What you'll need:

3. How to clean grout with a cocktail of white vinegar, baking soda and dish soap

There’s no need to hold off on cleaning your grout just because you don’t have bleach or toilet bowl cleaner handy—just head to your kitchen where you will likely find all the ingredients you need to whip up a powerful homemade cleaner. General contractor Tom Silva (of This Old House fame) knows a thing or two about cleaning grout and his technique—which relies on a combination of white vinegar baking soda and dish detergent—works like a charm on horizontal surfaces like floors and countertops. Here’s what you do:

What you'll need:

1. For this cleaning approach, you’re going to start by pouring distilled white vinegar directly onto tile grout (yes, the smell will be strong).

2. Once you have poured vinegar over all the grout you intend to clean, grab a plastic cup and add a few tablespoons of baking soda, some cold water and a drizzle of dish detergent; stir to combine. The amount of baking soda and water you use will depend on how big a surface area you need to clean. That said, when determining the ratio of baking soda to water, be sure to add just enough of the latter to produce a pourable liquid mixture (i.e., not a paste) with some grit to it. As for the dish soap, a little goes a long way.

3. Now that your cleaning solution is ready to go, proceed by pouring it directly over the same areas of grout where you poured the vinegar. You can move on to the next step immediately but for extra grimy grout, you might want to let the solution sit for 15 minutes or so.

4. Scrub the grout with a bristled brush—a toothbrush will work in a pinch, but you will get far better results from a larger, stiffer brush designed for heavy-duty cleaning jobs. Once the scrubbing is done, use a large sponge to wipe up the remaining cleaning solution and reveal your sparkling clean grout.