How to Easily Remove Mold or Mildew from Tile Grout

Moisture evaporates rapidly from the hard, slick tile surfaces in your bathroom. Not so, however, from the grout joining those tiles together. The composition of tile grout, usually grainy and porous, tends to retain moisture and bacteria. This makes it an ideal breeding ground for mildew and mold, especially in a warm, humid environment like a bathroom. That fact becomes very conspicuous when white or gray grout gradually turns ugly brown or black due to contamination.

The appearance of mildew or mold—both are types of fungus—present both aesthetic issues as well as health concerns.  Here are some ways to remove it from tile grout:


  • Wet a large sponge with water and wash down the areas of grout affected by mold or mildew. This is necessary to remove any layer of grime such as soap scum that may shield the fungus from the cleaning process.
  • Using a small brush with stiff bristles—a retired toothbrush may work, too—scrub the grout briskly. Even though the grout lines are typically horizontal and vertical, add a circular motion to the brushing process to ensure that you get into all the tiny crevices and cracks in the grout.
  • Rinse down the grout with warm water from a sprayer, then pat the surfaces dry with a cloth.

For minor mold or mildew:

Mix equal amounts of warm water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the mixture directly on the grout, saturating it thoroughly.  Wait about 10 minutes for the vinegar to soak into the mold or mildew spores, then vigorously scrub the grout lines with the stiff-bristled brush again. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry.

For long-standing contamination:

After the pre-cleaning procedure, saturate the grout lines by spraying a 50/50 mixture of warm water and chlorine bleach. Let the mixture soak in for at least 15 minutes, then briskly scrub with the stiff-bristled brush. Rinse well to remove all bleach residue and then dry with a clean cloth.  

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