Got Dingy Dirty Grout? This Product Will Clean It Like New (It’s Just $1.25)
Dingy, dirty tile grout. It’s a vexing problem. I know. I have a lot of tile and grout in my home, all of it white or light-colored grout. No matter how diligent I am to clean it, that grout appears hopelessly stained. It is a problem for me. And for my readers, it’s up in the questions I am often asked.
I’ve made a remarkable discovery—a product powerful enough to clean dirty, dingy-looking grout. It’s super cheap, readily available, and contains no acid, bleach, or ammonia. How cheap? I just bought a 20 oz. bottle of it for $1.25. Not on sale, not a loss leader. That’s the regular price.
First, a story
One Saturday, at least 20 years ago the doorbell rang (how weird that I remember this so clearly). There stood a young man bursting with enthusiasm. He held a bottle of his “miracle cleaner” moving right into demonstration mode to prove just how awesome it was.
Like some kind of whirling dervish, he sprayed the door frame, wiping it clean to show me all the dirt on the cloth. He sprayed the welcome mat and the mailbox. He went to work on the steps and before I knew what was happening, he walked right into the house, ready to clean everything in sight.
I looked at what he was holding; sure enough, it was awesome. That was the name of it! Awesome.
I bought a 16 oz. bottle on the spot for way-too-much-money for one reason: To get him to stop talking and leave before I became rude and insulting.
He was so annoying, but trying so hard to successful, I just couldn’t discourage his spirit. So I paid the guy and ended up with a bottle of his snake oil, which I suspected was nothing more than colored water.
I put that bottle on a shelf in the laundry room and completely forgot about it. Until now.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money to test commercial grout cleaners (they can be pricey!). And I’ve made and tested a lot of DIY recipes using everything from baking soda and lemon juice to Cream of Tartar, salt, and lime juice. Some things have worked somewhat to clean dirty grout a little—some better than others—but nothing so far has given results I would be enthusiastic to share with you. It’s been so frustrating! Then, this happened:
In deciding whether to try yet another commercial product that promised to be The One, I was reading Amazon reviews, which were all over the place. However, one review stood out to me as being authentic and helpful. The reviewer said she’d tried the subject product and found it way too expensive, giving disappointing results.
She said, “So, I decided to use what I already have, a bottle of Awesome. I sprayed it full strength on the grout and five minutes later scrubbed it with a brush, wiped it away, and rinsed with water. The dirt just disappeared!”
And that’s when it is me. Awesome. In a bottle. That guy. What are the chances I still have it? I found it in the first place I looked.
I have no recollection of packing and moving it from California to Colorado, but apparently I did because well, here it is. I couldn’t wait to give this 20-year old $20 bottle of cleaner a try.
I took a picture of a new grout test area—white porcelain tile with supposed-to-be-white grout. I sprayed Awesome on the dark dirty-looking grout, waited 5 minutes, scrubbed it with a stiff brush, wiped it off with microfiber, and rinsed the area with water. Wow!
I’ll let these before and after photos speak for themselves, taken by me, a very terrible photographer. Rather than the shadows and off color-balance, pay attention to the contrast between “before” and “after” grout lines.
This sent me into even deeper research mode on this Awesome product. I easily found the company’s website and learned the cleaner is alive and well, with a slight name change to LA’s Totally Awesome Concentrated Cleaner Degreaser and Spot Remover. Made in the USA in Buena Park, Calif., since 1983—the company is located only a few miles from where we lived. A young man selling door-to-door now makes a lot of sense.
Next, I was anxious to learn where LA’s Totally Awesome is sold. Are you ready? At Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99 Cents Only, Big Lots, and a number of grocery chains like Food4Less and Unified Grocers. It’s a regular in nearly every dollar store (and online with minimum requirements) in the country!
I couldn’t get to my local Dollar Tree fast enough. I wanted to see for myself if indeed it is a regular product there. But more than that, I wanted to see the going price. I easily found LA’s Totally Awesome All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner, Degreaser, Spot Remover, in the 20 oz. size for $1. Not kidding. One dollar.
By the way, LA’s Totally Awesome Concentrated Cleaner Degreaser and Spot Remover is available at Amazon, but many times more expensive.
Perfect stiff brush for grout
A friend gave me this handy brush set years ago. Since then I’ve purchased another so I can keep them handy. I’ve also given them as gifts! Perfect or grout cleaning, and every other household crack and crevice.
Straight up or diluted?
