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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Carey Reilly

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Stained grout can really sneak up on you. One minute you’re loving your fresh white grout in your picture-perfect bathroom and the next you’re wondering, "When did my bathroom start looking like the New York City subway?"

Thankfully, these tips will have your bathroom looking like new in no time!

Check out our interactive guide to learn how to clean your home from top to bottom.

Why is grout so difficult to clean?

Grout is made up of sand particles, making it easy for liquids to pass through and dirt to collect on the surface. According to The Grout Guy, Brian Mcauliffe, there’s actually a simple solution to keep your grout from staining in the first place.

“Cleaning is the first step to preventing the mildew from ever establishing. Water in the bathroom may evaporate but dirt does not and soap film is the biggest culprit as the dirt clings to the scum left on the grout. The key is to clean your tile two to three times a week with a cleaning product that is made for removing soap scum,” Mcauliffe told TODAY Home.

Some great products are available at your local grocery store and do a decent job at fighting soap scum, like dish soap, Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover.

Once the soap scum has been removed, it’s time to tackle the stubborn stains and whiten the grout. Becky Rapinchuk, from Clean Mama and author of the book "Simply Clean" recommends "a simple combination of cream of tartar and lemon juice."

"This method takes a little more elbow grease but it works really well to remove some of those surface stains in the grout as well as naturally lighten the grout,” she said.

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DIY lemon grout cleaner:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine the cream of tartar with the lemon juice to make a thick paste the consistency of runny toothpaste.

How to clean grout:

  1. Pour some hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray the grout to get rid of mold and mildew.
  2. Reapply if necessary, scrub and rinse.
  3. Use a small stiff-bristled cleaning brush and apply the homemade grout cleaner to the the area and scrub the grout. This is when your put some muscle into it.
  4. Let the solution sit on the grout then rinse and wipe dry.
  5. Repeat until you reach the desired level of brightness.

Now that the soap scum has been removed and the grout brightened, here's how to keep it that way. Aside from cleaning the tiles once a week with vinegar, Mcauliffe strongly suggests that you treat the grout with a sealant to prolong the life of the tiles, “Reseal your grout every one or two years and you should be good moving forward.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com on Nov. 28, 2018.