How to Make Dirty Grout Look New

Way back when, sometime during our kitchen remodel, I talked about replacing our kitchen floor. I’ve never liked the tile… its a subtle pinky/flesh color, it’s shiny, it NEVER looks clean, and I just generally think it’s ugly. It’s the cheapest builders grade tile you can buy and the grout looks terrible. Some horrible person must break in at night and rub dirt on it, because surely my little family isn’t this disgusting.

Dirty old grout before painting

If money was no option and I could wave a magic wand and have it done then I would pick one of these two floors from The Tile Shop. Kitchen Dream Tile Baoding Creme Brick                                                                  Boading Creme Broken Random

Aren’t they gorgeous? (Click the links to see a less terrible photo). I think I’m liking that brick one the best, I just want to reach out and touch it, maybe loving nuzzle my cheek against it. It would look SO ridiculously awesome in my kitchen, dining room, and entry. It’s natural stone, rustic, has texture, neutrals…even pops of my blue and yellow, kinda. Behold.

 kitchen with new tile

(I know, I have some serious photoshop skillz. Is that a mock-up or the real thing? It’s hard to tell.)

However, money is an issue. And time. And I just can’t justify ripping up perfectly good tile in order to spend more than we want on new floors. No matter how much I want to…I’m just too darn practical.

So, whats a poor practical girl to do? Paint her dirty grout, of course!

Paint and seal your grout in one step!

Seriously y’all, paint can fix anything. Really, I just painted my shower, so now painting grout seems totally normal. Here is the product that makes this whole thing possible, Polyblend Grout Renew. It’s a grout paint and sealer all in one, comes in a variety of colors, and only costs $12.

polyblend grout renew

I did about 400 square feet (my kitchen, dining, and entry) and didn’t even use half the bottle. That’s what I call a good dang deal.

So here is the process. It’s really simple and straightforward, except what worked best for me was the exact opposite of what the bottle says to do. So there’s that.

First things first, cause I know ya’ll are wondering…”did you have to clean/scrub the grout beforehand?”.  No, I didn’t…not even a little. Not even a simple wipe-down so I could tell myself I was proactive about cleaning the grout before I painted. All I did was sweep.

After you finish not cleaning you’ll need to gather supplies, which consist of an old toothbrush and the grout paint. Pour a dab of paint onto the toothbrush and scrub it into your grout. How to paint and seal grout

According to the bottle you are then supposed to immediately wipe the excess paint off the tile with a rag. Simple enough right? Except that whenever I would wipe the excess paint from the tile it would also wipe away about half of the paint on the grout. No matter how careful I was, the paint would rub off and I could see I was going to need to do at least two coats. Not cool. Other bloggers didn’t seem to have this problem, so who knows… it could just be an Ashley thing. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I carefully read the back of the bottle again, paying close attention the part that said “do not allow Grout Renew to puddle or dry on tile surface, wipe it off as you go”.

 But then I got to thinking… I have literally painted every surface in this kitchen multiple times, and along the way I have spilled SO MUCH PAINT on the floor. I’ve found that if I just let it dry instead of wiping it up I can peel it up really easily. So I decided I was just going to paint a big area, let it dry, and wipe/peel/scrub it up later. Like a giant grout painting rebel.

How to paint grout

I let it dry for anywhere between half an hour and three days (cause life gets in the way) and I didn’t have a problem getting it up. A few minutes before I was ready to start scrubbing up the extra paint I would run a wet rag over the area to loosen it up a bit. Then I used a moist dishcloth, gave each line a good hard wipe, and the paint came up fairly easily.

removing Polyblend grout renew

None of the paint on the grout came up though, even if I scrubbed the dickens out of it. I was pleased. The whole process is easy, though a bit tedious and time-consuming. I’m not going to lie though, I kinda enjoyed it. After working on so many hard DIY projects it was nice to just mindlessly sit on the floor, listening to music and chatting with the boys. I’m pretty sure that makes me weird, but that’s okay. I own it.

So that’s the whole process! I still don’t like my floor, but it looks so much better. Clean at least. It (the grout) should stay clean too, the paint is also a sealer so it shouldn’t stain like before.

How to paint and seal your grout

renew your grout in one easy step!

How to paint grout!

Just FYI, don’t use this product if you have unglazed tile, the grout renew will stick to that just like it sticks to the grout, and that would be bad. Also, try it the correct way first, where you immediately wipe the paint off. This way happened to work for me, but if you can get the original way to work I’m sure that would be easier.


  1. girl, i LOVE when i see your posts pop up in my rss feed. you never disappoint me! your floors look fantastic now!! just be glad you at least have real tile floors – mine are old, blech linoleum. and i can TOTALLY see your vision from your (excellent) photoshop pic – those floors would look GORGEOUS in there!! but for now, awesome job on the grout fix up! :)

  2. It looks really good, and your photoshop skills are awesome :) only recently discovered your blog and I love it!

  3. I bought several bottles of this stuff to change our blech dirty brown grout into white, and could NOT figure out how to avoid wiping up everything without wrecking what I had just painted on the grout. Now I’m excited to give it another try!!

