cleaning-grout-with-baking-soda-and-lemon-juice

Got Dingy Dirty Grout? This Product Will Clean It and Lots More (It’s Just $1)

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. And without fail, within a couple of years of it being new, it gets more than dirty. No matter how diligent I am to clean it, that grout appears to be hopelessly stained. It is a problem for me. And for my readers, it’s right up in the questions I am asked most often.

cleaning-grout-with-baking-soda-and-lemon-juice

I’ve recently made an awesome discovery—a product powerful enough to clean dirty, dingy-looking grout. It’s super cheap and contains no acid, bleach, or ammonia. How cheap? I just bought a 20 oz. bottle of it for $1. 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 it is 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. 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 and sure enough, it was awesome. That was the name of it! Awesome.

I bought a 16 oz. bottle from this guy 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.

awesome all purpose cleaner then and now

Search research

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! Here’s what happened:

In deciding whether to try yet one more 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 that she’d tried the subject product and found it to be way too expensive, giving disappointing results.

She went on, “So, I decided to use what I have already, 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!”

Eureka?

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!

tile floor before and after cleaning the grout

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. That says it all.

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.

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 in the country.

 

Dollar stores

I couldn’t get to my local Dollar Tree fast enough. I wanted to see for myself if indeed it’s 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.

No guarantees

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. I am repeating the process.

I’m pretty sure this is because that room gets a lot of traffic including mud, snow, garage debris—much more than the guest bath where I tested. And while we sealed the grout in both rooms at install, we have failed to re-seal once a year, as required for tile grout. Whoops. I’ll keep you posted.

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!

 

 


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.

 

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  1. Jenni says:

    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!

    Reply
  2. Nana Mary says:

    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.

    Reply
  3. Carol says:

    Hi Mary, like the previous comments I went right out and purchased this product. The first time I used it I had a coughing fit with the fumes. The second time I used it I put on an exhaust fan with an open window. The coughing fit lasted a full 5 minutes. I would caution those with breathing problems which I do not have to wear a mask along with other precautions. Don’t know if this product really is worth risking a health issue (for me anyway). Maybe outside cleaning would be best.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Perhaps you are allergic? Of course you need to be especially careful if you believe this presents a problem for you!

      However for general use I would refer others to Section 8: Special Proection Information of the product’s MSDS states:

      Section 8: Special Protection Information

      Respiratory Protection: No special requirements under normal use conditions
      Ventilation: No special requirements
      Protective Gloves: No special requirements under normal use conditions
      Eye Protection: No special requirements under normal use conditions
      Other Protective Measures: No special requirements

      Effects of Acute Exposure:

      Eye: May cause mild eye irritation
      Skin: Prolonged or repeated contact may cause irritation
      Inhalation: None known
      Ingestion: None known

      Reply
  4. Roberta says:

    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.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      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

      Reply
  5. Nancy says:

    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.

    Reply
  6. Judy says:

    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!

    Reply
  7. Gina Stevens says:

    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.

    Reply
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