How to clean smoke stains from grout

Removing Nicotine Stains from Grout

TDS Reader Solutions

How to Conquer Debt eBook

Cleaning Nicotine-Stained Grout

We need your help. We just purchased a home. The former people were chain smokers. The grout in the bathroom is now a gross orange-yellow color. Do you have a suggestion on how to clean it?
Suzanne P.

Smoker's Advice on Cleaning Grout

Both my husband and I smoke in the house, and we use Greased Lightning spray cleaner, which seems to dissolve all of the accumulated nicotine throughout the house. I have used it on things like curtain rods, mini-blinds, and the tile walls in the bathroom. I've been told by visitors that our house does not smell like smokers live here. As a matter of fact, smokers who visit are hesitant to light up. Greased Lightning spray cleaner is available at Home Depot and also Stop and Shop. Another option may be a cleaner with a bleach additive, or spray on diluted bleach, let sit, mop or wipe up.

Try Cleaning Grout with Bleach

Pour it straight on the walls of your shower and let it sit for an hour and then rinse off. Depending on how badly it's stained, you may want to scrub and then rinse off.
Mark and Suzie

Check sale prices for Grout Cleaning Brushes on Amazon.

Steam Clean Grout

When we bought our four-year-old home from a couple that must have hated cleaning floors, the grout on my otherwise beautifully tiled floor was the primary reason I started looking into different grout cleaning methods. The best way I found to clean grout was to go the local home improvement store (in my case, Home Depot) and rent a steam grout cleaner. It made for a full day's work, but when I was finished, my grout looked like new, even in the guest bathroom where it was the worst. With some new grout touch-up and a good sealer, my wife and I now love our tile floors.

Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner to Clean Grout

Get a gel type toilet bowl cleaner with bleach. Buy the kind that is advertised to "stick" to the bowl. I use that and apply it with a sponge to discolored grout or mildewed caulking and leave it overnight. The gel/liquid is thick enough to keep it in place. The next day I rinse it off with water and the grout is bleached white and the mildew is gone.

Cleaning Grout with Clorox

A Clorox Bleach Pen will "write" on the grout and remove the stains.
Kathryn in MLT, Washington

Related: Removing Smoke Odors and Stains from Your Home

Clean Grout with No Nasty Fumes

Combine equal parts 3% peroxide and water in a spray bottle and spray on the grout and let it dry completely before rinsing. Depending on how heavy it is, it may take several applications. You can buy peroxide at your local dollar store, so if the stain is very heavy, you might want to make the first application straight peroxide and then dilute for subsequent applications. This works better than Tilex or bleach and has no nasty fumes!
Brenda B

The Cleaning Power of Vinegar

Try using white vinegar full strength for cleaning your grout. Put vinegar in a spray bottle, spray the grout and let it soak for a few minutes and then wipe or use a small hand brush to scrub it right off. This worked for me.

Budget Sensitive Grout Cleaning

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work great and are easy to use. If that's too pricey for your budget, put one cup of vinegar into a bucket of warm water. Dip an old toothbrush into the vinegar/water mixture and then into a box of baking soda (it will foam) and scrub grout. Rinse with vinegar/water mixture.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step:

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book