5 On Your Side

Many grout cleaners don't deliver on made-for-TV promises

Posted July 17, 2013

Despite making big claims about their ability to make tile grout look like new, many bathroom cleaners tested by Consumer Reports don't live up to the hype provided by their infomercials. 

Grout Bully, for example, claims to "clean, renew and redesign" grout for just $10 a bottle. Consumer Reports testers discovered it wasn't quite that simple. 

"It was really hard to get the excess off," ShopSmart's Sue Perry said. "It kept smearing and it left a film that stuck to the tile."

Test photos showed that Grout Bully hid the mold and mildew at first. After about two weeks, however, pictures showed the mold and mildew growing back. 

Groutinator's infomercial also touts ease of use. For $10, consumers get two coarse erasers with a sharp edge. The product is designed to function like sandpaper on dirty grout. 

Consumer Reports' testers found that Groutinator wasn't easy to use or quick for cleaning grout. Test photos taken after two weeks showed mildew and mold growing back.

"It's really just good, old fashioned elbow grease," Perry said. "And you have to constantly re-sharpen the edge, especially when you're working with narrow grout lines."

The first step to having cleaner grout, according to Consumer Reports, is to add a sealant when the tile is installed. That can make grout more resistant to dirt and stains. 

Homemade grout cleaner may also be worth a try. Dip a toothbrush into a solution of one part bleach and six parts water, and then go to work.


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  • lorawatson Jul 23, 2013

    I have used X14 and it works fairly well. But the odors are strong so make sure you have plenty of ventilation.

  • superman Jul 18, 2013

    I have found that a strong bleach solution is the best long term fix for mold inside the house or outside.