to accept. Over time, dirt builds up almost without you noticing and orange and black staining can start to appear in high-moisture areas.

The problem with stained grout and tiling is that it makes the whole room begin to look unpleasant and unhygienic. Once it’s reached this stage it will need more than a quick wipe over with a cloth; stained grout can be really tricky to tackle. But before you start to wonder whether it will just be easier to replace the lot, it’s definitely worth taking the time to get it clean. It’s easier than you think, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make.

Here we take an in-depth look at the best way to clean up tiles and tile grout and recommend some of the best tools for the job.

How to Clean Tile Grout

Always start by tackling the grout. The process of cleaning dirty grout will spread dirt onto the tiles as you work so they’ll need to be wiped at the end anyway and there is no point in doing the same job twice.

Grout can be fiddly to clean but it can make a huge difference to the overall look of your bathroom so it’s worth learning how to do it properly. Like many difficult seeming tasks, it is a lot easier to do if you equip yourself with the correct tools.

You Will Need:

Depending on the tiles, you will need either a small, hand held brush or a larger floor brush (if you have floor and wall tiles, buy both).

Here are two of the best:

FUGINATOR® Joint Brush

£12.95
3 new from £8.30
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This simple grout brush is roughly rectangular in shape, with a specially designed ergonomic handle which fits neatly into your hand. Separate finger grips allow you to hold it firmly and apply the correct amount of pressure to the grout. The stiff bristles run all along the edge of two sides of the rectangle, making it easy to angle the brush into corners and other hard to reach spots. This brush is best for bathroom and kitchen walls; it’s especially useful for small spaces behind cupboards or around the bath and sink.

Long Handled Grout Cleaning Brush

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The long brush handle makes this grout cleaning tool the best choice for floors, or high spots on the walls and around the shower. Three rows of stiff bristles provide a lot of cleaning power which should be enough to tackle even tough dirt. It comes with a colour coded, machine washable head so you can swap it over and clean between uses to avoid cross contamination between the bathroom and kitchen.

You’re also going to need:

HG Grout Cleaner (Wall & Floor Grout)

£7.59
17 new from £4.95
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HG’s ready to use grout cleaner comes in a handy spray bottle which makes it easy to apply. Simply spray it on, leave it to work for a few minutes, then remove; the dirt should come off easily.

How to Clean Grout – Step by Step

  1. Spray the cleaner onto all the areas of grout that need cleaning.
  2. After a few minutes, start scrubbing a small area of grout to see if the cleaning spray has had an effect. If the dirt does not come away easily, leave it a little longer.
  3. Once the spray has taken effect, scrub the area well with your chosen brush. The dirt should come off fairly easily, though stubborn stains might need some more work.
  4. Rinse the whole area with water from the shower, or wipe over with a damp cloth.

Any remaining brown or yellow stains might be limescale; this will need a different product to remove it properly. Try HG Scale Away

HG Scale Away

£5.43
£3.45
16 new from £3.45
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How To Clean Your Tiles: Bathroom, Kitchen or Anywhere

Now your grout is returned to a sparkling, like-new state you’ll be eager to get your tiles just as clean. This is where it gets a little more complicated as not all cleaning products are suitable for all tiles.

If you’re not sure which type of tiles you have then you need to play it safe and choose a neutral cleaner which is guaranteed not to damage them. Try FILA Eco-Friendly Neutral Cleaner. It’s PH neutral, suitable for use on all tile types, and won’t discolour your tiles. The high concentration means that you can dilute it to suit your needs; if you use the highest recommended dilution then you don’t even need to rinse it.

FILACLEANER 1L,  Highly Concentrated Eco-Friendly Neutral Cleaner

£12.00
£11.81
9 new from £8.23
Free shipping
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Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most commonly used in homes. Durable, heat resistant, and (because they are man-made) uniform in colour, they are the ideal choice for most homes. They are often glazed, making them easy to wipe clean.

Most ceramic tiles are tough enough for fairly aggressive cleaning if needed, although it’s always best to start with the gentlest method possible. A regular wipe over with water or a mils cleaning spray should be enough to keep them clean.

If they do become stained, a bleach solution and brush can be used to remove any marks. Again, it’s best to start with a mild solution before trying something stronger. If the tiles are painted or patterned, you will need to take more care; there is a risk of scratching them with a too-abrasive brush.

Marble

Real marble tiles will have a natural appearance; the use of a natural material means that no two pieces will look the same. It is also porous, so will soak up liquids and become damaged if not cleaned and dried adequately.

If you have marble tiles in your home, you need to take extra care when cleaning them. They will scratch easily so do not use very abrasive brushes on them. They will also react badly to acidic liquids so you should avoid using bleach, lemon or vinegar on them; a PH neutral cleaner is best.

Slate

The colours and texture of slate can vary so it is not easy to identify at first glance. Like marble, it will have natural patterns and imperfections which make each tile unique, unlike manmade equivalents.

Slate is naturally stain resistant. For this reason, it is a far more useful and low maintenance material for flooring than marble. However, it still needs careful cleaning. Like marble, slate is prone to scratching, and will be damaged by acidic liquids. The PH neutral cleaner recommended below is the best option for both types. Take care to wipe it on and off with a soft, non-abrasive cloth or sponge to avoid scratches.

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