The labeling suggests diluting Awesome 5:1 (five parts water to one part Awesome) for cleaning grout. Call my wasteful, but I do use it straight up. I am going to experiment with a dilution in the future as soon as the grout starts looking dirty. If you beat me to it, be sure to tell us your experience in the comments below.
I can’t predict nor guarantee what your results might be should you decide to give Awesome a try. The bathroom where I tested turned out fabulous results (see above). But my laundry room? The first attempt showed only slight improvement. It took a second cleaning to bring it back to like-new.
In the meantime, I’m testing Awesome on everything washable, as promised right there on the bottle. Maybe even the front door frame and welcome mat. This stuff really is … Awesome!
I was nervous walking into Family Dollar recently, to check up on Awesome. With the way the price of everything is skyrocketing, I expected to find it still on the shelf but with a horrible new inflated price. And I was shocked—not by a high price, but a very reasonable $1.25. Not bad! Actually, very good. Thanks LA’s Awesome. One 25-cent bump in 20 years? Quite awesome.
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So I would have to get on my hands and knees to clean the floor tile? There has to be an easier way.
Well, this is about cleaning dirty, stained grout and yes that requires getting down there. But you would not do this every time you mop the tile floor.
Fuller Brush sells a telescoping handle grout brush. I use this to scrub the grout. No more hands and knees.
Can you recommend a good brush to use? Years ago I purchased one that looked like a toothbrush but was much stiffer and lasted a long time. I can never find one that is stiff enough to hold up to extended scrubbing and compact enough to hit tight crevices. Love your articles, thanks for sharing the wisdom!
Yes! A friend gave me this set years ago. Oxo Cleaning Brush Set Since then I’ve purchased another so I can keep them handy and have also given them as gifts, myself. Perfect or grout cleaning, and every other household crack and crevice.
I tried to get stains out of bathroom floor grout a while back and noticed that the vigorous scrubbing seemed to actually remove some of the grout (and the stains are still there). Does grout need to be sealed to use the brush you are recommending? (I don’t know if mine is sealed or not). Thoughts on this, Mary? Thanks for all you do, I love and appreciate your work!
If scrubbing removes your grout, it’s time to replace the grout. I can’t be sure but sounds like the grout has not been resealed properly (at least annually) and over time it has deteriorated. Search “how to remove grout” online to find the tools and technique you’ll need to do that. Then make sure your new grout is applied well, and that you use a good sealer (home improvement store), clean it regularly with non-harsh cleaner and reseal at least once a year. Six months is better.
I went to Dollar Tree yesterday and brought some LA’s Awesome home and put it in a spray bottle. I took the grout brush to the shower. I didn’t wait five minutes and I wasn’t choking on fumes. Instant gratification! I’d tried Chlorox cleaners, but with no success. The shower has been ugly since we bought the house… Thanks so much, AGAIN, Mary! I will be spreading the word on this stuff. It has a strong smell, but didn’t seem to have “fumes”, if that makes sense. I’m so happy!
Awesome is Great! Been using it for years. I too cough when I use it or Fantastic, or Clorox Cleanup with bleach, I am sure it is an allergic reaction with me so I use a mask and gloves and well ventilate.
No matter what I’ve tried my shower grout keeps getting grungier. So when I read this post I rushed to the nearest Family Dollar store and there it was for 99 cents. When I got home I noticed in very tiny print dilution ratios depending upon what you are cleaning. Tile grout says 5%. So did you spray directly from this spray bottle or did you dilute it before using it? Thanks.
Yes I used it full strength. You can dilute but it will take longer to work. Using it full strength is not harmful, but may require additional rinsing. Had it been $20 instead of $1 I would have likely started with a dilution. Hope that helps
Dilute as directed, first
I bought this product several years ago at Dollar Tree. I have been using it in the laundry room to spray spots on clothes and around my husband’s collars as a pre-wash. It works well.
I’ve seen this at the Dollar Store and was once told by an employee of one that it is indeed truly an awesome product but never tried it. I’m going to get some today. I’m curious what is in it? A secret ingredient list? Or do you have a hunch based on your wide experience of cleaning products?
Thanks Mary, you are “awesome” also!
Funny! I think I got the same guy at my door decades ago. Like a street magician, he cleaned the lime deposits off my pool tile with some magic elixir! I’ll have to check the Dollar Tree. I’m sure I can find something to clean.
Surely you are kidding about it being on the shelf for 20 years until you thought to use it???
Thank you for this excellent post! I will be going to dollar tree today.