If you want a fresh start to the new year, the natural place to begin is with a thorough house cleaning. Tidying up your physical space can help you clear some mental space for exciting new plans and projects. As you do a big top-to-bottom cleaning, no dusty nook or cranny should be safe. Still, some grime can be especially tough to clear — especially grout.

Grout is notoriously difficult to clean. By nature, grout holds on tight to dirt and grime. It’s porous, so it absorbs every bit that comes its way. Grout lines are also inset from the rest of the tile surface. As a result, quick cleaning usually misses grout altogether.

Even so, getting your grout clean isn’t impossible. There are plenty of tried-and-true cleaning methods out there that promise to get your gross grout looking good as new. In fact, you can make a paste out of ingredients you already have in your pantry. Armed with a homemade solution and a little elbow grease, you can make your grout shine and prolong the life of the tiles throughout your home.

Adobe

Recipe For Success

Finding the right cleaning solution is all about determining the type of grime in your grout. For an average accumulation of dirt, most people recommend two parts baking soda with one part water. If your grout has stains, swap the water for vinegar and combine two parts baking soda with one part vinegar. Or if the tile is fragile, mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide.

It should be noted that some experts suggest avoiding acidic cleaners like vinegar. Because of the higher acidity, they can dissolve the cement in the grout and etch the surrounding tiles, leading to more problems than dirt. Instead, a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach and one part water can banish the toughest stains without harming grout or tile.

If you don’t want to mix up your own cleanser, there are commercial grout cleaners available, too. Some even work like paint to completely renew and re-seal your grout.

Waiting Game

What’s even more important than the solution, however, is patience. You have to let the cleaning solution soak into the grout (about 15 to 20 minutes) for it to be effective. Once it soaks in, you can scrub your heart out with a stiff-bristled grout brush. Then wait again — until the grout dries — to see the fruits of your cleaning labor, because wet grout doesn’t look clean.

Adobe

Even though, ultimately, they’ll clean up your grout, these DIY pastes can be very messy. To avoid excess mess, you can opt for some mechanical assistance instead. Steam cleaners can do wonders on the grossest grout.

Do you have any cleaning tricks of your own?

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.