Removing Mildew from Grout

26 responses

  1. Cher.
    August 28, 2012

    Hi Tim, I have a problem with orangy stain in my grout which is white on white tile, and some areas have a dark stain. I assume it is shampoo build up and mold as I dont often use soap, but sometimes body washes. I am only able to clean a tiny portion of the shower stall at a time due to untratable asthma. I sprayed a very sm area today with bathroom and tile cleaner, not even H20 bleach, and couldnt breath. I had to stop right there. I sometimes will spray a soln of 95:5 H20 to O2 bleach then go back and run the shower but after reading your article I understand why that is not working...its not staying wet long enough to dissolve any matter. AHHH. Thank you.
    given that I have multiple chemical sensitivities etc I wonder if using the hand held unit form my floor steamer would be a good solution for me, using just plain water. What do you think? Thank you for offering this to people; you are a wealth of knowledge and are very inspirational.

    • Tim Carter
      January 6, 2013

      Cher, you NEED my Stain Solver oxygen bleach!

  2. Lisa
    October 31, 2012

    Tim, once the shower is cleaned, how can a person keep the mildew from returning? We live in the damp northwest and what with the humidity and people taking showers at different times of day, the surfaces do not seem to ever really dry out.

    • Tim Carter
      January 6, 2013

      Lisa, I have past columns about this. Open shower doors and curtains, shake them off, squeegee surfaces, etc.

  3. Debbie
    January 21, 2013

    I tried the bleach on the paper towel method yesterday and was so surprised this morning. It removed all of the mildew in less than 24 hours. Thank you!!!

    • Tim Carter
      January 21, 2013

      Debbie, Fantastic! If you want to do it next time with a NON-Toxic bleach, try my Stain Solver. It's got a certified organic active ingredient.

  4. Lucy
    June 7, 2013

    Thank you for this article! My main issue was stained grout from where loofahs etc hang in the shower - I would never have thought of paper towels and now I can finally clean my shower properly ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sharon
    February 19, 2014

    remind people to thoroughly clean the vinegar off before applying bleach as those two chemicals make another chemical and it is noxious!

  6. Marie
    March 30, 2014

    Thank you, Tim. ๐Ÿ™‚ Having real trouble with my shower tiles in this way. The mildew is rock-hard and nothing will bring it up. I'm going to do what you said. Bleach and vinegar sounds good to be!

  7. Tana
    December 9, 2014

    Thanks Tim. Your article saved us a few thousand dollars. Do you recommend sealing the grout once the stains have been removed?

    • Tim Carter
      December 9, 2014

      No. I've changed my stance on sealing. Sealers can BLOCK cleaning efforts if a stain gets UNDER the sealer. That can happen. Use Stain Solver to regularly clean the grout.

  8. liz
    December 28, 2014

    Going to try the bleach idea. I moved into an apartment on campus, and the people who lived here before us never cleaned the shower properly. My roommate and I spend hours scrubbing, but nothing worked. Hopefully this will.

  9. Mary Jo Harrell
    January 6, 2015

    I saw mold appearing on/in my grout. I sprayed with Tilex mildew root Penetrator, let it sit for a while, took a brush, scrubbed, rinsed, but no change in the mold or mildew. Actually the grout was beginning to break up so I purchased a clear calking and spread it thinking it would take care of it, but NOPE.
    Now what do I do?

    • Tim Carter
      January 8, 2015

      You consider contacting me in the future BEFORE you attempt to fix something you HOPE will work. Now you remove the caulk and old grout and start over.

  10. Alison B
    January 28, 2015

    I am really anxious to get the tile and grout clean in our new rental, but my tile is over an enamel tub, which is new for me. From my research, I understand that bleach and vinegar will damage an enamel tub. Additionally, I have problems with conventional bathroom cleaners (Tilex) leaving rust-colored stains when they drip down off the tile.

    I'm having a hard time coming up with a starting point. Help?

    • Tim Carter
      January 28, 2015

      Alison, why not use my Stain Solver oxygen bleach? It's Certified organic. I have many customer-submitted Before and After photos showing it WORKS! Contact me for instructions how to best use it once you purchase it.

  11. Tina
    November 12, 2015

    yes!!! this actually worked! I was convinced the mold in my grout would never come out but after the vinegar and the bleach it's completely gone! I wish I could share before and after pics! it's like magic! thank you so much for the info!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Victoria
    December 6, 2015

    Tried this and it totally work. I've been struggling with black mold on the tile for a year and this finally got rid of it. It took almost 12 hrs with the vinegar and 24 with the bleach!

    However, I seem to have a secondary (less concerning since it's cosmetic but stil...) problem - the tiles have a white haze. They look find when they are wet but they dry white. I've scrubbed with my nylon brush but nothing. I tried a post vinegar round but that seems to have made it worse - seems like something worn off on top (not a film.) Any thoughts on what happened and how I can fix it?

    I'm mostly thrilled that we aren't facing the health issues related to the mold but it would be a complete win if I can get my tile looking pretty again.


  13. Renay T
    March 8, 2016

    I clean houses, basic cleaning only. One of my houses that I've been cleaning for about 3 years was talking about having their tile shower replaced. I followed your directions and although it took about 5 hours total, it worked awesomely. I saved them from having to pay to replace theirs (yeah, it worked that well). Thanks for the info!

  14. Bevin
    July 17, 2016

    Hi tim

    Looking forward to trying this. I bought a place where there's lots of mold in the grout. But I was curious your opinion before trying, the grout the previous owner used that's molding is very coarse and sand like. Additionally, in some places the grout is wearing away, doesn't seem to be sealed contributing the mold, and isn't all flush with the tile. Do you recommend I try your cleaning steps or do I need to remove the grout and redo it entirely?

  15. Lei
    July 28, 2016

    This worked like a charm! I was amazed at the difference in my shower stall. I wish I had taken before and after photos to share. So glad I came across this article!

  16. Amanda
    August 14, 2016

    Hi Tim,

    As this is quite an old post I'm not sure if you're keeping up on it but I figure it's worth a shot. I have a shower with brown grout (intentionally), not white. It's starting to get black in the corners and I'm wondering if the bleach with make the grout white, which I do not want. Also, the floor is river rock, will this be an issue if bleach or vinegar is used on it?


  17. Anna levis
    September 3, 2016

    Why mold cause sever health problems just because of the people not take any action when they found mold in their house and after that the mold increases in growth and cause severe health issues to homeowners. They spend their day in that environment which is highly affected with the Toxic black mold which can also harmful to your health and cause a permanent damage. Homeowners never realize the affter effects of that black mold until they practically go through it. Toxic black mold cause problems such as mental disability, damaging internal organs, and sometimes a purpose of death. You can just have a quick checklist to remove Black mold without killing the environment as i have found both of the articles helpful for me.

  18. Deb
    November 13, 2016

    I followed your instructions on saturating the paper towels with vinegar and putting them on the tile walls of my shower stall. However, contrary to your claim that the wet paper towels would
    readily cling" to the tiles, all of the paper towels fell off shortly after I applied them.

    • Tim Carter
      November 16, 2016


      I can't believe your story. When I saturate a paper towel with white vinegar - -saturate means the vinegar is DRIPPING OFF IT - the paper towel clings to the vertical tile wall like wallpaper. It will stay there for hours unless you have a fan blowing air at it causing the vinegar to evaporate. Please take a series of photos showing what you're doing and submit them via my Ask Tim page. Look above in the navigation bar for that link. This may work too:

  19. DX
    November 29, 2016

    Interesting, but the man from Bathfitters that installed our bathtub and tile told us never to use bleach on it. Are there alternatives?

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