Tile is beautiful, durable, and generally easy to clean, but cleaning grout? That’s a different story.

Because of its (typically) light coloring and porous composition, grout is prone to staining. In a tiled entry or mudroom, dirt and grime are the usual culprits, while in the kitchen, spills are more likely to blame. Soap, mold, and mildew meanwhile make it difficult to maintain clean grout in bathrooms. Fortunately, cleaning grout effectively is possible using only common household products and a bit of elbow grease.

With any cleaning project, it’s always best to start off with the mildest cleaning solution. When in doubt about a cleanser, test it in a hidden spot—behind or under an appliance, for example.