  4. looks amazing! This is good information to file away – we have been looking at houses and while our current home doesn’t need this – some of the ones we have been looking at could definitely use this! I will definitely be bookmarking this one for future reference!
    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG recently posted..Warming up the Living Room…My Profile

  5. Love it! Our kitchen counters could DEFINITELY use a few coats of this stuff! Who puts white grout on kitchen counters? Seriously?!
    Julie W recently posted..Bits & Bobs from Here and ThereMy Profile

  6. I need this STAT! My bathroom floor is horrendous. This would help a bit but seriously, the tiles are almost 60 years old. Need I say more?


  7. Wow, it really does give that tile a new life! I had tile like that and I’ll bet I could have wiped paint right off of it too. But it had quite a slick surface.

    Great tip!
    Laurie recently posted..Holiday Planning, or, Nerding-Out PubliclyMy Profile

  8. That’s such a crazy awesome project! I’m amazed at the before/after pics!

    And seriously… you’ve got some crazy Photoshop skills, lady. ;)
    Tara @ Suburble recently posted..“Joy” String ArtMy Profile

  9. That’s nuts! I have the same bottle sitting at home [maybe a different color?] and I have yet to use it. I must’ve been waiting for you to pave the way for me ;]
    caroline [the diy nurse] recently to wrap gifts: a tutorialMy Profile

  10. Amanda Bryant says:

    Wow what a huge difference! Great job :)

  11. Fabulous results…good job.
    millie torres recently posted..The Dollhouse is Finished…Enjoy.My Profile

  12. Well I can tell you that it isn’t an “Ashley thing” to wipe all the grout that you worked so hard to put on the tile right back off!! I I used this exact same stuff and I gave up after doing one wall for that very reason. I nearly used an entire bottle just trying to get the coverage I finally did, so I have to say thank you for the tip I feel like such a dummy for not just giving that a try instead of wiping it back off right away. Heck, the tile is over 35 years old, so who cares, right? Well, actually I do because as you said money is a big part of the reason for doing this vice replacing the tiles! Our white grout had turned brownish yellow and looked so horrible due to previous owners of house being heavy smokers…Everything was yellowed and disgusting! It’s starting to look pretty good now, though! ;)

  13. Thanks for the info on the grout stain. I went out and bought Snow White color for my kids gross bathroom grout… I can’t even speculate what color it was originally. It worked like a charm your way. It would have been very time consuming to do it the “real” way. The only thing I changed is I didn’t let it sit overnight before wiping it off. I just let it dry a few minutes and then went back over with a wet cloth and scrubbed with the harsher side of a two sided kitchen sponge. And voila! Not only is my grout white but my floors are quite clean now that they were handscrubbed. Thanks again!

    • Glad it worked for you! Having grout that doesn’t look disgusting makes a world of difference, doesn’t it? I honestly hate my floor less now…it just looks…clean. It’s kinda weirding me out, haha.

  14. So, I totally have this same tile in both of our bathrooms and I hate how dirty it looks! I bought some of this grout renewal magic and I had the SAME problem! I had to go back and do some of the areas because it wiped off way too easily. I also left it for a few days and hubby ended up scraping it off (I would’ve eventually gotten to it ;) Weird, but I am so happy with how it looks now!
    Tara recently posted..Just a Little UpdateMy Profile

  15. Awesome! I bought this stuff months ago, and just never got around to it. Thanks so much for your blog! Two days before Thanksgiving, I decided to give it a whirl. Wow! So easy and what an impressive result! I never would have attempted it 2 days before the holiday. Thanks so much!

  16. Is this grout renew good for counter tops? As in ok for food to be on it? Unfortunately my kitchen counter tops are tiled.

  17. Just to add my 2c worth. In my last house I had reclaimed terracotta tiles (from a French barn, yeah I know stupidly expensive but I loved them) which were unsealed because I didn’t want my dogs to slip on them. They got filthy and the grout even more so. I developed a system which renewed them completely. I made a strong mix of biological (enzyme, I have no idea what you call it in the States) powder and hot water. I slopped it liberably over the floor, shut the door and forgot about it for an hour or so (or even left it overnight), then I rinsed it off with clean water. The enzymes had eaten the dirt. Win!

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this project!! My kitchen and bathroom tile grouts drive me nuts, going out to buy it this week :)

  19. I just now found your blog [from Southern Hospitality] and this grout paint is just what I need! I have scubbed and scubbed but the tile still looks dirty. I am trying this product this weekend!

    Love your home and your decorating stlye.


  1. […] Wipe up the excess as you go with a damp rag, then let it dry for 72 hours. And BAM! New grout color! You can see a much more detailed how to over on Domestic Imperfection’s blog . […]

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