Rating as-seen-on-TV grout cleaners

Rating as-seen-on-TV grout cleaners »Play Video

If dirty grout in your bathroom drives you crazy, you may be tempted to try some of those miracle grout cleaners you've seen advertised on TV. Well, Consumer Reports was, too, and it has a few things to tell you before you place your order.

Can you really get sparkling grout with ease using Grout Bully? It costs $10 a bottle, and the commercial says, "Simply line up Grout Bully with your grout line, press down gently to apply, wipe off the excess, and voila."

But Consumer Reports found it was really hard to get off the excess. It kept smearing, and it left a film that stuck to the tile. It did hide the mold and mildew at first. But just 12 days later, the mold and mildew was already growing back!

So how about another As-Seen-On-TV grout cleaner-the Groutinator? For $10 you get two different-sized coarse erasers with a sharp edge that works like sandpaper on dirty grout. Consumer Reports found that it isn't easy, and it isn't quick! It's really just good old-fashioned elbow grease. And you have to constantly re-sharpen the edge, especially when you're working with narrow grout lines. Two weeks after cleaning mildew was already growing back.

So neither of the as-seen-on-TV grout cleaners offers the perfect solution. Consumer Reports says that when you're grouting, adding a seal can make it more resistant to dirt and stains.

There's also a good homemade grout cleaner that's worth a try. You dip a toothbrush into a solution of one part bleach and six parts water, and get to work! Be aware that there can be fumes, so be sure you have good ventilation.