DIY Project: How to Recolor Your Grout

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​I sure do love a nice, bright and clean-feeling bathroom. ​I can’t count the number of apartments I have lived in where the bathroom tile just looked really gross. And I could never do anything about it while being a renter (this was one of the many moments when I knew I was meant to be a project-doing homeowner one day!). Now I finally have a house that I adore — although not everything made the cut during our renovations. This super simple technique — of basically repainting the grout without having to redo all of your tile — came to my rescue. Read on below to learn how! –Erica Loesing

Photography by Kimberly Murray

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Tools and Materials

-Polyblend GroutRenew
-Narrow paintbrushes
-Toilet paper
-Quite a bit of time (So, maybe your favorite show to binge-watch…)

I had previously tried everything under the rainbow to clean this grout. I think it was originally a light beige? But it had been stained and who knows what else over its years. I finally found Polyblend GroutRenew at my local hardware store and decided to give it a try.

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Magic! It’s inexpensive (around $12), and it comes in a whole lot of colors. I decided to use the Bright White in the shower (really just to touch up a few spots) + glass block and Delorean Gray on the floors (in hindsight, I wish I would have gone a little bit lighter here, especially since it does dry a bit darker than when wet, but on the other hand, it will hopefully continue to look clean). The only prep work I did was to clean the tiled areas really well to assure the product would adhere, ​shake the bottle well, and then I chose to pour the paint into a little dish to avoid having to dip my brush down into the bottle.

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This project is seriously as simple as painting over the existing grout and letting it dry​. ​(The bottle suggests 24 hours, so you may want to work in phases if you need access to the room you’re working on.) A good opportunity to catch up on my favorite show!

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Rather than take my time painting exactly within the lines, I did each line more quickly with a little cheap brush, making sure to cover all areas, then used a tiny square of toilet paper to wipe the edges as I went. I could paint one full side of a square tile before wiping (any longer and it starts to dry). I just found this to be much more rewarding: going faster and not having to be as precise.

The GroutRenew wipes off of the tile very easily when wet, and even when it dries I could use my fingernail to touch-up if I needed. I did the same process for all areas of the tile. Keep in mind that the more contrast between your tile and paint color, the more visible your mistakes will be if you don’t wipe it clean.

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I’ve seen samples​ ​where people successfully went over dark grout with white paint, or the reverse. And all of the reviews are glowing, even over time. I completed this project months ago and it still looks just as good as when I did it. Everything the product promised has rung true so far — yay!

The most dramatic change was the glass block window. The white grout had turned more of a clay color over time (so gross), so getting that back to its intended white makes such a difference. The whole bathroom just feels so much cleaner and brighter! I then even learned how to re-caulk the tub and tackled that, too. So easy!

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In a perfect world, I would replace this tile with something really awesome, but for now, and only a few dollars, this has been such a great alternative. Good luck!

  1. Kristan says:

    Oohhh I just PolyBlend-ed the grout in our condo’s shower too. Took FOREVER — I binge-re-watched Friends — but it looked SO good. I was prepping the condo to be rented, since we were moving to a new house, but I wish I had tackled this sooner so I could have enjoyed the fresh new look myself!

    Note: I also used Bright White, and I feel like it came out ever-so-slightly gray. Not a big deal, but I’m curious if yours was the same?

    As for re-caulking, I thought applying the new stuff was easy enough (but sticky!). What I found more difficult/annoying was getting all the old caulk out…

    1. Seriously – thank God for Netflix! But no! I felt like my Bright White turned out nice and white. Were you applying it over a really dark color, or that was just the color that came out of the bottle? Was there an expiration date or anything?

  2. missannethrope says:

    Looks fantastic! Can you do this over ancient grout that has mold that never comes off, no matter how many innovative and alternative methods you use, or does the grout need to be replaced?

    1. YES! I couldn’t tell why my grout was so discolored, and I’m sure I painted over some gross things. Like you, I had tried everything to clean it. So especially if it’s clean, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Read the bottle for all the info, but I’ve definitely seen others use it over gross grout! :)

  3. Amazing! This is my problem. I’m hoping to change my white tile floors someday, but I’ll give this a try in the meantime :)

  4. Christina says:

    I’ve used Polyblend both to clean up old grout and to dye new grout (which didn’t end up as black as it should have been) and I found that an old toothbrush did a really good job as well. Definitely went faster than when I tried a small paintbrush – you just have to do small sections and clean up while you work!

    1. Yes, I definitely found that doing small sections and cleaning up along the way worked the best. My brush went pretty quickly since I wasn’t trying to be perfect, but I’m sure a toothbrush works great, too!

  5. rktrix says:

    Nice! Amazing the difference it makes.

    Regarding the glass block grout – those appear to be iron oxide stains. That would be from the reinforcing wires in the grout getting wet, and the rust leaching through the grout. Yuck! You might consider looking at the exterior of the block (if you can) and making sure it’s in good shape and is treated with a recommended breathable sealer. Otherwise, be ready to re-treat as you have every so often.

    1. I wouldn’t be at all surprised! Our house is from the 1920s, and we’re not sure how long we’ll be in it. It seems pretty solid, but I’ll definitely keep this in mind, thank you!

  6. Leslie says:

    Love this stuff! It does take forever to do, but it makes such a big difference! When most home DIY jobs are full of hidden costs you didn’t expect, it’s nice to be able to spend about $20 for a bottle and brush and be done with it.

  7. Pat Schwab says:

    Great article. We recently installed tile in the shower/bathtub area which looks so much better than the tub surround but we have a glass block window which could use this treatment. Thanks Pat S

    1. I felt like the glass block made the biggest impact! Hope it works for you!

  8. Tracy O says:

    Thank you for this post which is a wonderful public service!!!! After trying every cleaner including special cleaners for grout – which did not work at all – I used this and it worked so well that I keep poking my head into the bathroom to get a glimpse of the clean! Hooray! I used the cap of the bottle to put the grout in. I used tiny, hard bristle, straight bottom brushes similar to stencil brushes (Home Depot has them in the paint section – a set with clear handles). There is a competing product available, but I noticed that it doesn’t contain sealant so if you used it you would have to add a step (which I can’t imagine – this truly does take forever). Again, thank you!

  9. Annie says:

    I kept getting distracted by your nail color, which is amazing…What is it??!

  10. C says:

    This looks so great! Can you use regular cleaner or do you have to use a special cleaner? Can’t wait to try it!

  11. P says:

    I actually cleaned my grout last weekend using this amazing product that turned my grout whiter than your photos. Genesis 950. I originally bought it to clean up pet stains but it said for use on any surface so I tried it on the tiles in the bathroom and voila! Did the same with the kitchen the next day. I would feel weird painting over dirt when you could actually clean it.

  12. Jill says:

    This is such a great post. Thank you. I went out to Home Depot and bought an additional item that I think is a HUGE timesaver: a plastic squeeze bottle with a roller sized just for grout lines. HDX Grout Sealer Roller Applicator. It made the big areas super easy and I just had to trim the edges and corners by hand (I used Q-tips). I highly recommend it! Home Depot sells it in the same tile aisle as the grout cleaner. I bought snow white color color to go over dirty grey/brown/pink colors. Two coats and it looked brand new.

  13. Kymberly says:

    when I bought my house I thought all the bathrooms were regrouted…they looked so fresh and new. NOT SO…I found a bottle of this product in less than a year it was peeling off the shower floor. So far it has stayed nicely (5 years) on my walls…but inside the shower I have spent hours upon hours peeling this up …will eventually have to re-grout :(

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