How to return old grout to its original white color?

kitchenladyFebruary 3, 2008

We just had our 1940s bathtub reglazed and it looks incredible. Now my problem is that since the tub is so white, my old floor grout looks quite dirty. I had cleaned it with a bleaching cleaner before the tub was reglazed and thought the floor looked pretty good, but next to this shiny white tub it looks really bad.

What can I do to fix the grout on my floor? It's light grey tiles with small white grout lines. The bathroom is quite small, so I'm willing to do anything even if it's labor intensive. With that being said, I'd prefer not to pull up all the grout if I can avoid doing it. LOL

I haven't tried straight bleach yet, that might be my next step.

Thanks in advance!

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I've used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (I used the heavy duty version) for the grout in my bathroom. House is only 5yrs. old, but DS did a number on it while potty training (need I say more). Grout looks good as new.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 10:40AM
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Don't use bleach. Your best bet, doing it yourself, would be oxyclean and a scrub brush. It won't come out stark white, but it'll be a whole bunch better than what it is. One thing you CAN do to get it to almost like new is have a grout restoration company come in and take care of it. They'll use a steam cleaner and they WILL get it bright white again.

Of course, there's always grout colorant. :-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:50AM
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Why shouldn't we use bleach Bill? Need to know because I use it for my kitchen floor; porcelain tile that has a course texture which makes it difficult to scrub. Bleach makes it a little easier but will it eat the grout?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:17PM
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It WILL deteriorate the grout. This is why I recommend Oxyclean. It does every bit as good a job as bleach will do, WITHOUT hurting the grout, or bleaching out the color.

One other thing-- It shouldn't be necessary bto use ANY detergient but maybe once a month or so. The rest of the time, plain hot hot water should be all that's needed. That's one of the terrific things about ceramic tile-- it doesn't take much to keep it clean!! Even in coarse texture, the hot water should be all it takes to loosen whatever it is, up, and then like I said, maybe once a month with the oxyclean, and that'll take care of keeping the grout in good shape, as well.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:41PM
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What do you mean when you say grout colorant? Can I use that to make it white again or would I use it for another color all together?

Thanks for the tip on the oxyclean! I'll give it a try.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:58PM
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Can I use that to make it white again or would I use it for another color all together?

Either/ or. Not only that, but it's basically an epoxy based coating that goes over the grout and makes it much easier to keep clean, as well:

Here is a link that might be useful: Aquamix Grout Colorants on line

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 2:43PM
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The grout colorant looks like a pretty neat idea! It says it seals and colors all at once. I wonder how hard it is to use. Would it be basically like painting the grout lines between each tile?

I may try the oxyclean first to see what kind of results I get from that.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I would suggest "oxycleaning" first, anyway. You want to get those joints as clean as possible to make sure you get a good bond between the colorant and the grout. As for how to use it, refer to reply#2 in the following thread. It completely changed the way I looked at colorants (as you'll see from reply #1!):

Here is a link that might be useful: Using grout colorant

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 3:15PM
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The grout colorant (am a simple homeowner) is great and easy to use. I keep it on hand for touch ups too. Just use a stiff, flat artist's brush and clean any on the tile with a wet soft cloth.

There are a lot of colors available. Have you considered matching the tile rather than using white? Even mixing the gray with white available to get a close match?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 8:37AM
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I have just finished using the grout colorant (Aqua Mix) that Bill Vincent has spoken about several times.

It was super easy to use but a tedious job to color 220 sq ft. My tile is porcelain, don't know if this makes a difference though. This was new sanded grout, no sealer. I used a stencil brush which fit the 3/16" grout line perfectly. That brush eventually wore down. I had another artist brush that I clipped the bristles down on and that worked great too. I did not wait to wipe the excess off the tiles. I colored a few grout lines then I took a little sponge, the kind that is enclosed in plastic mesh and wiped off the excess with warm water. The grout turned out beautiful and just the color I should have had in the first place. I waited a couple of hours before stepping on the tiles.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 11:27AM
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I also had very good luck using the grout colorant (sold by HD). We had laid 1,000 sf of porcelain floor tile and the grout color was not consistent - very washed out.

A professional tile person told me to use the colorant to even out the color. I did and it worked great. I used a very small tooth brush to apply it, let it dry 10-15 min, and wiped off excess with an old t-shirt. The trick is wiping it off before its totally dry, at this stage it kinda crumbles like erasure crumbs. Yes, it was a tedious job on my knees for a few days (get some knee pads!) but the results were beautiful. That was 2 years ago, in a rental, and it still looks good. Also very easy to touch up, and is much easier to clean than the uncolored grout.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:39AM
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