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Can You Use Bleach to Clean Grout?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Dirty tile groutNobody enjoys looking down at their tile floor to see stains in the grout lines, but it is a common happenstance in bathrooms. What you may not know is how to get rid of these stains to make your tile clean and beautiful once again. A common question about this issue is whether bleach can be used to clean up this unsightly staining.

The answer is yes, and we will relay the best method for doing so. However, there are other options, as well, so we will talk about those, too. This will allow you to choose the method that appeals to you most.

Chlorine Bleach

The use of chlorine bleach is the most traditional method for cleaning grout lines. It’s a simple process, but it does require some awareness of hazards and safety. The first thing to be aware of is that bleach can and will splatter, no matter how careful you might be. That being said, wearing old clothes that won’t be ruined by scrubbing or bleach splatters is a good plan.

Also, bleach can be a hazardous substance. Keep any of your pets or small children away from the area being bleached until the process is complete. You should also make sure the room is ventilated, and windows are left open while you proceed for your own safety. Before using the bleach, you should do a quick sweep to get rid of all the dirt in the area. Having a clean floor makes it easier to handle the grime that is stuck on the floor.

Cleaning the grout lines is done by using a brush, which is dipped in bleach before being used to scrub grout lines. Use a mixture of about one part bleach to three parts water. If the stains in your floor are rather set-in or do not come up quickly, you should let the bleach set in the lines for a number of hours. After two to three hours, you can come back and check to see if stains will come up.

When everything is cleaned to your satisfaction, using a solution of water and baking soda can clean up any bleach left and also help dissipate the smell of chlorine. Once that is done, you should mop the floor with clean water. Rinse out the mop regularly to ensure all the bleach is gone.


If you prefer to use an eco-friendly method to clean the grout, that’s possible as well. The best way to do this is with a mixture of one part water and one part hydrogen peroxide. You’ll want to apply this to the grout lines, just as in the bleach method. After it has been applied, let it sit for around fifteen minutes before reapplying, if needed.

Once your floor is clean, the last round should take the mixture from above but with the addition of baking soda. You will apply this to the grout lines and let it soak in and work until it is entirely dry. Vacuuming up the baking soda residue will conclude the process.

The main drawback to using this method is that it can take some muscle and multiple applications to see much change. However, it’s worth a try, especially with floors that may not be overly stained and set-in.

Oxygen Bleach

This is another option for you to try. It involves taking a cleanser like OxiClean, in powder form, and adding water to make a paste. At that point, the mixture can be used on the grout lines for a nontoxic cleaning. You should let it sit for about ten minutes after applying and then use a grout brush to remove grime. Following that, you should mop or wipe the floor to get rid of any additional dirt.

Regardless of the method you use, cleaning the grout lines can breathe life back into a bathroom that seems dirty or dingy. You can use bleach, peroxide, or other substances to help pull up stains and make your floor shine like it did the day it was installed.