After years of foot traffic, a tile floor can begin to look more grimy than gleaming. If the grout between your tiles was originally white, it can easily turn dingy and difficult to clean. Maybe you’ve tried some combinations of baking soda, vinegar, bleach or even steam to clean the grout. If you’re struggling to get your grout to look new again, here’s a method to try before you give up hope and rip up your beautiful glazed tile floor.
Start by giving your floor a good scrub with whatever cleaning products you normally use. You’ll want to make sure that you’re starting with a clean surface. Don’t worry if the tile grout is still stained and discolored; you’re aiming for sanitation — not beauty — with this step.
Dress the Part
Invest in some decent ergonomic knee pads (which can be found at your local hardware store). You’re about to spend some serious time crawling around on the floor you just cleaned, and your knees will thank you if they’re cushioned. While we’re at it, put on some grubby clothes (wear something you’d paint in).
Pick up a bottle of Polyblend® Grout Renew in your preferred color for about $12. It’s an all-in-one paint and sealer, so you won’t need an additional grout sealer. Depending on the size of your space, you might need a second bottle, but one bottle goes a long way. You’ll also need a thin craft brush about the width of your tile grout for precise application. You can also use a toothbrush as recommended, but if you do, keep a supply of paper towels or an old rag on hand for wiping up the excess. Be sure not to get the grout paint on unglazed tile; it will absorb the paint just like the grout.
Make the commitment not to walk on the tile for 24 hours after you apply the grout paint. Start by squirting a small amount of the grout paint into a disposable bowl and dipping the brush into the paint. Drag slow and steady lines along the grout, using enough paint to coat it. Wipe up any excess paint, especially any that gets on the tiles, before it dries. Doing every inch of grout could take several hours. Keep the tile free from traffic for 24 hours after you’re done and let it dry for at least 72 hours.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what a difference the grout paint makes. Since it includes a sealant, it will be more resistant to absorbing stains than the grout underneath. Best of all, floors will look much cleaner when the grout isn’t dull and stained. If you’re happy with the results on your floor, you can use this technique on the grout in other tiled surfaces in your house as well. Take a hot bath when you’re done to relax your sore muscles; you’ve earned it!