Dear Home-Ec 101,
I just read your post about scrubbing tile floors. I need to do this! I’ve swept and mopped for three years on my tile floors, and I’ve been knowing I need to do something to make the grout white again. I did the test to see if my grout had been sealed. It hasn’t! Is this why it turned brown? I feel like a terrible housekeeper! Is it too late to seal the grout after three years? Will I be able to restore them to white again? I’m looking forward to your future posts!
Grody in Groton
Yes, you can make permanently stained grout look white again! I want to warn you the solution is a little labor intensive -especially in a large room like a kitchen, but the payoff is high.
First I want to remind you that grout is very porous and this why it stains so easily. You can certainly try to remove some stains, but sometimes the stain removal process can damage the grout itself. Personally, I have no interest in replacing grout, if I can at all help it which leads me to the solution for stained grout.
Stain your grout, but this time do it on purpose.
Since grout is porous, it will also accept an application of grout colorant. Grout colorants comes in a variety of colors and application methods. Some grout colorants expect you to apply with a paint brush -I do not have a steady hand, so that sounds like a nightmare for floors with tiny tiles and grout lines. There are also sponge rollers and pens. The brush application method is probably the most economical, but the pen really appeals to me.
This video has annoying background music but shows how the colorant is applied:
Thoroughly clean the tile and grout before using the colorant and have a damp rag ready to immediately wipe up any colorant that lands on the tile instead of the grout. Just like with regular paint, it’s much easier to deal with immediately than to wait.
Please keep in mind that grout colorant will quickly be absorbed by unglazed tiles, as they are nearly as porous and stain friendly as the grout itself.
Some grout colorants are also sealers others will have to be sealed after application.
Depending on the size of the room you’re looking to restore, this is a fairly inexpensive home improvement. Your biggest investment will be the time involved. Be sure to follow the package directions carefully for best results.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.