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Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

My entire shower is tiled, ceiling and all. There is a residue, hard water stains (?) that turns pinkish and responds to over the counter and home-made cleaners. However, the ceiling tile grout turns dark gray and nothing I've tried gets it clean.

I've already tried baking soda, Borax, Scrubbing Bubbles, Comet, BonAmi, Melaluca stuff, Brillo, and Magic Erasers. Aside from straight bleach, what else should I try? I usually look like someone from HazMat when cleaning the ceiling. I would prefer something not harmful to children and pets.

By HamptonHeron from Hampton Rds., VA

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful

Did you try CLR? I know it's for hard water stains, but really it seems like you've tried everything.

Did you try fresh lemon juice? Try a small area, let it sit (you will probably have to experiment with how long it should stay on the grout), rinse and see what happens. There's a show on the BBC Channel called 'how clean is your house?' and those two women who clean are forever coming up with ways to clean things with lemons.

Or, see if Hints from Heloise - I don't know if you remember, but she had a newspaper column where you could send your cleaning questions to - see if she has a website and ask her.

Wait! Email Martha Stewart's web and I feel sure that woman can solve anything.

Maybe you can buy a white grout pen like at Home Depot kind of hardware store (is the tile supposed to be white in the first place?)

Then if and hope and pray it worked, I'd re-seal the grout. I know we were told by our contracter that tile grout has to be re-sealed every 2-3 years. You can buy the sealer at Home Depot stores.

I'd do the same on the grout that you were able to turn white again; maybe it will keep it white and you won't have to go through the grief again of grout issues, which I personally hate.

I'm just thinking that once you get it white (again, if it's supposed to be white) you can seal it and maybe it would stay white.

You know, I just thought of something. Go to a tile store, the kind where you buy the tile and they install it for you. I bet there's someone there that can recommend a product for you or could at least tell you what's going on with your weird grout.

Or ask someone at Home Depot. Really, you'll have to get lucky there because the Home Depot by us has most of their employees straight from high school who not only haven't a clue, but don't want one either.

Good luck. Post your results, ok? I'd like to see what worked for you.

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful

Also, have you tried Barkeeper's Friend? I use it on my kitchen sink, otherwise called, spawn of Satan, because the porcelain sink stains when you just look at it.

I buy it at Kroger, my local grocery store, but I bet Target-like stores have it too.

I tried everything on it including soaking it in bleach, most of the products you tried; no luck.

Then I read about Barkeepers's Friend and it worked. Plus I found out today that it got rid of hardwater stains in my husband's bathroom. Don't ask me, he's the only one who gets hard water stains in his commode. Well it worked! and believe me, I tried everything and anything, even CLR and that type of thing, with no luck.

But someone on this site said not to use bleach in the commode for hard water stains - it will set them.

Yes, I read this bit of advice AFTER I used bleach in my commode.

I'm not saying that bleach will set the stains in your grout, but I'd try a small section first.

Good luck!

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October 24, 20090 found this helpful

Have you tried Oxiclean?

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October 24, 20090 found this helpful

Have you tried toilet bowl cleaner? I have used it on dark floor grout and it usually ends up at the original color. It probably has some clorine in it so be careful with eyes, especially on the ceiling.

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October 24, 20090 found this helpful

Hi I clean my bathroom tile grout with toothpaste spread on to an old toothbrush if you have a large area to cover then spread toothpaste onto a soft bristle scrubbing brush. Let me know what worked the best. Good luck, Helen

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

How do I clean grout in the bathroom? The grout lines between the tiles are going black. I don't want to keep using bleach.

Cate from Pt. Charlotte, FL


Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

I would guess that the "black" is mildew. Bleach is the best alternative. Mildew grows where it is damp, and once you have it, it is very difficult to totally eradicate. I have it on my ceiling, and it needs to be washed off with bleach periodically. It will be good for few months, and then it comes back.

You might try drying off the tiles after every shower. A bathroom fan to reduce overall humidity might help. Cleaning daily with vinegar after the mildew has been cleaned up might help, or maybe those daily shower cleaners that one sees advertised. (03/12/2009)

By louel53

Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

I would try Tilex. If that doesn't work then Instagone would probably work. (03/13/2009)

By mmadi10699

Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

After you get the grout clean, make sure it is dry and it must be SEALED. This will prevent staining. You can get grout sealer at any home supply store. Follow the directions on the bottle. (03/13/2009)

By lhegs

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March 10, 20090 found this helpful

How to clean and what to use to clean dirty stained bathroom floor tile grout?

Rollie from Red Deer, AB


Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

Assuming it is floor tile-I use my regular floor tile cleaner and a toothbrush. In the tub (this is not as successful), I use comet and the tub scrubber. I occasionally use the mold/mildew cleaner or the soap scum spray remover to get the job done. (09/26/2007)

By Diana

Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

My idea is very low-tech, low-cost and I've been doing it for a long time:

Get some paper towels and tear them into strips. Soak the strips in bleach or diluted bleach water, whatever you prefer. Lay each strip on a section of the grout, and use the end of an old toothbrush to tuck the strip down so that its actually touching the grout. This works on tile walls too, as long as the strips are narrow enough and not dripping wet.
Generally speaking, I just leave the strips in place till they dry, and when I take them away, my grout looks brand new. I haven't scrubbed grout in years. I just give it the paper towel treatment every so often and it looks great.


By azDana

Cleaning Stained Bathroom Tile Grout

We moved into a house where the grout apparently had never been sealed and the floors had hardly ever been clean. They were filthy, the grout was gross, stained! No amount of scrubbing or bleaching would make the grout look decent. I ended up going to my local lumberyard and getting a solution specifically for cleaning grout that had been abused. It worked wonders! Just remember that after using this, you have to reseal your grout. There are some pretty easy products out there to do this with these days. (09/26/2007)

By Juanita S.

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