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The Home Depot

Leading Cause of Grout Stains

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cleaning > Leading Cause of Grout Stains
Leading Cause of Grout Stains

Even when you go to great lengths to keep your tiled surfaces impeccably clean, you may notice that over time your grout becomes stained. Grout staining can occur due to a variety of situations, depending on the location of the grout.


As you explore your grout issues, read what Rutgers has to say about an effective method for rejuvenating grout. Because your tile won’t look attractive if dirty grout is detracting from its appearance, it’s important to tackle grout issues quickly to keep tile nice.


Once you understand the leading cause of grout stains, you’ll be in the driver’s seat, able to eliminate unsightly stains from your tiled surfaces.

  1. Follow manufacturer instructions regarding the type of cleaners that are safe to use on your grout to avoid damaging the tile or the grout.

    1.Grout Properties

    If you have grout made from cement, it is a porous material. This means that it readily absorbs materials that touch it. If these materials have color pigment, it’s common for the grout to absorb the color. Grout made from epoxy materials will not absorb as readily as cement grout.

  2. 2.Mildew

    When tile covers surfaces in areas without adequate ventilation, mildew will often result. Left untreated, mildew will spread and multiply to become an unsightly mess on tile and grout surfaces. If you notice mildew on your grout and tile, the first step should be to clean away the mildew with a cleaning solution that will kill it. Household bleach and water – about ¾ cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water – should clean away most mildew problems.

  3. 3.Soap Scum

    If you have hard water, you may notice mineral deposits and soap scum forming over grout surfaces. Soap scum accumulates from minerals in the water that dry over the surface of the grout. It’s important to maintain your grout frequently to keep it clean. Follow manufacturer instructions regarding the type of cleaners that are safe to use on your grout to avoid damaging the tile or the grout. Once you know what to use, apply it frequently to minimize soap scum build-up.

  5. 4.Spills and Stains

    When you have tile installed on countertop or floor surfaces, you may have issues from spills and stains occurring. A grout sealant should prevent many of these spills from causing permanent damage. Over time, however, the sealant will begin to wear thin and become less effective. Before you notice permanent staining from ineffective sealant, reseal your grout to maintain its appearance.


    The grout resealing process involves cleaning the grout to ensure that it is impeccably clean before you proceed. Once the grout looks like new again, use a grout sealant recommended by your tile manufacturer. Make sure you keep the grout sealant on the grout only without allowing it to spread onto the tile. Allow the sealant to dry thoroughly before you use the tile surface again.


    Because your tile was a significant expense, it’s important to maintain it properly. With a little effort and time, you can avoid the frustration of stained grout and protect your investment. The results of your continued diligence will pay you back with years of beauty.

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