Best Floor & Grout Cleaners
The messes of everyday life often mean the floors inside our homes often play host to dirt, grime and the remnants of old spills. Finding the right hard floor cleaner can restore your surfaces to their former glory. The right store-bought hard floor cleaner can make your floors spick and span, while keeping them protected.
Designed specifically to clean grout, the Long Life Grout Cleaner transforms grout from drab to sparkling.
Easy to use
Older stains are harder to remove
- Value for Money5.0 (1)
- Ease of Use5.0 (1)
Promising to make grey grout a thing of the past, Selley's Grout Stain Whitener is a 280mL tube of foam designed to whiten stains, and prevent mould re-growing in grout.
- Value for Money2.3 (3)
- Ease of Use2.7 (3)
This fast-acting cleaner from Bondall is made to remove dirt, grime, grease and oil caked on tiles and grout - while using gentle, water-based, biodegradable ingredients.
Selleys White for Life is a ready-made grout that resists yellowing, staining and blackening. It can be applied in between the joins of the following types of tiles: ceramic, porcelain and stone.
Latest review: I bought this product recently. Followed the instructions exactly. It made no difference to my tiles and grout. Hopefully Selleys can come up with a better product that does what it claims to
Hard floor surfaces
Hard floors usually refer to any floor surface that’s not carpeted. (If you have carpeted floors, you can clean them using a ). Hard floors include wood flooring (sealed and unsealed), tiles, laminate floors, and natural materials such as marble and stone.
If you have more than one type of these hard floors in your home, it may be possible to source a multi-surface cleaner that can clean them all. While some of these may be effective, choosing a cleaner that’s specifically designed for your surface can produce more targeted cleaning results.
Wood floor cleaners
Wood flooring often requires special attention when it comes to cleaning. Store-bought wood floor cleaners can contain abrasive chemicals that can strip the finish off timber. Whether your timber flooring has a hard finish like lacquer, a soft-oil finish, a wax finish or something else, it’s important to make sure a cleaning product is safe to use.
You may end up with worse problems than a grimy floor if a chemically-laden cleaner damages the surface of a floor.
It’s also important to avoid making the floor overly wet while cleaning, as this can cause even sealed hard floors to swell up and split.
Stick to damp mopping - which involves applying a minimal amount of water and cleaning solution to a mop, and then wringing it out before applying it to timber floors. After you’ve finished, make sure to wipe the floors using a clean, dry towel so they’re completely dry before you walk on the floor again.
To minimise the amount of wet cleaning you’ll need to do, you can also take regular steps to keep your floors clean. This includes regularly sweeping or vacuuming, and keeping shoes at the door before walking into the house.
While tiles are generally resilient and easier to clean than wood flooring, porous tiles need more care and attention. Natural materials like stone and marble are porous, and so will absorb chemicals that can etch tiles, or stain tiles from under the surface.
In these cases, it’s important to use a floor cleaner that is especially designed to be used on the surface you’re cleaning. For example, stone floor cleaners need a pH-neutral floor cleaner, as any liquid over a pH of 7 is acidic, which damages the stone.
If you have both tiles and laminate flooring in your home, it’s often possible to source a floor cleaner that cleans both tiles and laminate - but check carefully with the manufacturer’s directions first, to be safe.
Types of Hard Floor Cleaners
These cleaning products are made up of a formula that’s good to go - you can squirt or spray it straight from the bottle onto the floor. This saves you time spent measuring out water to dilute the cleaning solution.
This is convenient, as it saves you time and effort when it comes to measuring out the amount of water needed to add to the cleaner. However, sometimes ready-to-use cleaners are a little too diluted, and you may have to apply more cleaning product or elbow grease to get the cleaning job done.
Concentrated cleaning solutions are made to be mixed with water before you apply them. You can choose the desired strength of your cleaning product - adding less water for more heavy-duty cleaning tasks, and more water for everyday cleaning jobs.
Concentrated formulas are more likely to be available in bulk, which means they’re often better value for money, and they last longer before you need to re-stock them.
On the flipside, they’re a little more time consuming to prepare than ready-to-use floor cleaners.
While most floor and grout cleaners remove dirt and grime, not all of them have antibacterial properties.
If killing germs is a priority to you it may help to source a disinfectant that's made to kill germs and bacteria.
Grout refers to the substance that sits between laid tiles, in neat lines. Grout lines are made up of cement, natural minerals and water. The natural colour of grout is usually white, but grout becomes dirty so easily that no one would blame you for thinking its natural colour is a murky brown.
