3 easy ways to clean and brighten tile grout

Keep tiled surfaces in your home sparkling clean.
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Tiles can make or break a room – but even the most beautiful tiles can be let down by grimy or discoloured grout. Many traditional grout cleaners on the market are harsh, smell terrible, contain chlorine bleach or just simply don’t produce results good enough to justify their use (or their price tag).

Fortunately, you’ve probably got all of the ingredients required to make a powerful grout cleaner sitting in your kitchen and laundry cupboards.

Here we run through 3 grout cleaning methods that will have your bathroom, tiled floors and splash backs looking good as new.

Mud room with checkered floor tiles
Even the most beautiful tiled floor can be brought down by grimy grout. (Photography: Dave Wheeler | Styling: Corina Koch)

1. Napisan

Professional cleaner Rebekka Ladner aka the Queen of Clean, has revealed her secret hack for cleaning grout on tiled floors – and it’s caused a stir on social media. She used Vanish Napisan Gold Pro Stain Removal Powder to clean her tiled floors.

“I’ve done the whole baking soda/vinegar … and that’s way too time-consuming with very little result,” she said. “I’ve used long life grout cleaner too. Some people swear by it [but] I’m not a fan and the smell is horrendous,” she added. “Plus long life grout cleaner is $10 a bottle. It ends up costing a fair bit.”

She adds two scoops of Napisan to a bucket of water and spreads it over the tiles before scrubbing with a stiff broom. Then she rinses the tiles and mops again, this time with hot water and methylated spirits.

The dirty ‘before’ and sparkling clean ‘after’ photos speak for themselves.

Note: Napisan is an eye and skin irritant. Be sure to wear protective clothing and rubber gloves when using and avoid direct contact of powder with skin or eyes. 

Napisan grout cleaning hack before
Discoloured tile grout before cleaning with Napisan. (Photo: Rebekka Ladner)
Napisan grout cleaning hack after
Sparkling grout after cleaning with Napisan. (Photo: Rebekka Ladner)

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has so many uses, and it’s especially good at brightening discoloured grout. Unlike vinegar, which can corrode the grout over time, hydrogen peroxide is a gentle disinfectant that is non-toxic – when used correctly.

To clean grout, simply pour undiluted hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray all over grout and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide can irritate eyes, skin and the respiratory system, so only use it in a well-ventilated space and wear gloves and protective goggles.

Once the time has passed, scrub the grout with a grout brush or non-scratch scour sponge. Rinse clean.

Coastal bathroom with grey concrete floor tiles
Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful grout cleaner. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Rachel Peters)

3. Lemon and baking soda

If finding an all-natural way to clean grout is your top priority, try making lemonade! Fresh lemon juice has been used as a super stain-fighting solution for centuries. To clean up grimy grout, simply combine lemon juice with baking soda to create a paste. Use a stiff brush to apply the paste to the grout. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing well.

The reason this works is because lemons are rich in citric acid, which is a natural bleach. The bleaching effect is accelerated by sunlight, so this trick works especially in bathrooms with plenty of natural light.

Don’t have lemons handy? Simply swap out the lemon juice for white vinegar.

ensuite with freestanding bath
A natural way to clean grout is by combining lemon juice and baking soda. (Credit: Photography: Jacqui Turk / Styling: Alanna Smit)

Grout cleaning essentials


Simply No Mould spray

$9.95, Flora & Fauna

This mould spray contains zero chlorine bleach and instead harnesses the power of hydrogen peroxide to get mouldy grout light and bright again. Free from artificial fragrances, parabens and mineral oils. Made in Australia.

Key features:

  • Hydrogen peroxide-based formula
  • Doesn’t leave behind harmful residue
  • Safely kills mould on tiles, grout and benchtops


Grout brush

$17.95, Koh

You can use all the fancy grout-cleaning sprays you want, but to really banish tough stains, a good grout brush is essential. Koh’s grout brush is ergonomically-designed and the firm bristles get into every nook and cranny.

Key features:

  • Made from recycled plastics
  • Ergonomic design
  • Versatile – can also be used to clean window sills, door runners and fridge seals


White King mould and soap scum remover in lemon

$6, Big W

Struggling to get rid of black mould stains? Open the windows, open the doors and turn on the exhaust fan because this stuff means business. Spray it on the worst mould stains and it will brighten them up within minutes. Take care to wear protective clothing, follow safety instructions and use sparingly.

Key features:

  • Chlorine bleach-based formula that removes black mould stains in 3-5 minutes
  • Also removes soap scum and kills 99.9% of germs
  • Australian made


Mr Siga grout scrub brush with long handle

$27.99, Amazon

Live in a home with tiled floors? Don’t break your back scrubbing on your hands and knees; invest in a long-handled grout brush. The stiff bristles really work grime and dirt out of the grout to reveal sparkling floors. This grout brush has a swivel head and an adjustible pole, so you can use it to clean grout in confined spaces like in the shower.

Key features:

  • Durable construction with sturdy, stainless steel adjustable pole
  • V-shaped bristles designed to scrub grout and hard-to-reach crevices
  • 180 degree maneuverable head

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