Remember when you first tiled your bathroom or added a neat kitchen backsplash? The gleaming white grout looked great, didn’t it? Now though, after a couple of years of daily showers or washing dishes, it’s starting to look far less attractive. It’s likely pink in some places, black in others and off-white everywhere else.
In this situation, pink is good. It means you can clean the grout knowing the moisture hasn’t caused any damage under the surface. But, brown or black stains show the area is mouldy. When the grout’s mouldy, the best solution is to remove and replace it. I’ll explain how to do that at the end of the article, for now, let’s look at some of the ways you can revive the grout without the hassle of re-grouting.
1) Warm water and an old toothbrush
The simplest solution is warm water and a stiff-bristled nylon brush (an old toothbrush will do).
This method will only work on the lightest of dirt and stains. For more stubborn marks, add some washing up liquid to the warm water.
- Put some warm water into a spray bottle and cover the area you want to clean.
- Take your brush, and using a circular motion, rub the dirt and stains from the grout.
- Apply elbow grease if none of it is shifting.
2) Use a specialist tool like a Fuginator
If the warm water method doesn’t work, and you don’t mind spending a little cash, there’s a useful tool on Amazon called a Fuginator.
It works by stripping away the top layer of grout to get rid of the dirt and any superficial mould. Removing the top layer exposes the clean area below and makes the grout nice and white again. A lot of people are leaving rave reviews about this product, so it might be worth trying if your tiles are particularly mucky.
By the way, you can use a Fuginator on any grout – not the just the stuff in your bathroom.
If you try this tool, because you’re removing the top layer, you should spray on or apply grout protector afterwards to protect the grout from dirt, oil and water.
3) Use a grout reviver pen
Another solution for reviving white grout in your bathroom is to use a grout reviver pen. They’re very effective and quite cheap for one, but you may need more than that if you have a lot of grout to cover.
The pack will include instructions on how to use it but I recommend the following:
- Use the warm water and brush method mentioned above to clean the grout. Make sure you remove as much dirt as possible.
- Use a towel or cloth to to dry the tiles and grout.
- Leave the grout for a few hours to completely dry out.
- When you’re sure it’s dry, apply the reviver pen to the grout lines between your tiles wiping off any excess liquid as you go.
- Keep going until you’re done.
You may have to repeat this process several times if your tiles are badly stained.
4) Last resort – remove and replace the old grout
If you’ve tried all of the methods above and you’re not happy with the results, or if your grout is black and full of mould, you might want to remove the old grout and replace it anew.
Here are the tools you need:
- Grout removal tool (aka grout rake) and spare blades
- Close-fitting safety goggles
- Dust or protective sheets (especially if you’re working near a bath or sink)
- Ventilation or dust mask
How to remove the grout:
Start with the vertical joints, then move onto the horizontal ones.
- Using the grout removal tool, apply some pressure to the grout so the blade’s teeth dig into the surface.
- The blade’s teeth only face one way so use the same motion each time. Do not make the mistake of moving backwards and forwards across the same surface.
- Start near the middle of a tile rather than a corner.
- Be careful not to scratch or damage the tiles as you go.
- Repeat the process until the grout is removed to the thickness of the tiles.
- When you’ve finished, wipe down the surface with a damp cloth.
Now you’re ready to re-grout the tiles.