Grout often becomes easily discoloured. If the grout is between living room tiles or a kitchen backsplash, it could have dirt and congealed food residue caked in there. In the bathroom, grout is commonly discoloured by grime, mould and/or mildew.
How to clean grout
When grout gets gross, it’s tempting to clean it by buying the most abrasive cleaner you can find, getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing vigorously at it with a hard-bristled brush. However, this can wear down the grout itself, and scratch the surrounding tiles.
Instead, use a grout cleaner with more gentle ingredients, like products that are free of hydrochloric acids, which damage the structural integrity of grout over time.
Either use a soft or medium-bristled grout cleaning tool or a toothbrush to gently clean grout. Of course, you don’t want a brush or cleaning product to be so gentle that you’re stuck cleaning grout for hours. But striking a balance between an effective grout cleaner and one that protects the surrounding surfaces is important.
Some products are made to whiten grout, rather than to clean it.
If you’re asking the question ‘how do I get my grout white again?’ then these products may help restore your grout to its former glory. However, to be used effectively the grout should be cleaned first, in order to actually remove the substance that's causing the discolouration to begin with.
You may need to source two products - a grout cleaner, and a grout whitener, used as a second step to achieve whiter, brighter grout.
Other things to look for when buying a floor or grout cleaner
Type of cleaning job
The type of cleaner you apply will depend on whether you’re doing a deep clean or just a regular, light-duty clean. For example, are you cleaning for the purpose of stain removal, stain prevention, to provide a gentle clean, or to give floors a polished look?
If you’re buying for heavy-duty cleaning, you may also prefer to purchase a concentrated cleaning formula, and a product that lets you leave it on surfaces for a more thorough clean before scrubbing it off (rather than a quick spray-then-wipe product).
Most manufacturers will state on a label the type of cleaning that a product is made for.
Whether a floor cleaner effectively cleans your floors is its key point of success. It should be strong enough to do the job it states it will do on the packaging, without you having to apply so much elbow grease that you feel like you’ve broken your arm or lost a Sunday.
To ensure that the floor cleaner you’ve purchased is suitable for the surface you’re using it on, test it first on a small patch of floor that’s not especially visible in the room. This way you can assess if a new floor cleaner causes any damage to the surface, to preemptively avoid spreading this damage to the rest of the room.
Ease of Use
The ease of use depends on how much and how often you clean your floors. If you clean your floors infrequently, it may be worth the effort of diluting a concentrated cleaning solution for a more thorough clean.
If you clean weekly, it may be easier to source a light-duty floor cleaner that’s ready to use, or a spray-and-wipe grout cleaner that’s quick and easy to use. The way a cleaner is packaged should also make the product easy to use.
It’s also helpful to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use their product. If the directions already sound complex and time-consuming, this might be more likely to put you off the actual job of cleaning when the time comes.
Store-bought floor cleaning products that are made with mostly natural ingredients are usually more gentle and less abrasive than ones that use harsh chemicals.
Natural ingredients are also more likely to be biodegradable and grey-water safe. Packaging design also plays a role, for example plant-based plastics’ are often biodegradable and compostable, whereas regular plastic ends up in landfill.
Making your own DIY household cleaning products can also be environmentally friendly. However, when it comes to floors, it’s safer to avoid vinegar. While this popular cleaning ingredient enjoys an almost cult-like following, vinegar contains acetic acid, which can corrode porous surfaces. Vinegar can also ruin your grout.
Some floor cleaners are laden with chemicals, and can have an overpowering smell. Floor cleaners made from natural ingredients can be easier on the nose and the ability to breathe. Smelling the product before buying it can save you a future headache caused by fumes. If this isn't possible, reading reviews to see how other householders coped with the smell while cleaning can also be helpful.
If you have kids or pets at home, then safety is likely to be a top priority for you. Sourcing products with non-toxic ingredients that don’t irritate sensitive airways is important, as sometimes the smell of a floor cleaner can waft in the air for hours after being applied.
If you’re unsure, check the Safety Data Sheet for specific details on hazardous materials before buying. This information is usually available on a manufacturer’s website.
Value for Money
Most household floor and grout cleaners are relatively affordable, costing between $2-$10.
This will depend on the size of the cleaning product you opt for. If you want to compare prices, calculate how much one litre of cleaning solution costs. If a cleaner is concentrated, calculate based on a diluted litre. This can help you compare prices and get the best value for your money.