How To Clean Dirty Backsplash Grout

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

The backsplash in your kitchen takes a beating: It’s regularly exposed to water, sauce, grease, steam … the list goes on. Although the tiles themselves can usually be wiped clean pretty easily, the grout that holds the tiles in place is fairly porous, so it stains easily and is harder to clean.

There are plenty of powerful (and stinky!) cleaning products on the market dedicated to this tricky spot, but if you’re trying to keep that stuff out of your kitchen (and most of us are, these days!), you may be interested in a DIY alternative.

You just need to create a mixture that’s part de-greaser, part stain lightener, and part scrubber, and then you can get in there and start working! Even the dingiest grout can get shockingly bright with the right combo.

What is that right combo, you ask? Fresh-squeezed lemon juice, baking soda, and white distilled vinegar. You see, lemon juice is high in citric acid (which breaks apart tough stains), baking soda is a natural abrasive (which can get into little nooks and crannies), and vinegar cuts grease. Together, this combo can get the job done — and you don’t have to introduce anything into your kitchen that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.

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How To Clean Dirty Backsplash Grout


  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • White distilled vinegar


  • Bowl
  • Toothbrush or another bristled scrubbing brush
  • Microfiber cloth


  1. Make the paste: Combine 1 part lemon juice with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts baking soda. (Don’t be alarmed — it will start to fizz a little!) Then add more baking soda, a little at a time, until the mixture becomes a paste. You will need a lot of baking soda, so just keep adding!
  2. Apply to the grout: Use your fingers to smear the paste onto the grout. You don’t have to be super precious about it, and it’s fine if the stuff gets on your tiles too. Let it sit for up to one hour.
  3. Get scrubbing: Break out an old toothbrush or another bristled scrubbing brush and scrub a small area of the grout. Scrub until it’s really clean!
  4. Wipe: Dip the corner of a microfiber cloth into warm water and wipe the area. Then, move on to the next zone.


  • This may be a tough job the first time around — especially if you’re in a home with older tile that hasn’t been cleaned in a while — but once you’ve done a deep clean, it will it be easier to clean the next time.
  • Think beyond the kitchen! This works on tiled flooring and showers, too!