Dark grout is a popular choice for bathroom and kitchen tile because it doesn't show dirt the way lighter-colored grouts do. While they hide it better, dark grouts still collect dust and dirt and can take on stains as well. Regular cleaning is essential regardless of grout color. With that in mind, it's important to know how to clean dark grout to avoid discoloration.
My Brown Grout Turned White
If your brown grout turned white, it's probably due to efflorescence, which occurs when salt and other minerals from stone tiles come to the surface. Efflorescence doesn't come off tile easily. For some commercial or industrial areas, cleaners might use an acid-based wash, but this is not recommended for the home. Acid can ruin the tile as well as the grout, and it's not good for people either.
Use a brush with stiff bristles to remove efflorescence. This process takes time and patience. Brush the grout gently, vacuuming the residual dust as needed. Continue the process until all the white stains are gone.
Grout sealers can help to prevent efflorescence from returning and are found in any home improvement store or tile showroom. Talk to a tile professional to determine which product works best for your needs and follow all instructions on the label.
How to Clean Dark Grout
There are a variety of grout cleaners available at the home improvement store. Read the labels to find out which products work best for your needs and follow the instructions on the label. If you're not sure what product to use, a salesperson can help. Avoid using bleach or peroxide on dark grout because it will cause discoloration and can weaken the grout.
A solution of half water and half vinegar is also effective at cleaning both dark grout and white floor grout. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and apply directly to the grout. Give it a few seconds to penetrate the dirt and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Repeat as necessary.
How to Clean White Floor Grout
Unlike dark grout, diluted bleach can clean white floor grout, as it won't cause discoloration. Before applying the bleach, put on a pair of cleaning gloves to protect the hands and wear old clothes because staining may occur. As bleach is chemical, wear a mask to avoid breathing in fumes
Fill one bucket with five parts water to one part bleach. Use a damp sponge to apply the bleach mixture to the grout, adding pressure as needed. When the area is clean, rinse the sponge and wipe the tile clean.
Cleaning Colored Grout in the Shower
Cleaning colored grout in the shower is similar to other areas of your bathroom. Use a commercial tile or bathroom cleaner, following all the directions on the product's label. If mineral buildup, soap scum or mold is present, use products specific to those problems. Always rinse the shower thoroughly before using it and wipe it clean to prevent future buildup.
Deb Ng is a freelance writer and published author with over 17 years of experience in creating content for the web. Prior to her freelance career, she worked for over 12 years in traditional (print) publishing. In her spare time, Deb is an avid gardener who loves nothing more than bringing flowers and vegetables to life. She doesn't have as much time to spend outside as she'd like, however, because she's also assisting her husband with the DIY projects needed to complete their family home. See Deb's gardening and home improvement articles at LoveToKnow, Wisegeek, and Alloy.