How To Clean Dark Grout That Has Turned White. What pros say

Dark grout lines can be a gorgeous addition to any tiles, but the white residue that builds up on the grout is less attractive. If you have noticed that your dark grout has started to turn white, here are some cleaning methods you can try.  

You can clean your dark grout lines with simple solutions using everyday household products such as water, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon juice. You can also purchase cleaning products for particularly tough cases. 

Having your dark grout lines turn white can be frustrating. In this article, I will go over methods you can use to clean your grout lines and make them look as good as new!  

Method 1: Scrub With Water and a Stiff Bristled Brush

If you’ve noticed that your dark grout has turned white, the first thing you will want to try is simply scrubbing the grout with water and a stiff-bristled brush. A stiff-bristled brush, such as an old toothbrush, will help remove the dirt and any buildup of efflorescence on the surface of your grout. 

In many instances, this scrubbing method is all you will need to remove the efflorescence buildup from your grout. However, if this doesn’t work for you, you may need to move on to a more potent cleaning agent. 

Method 2: Use a Mixture of Vinegar and Baking Soda

One of the most popular grout cleaning solutions is a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. This includes a two-step process that is easy to do and involves ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. 

To use this cleaning method, you should: 

  • Step 1. Create the solution: Create a one-to-one solution of water and plain white vinegar 
  • Step 2. Spray the area: Spray it generously on the affected area
  • Step 3. Scrub the grout: After letting the mixture sit for at least five minutes, scrub it with a toothbrush or a stiff-bristled brush.
  • Step 4. Rinse the grout: Then, rinse the area with warm water.

For particularly tough areas, you’ll want to incorporate a baking soda mixture that will react with the vinegar to further clean the grout. Tho clean with this method, you should: 

  • Step 1. Make the mixture: Create a paste-like mixture using baking soda and water
  • Step 2. Apply the mixture: Apply to the grout line
  • Step 3. Spray the vinegar and water: Spray on the vinegar and water solution
  • Step 4. Scrub the grout: Scrub the grout, rinsing with warm water when you finish

● Use Some Lemon Juice for Extra Acidity

If your grout is extra tricky to clean, you may want to consider adding lemon juice to your vinegar and baking soda mixture to provide some extra acidity. 

Acidity is one of the best ways to clean efflorescence. Adding lemon juice to your cleaning solution is a quick and easy way to add more acidity before moving on to more robust chemical solutions. 

Method 3: Try Diluting Hydrogen Peroxide

If you don’t have any vinegar and baking soda on hand, you can also try diluting hydrogen peroxide with water and using that solution on your grout lines. Simply spray the solution onto the grout line and scrub with the same stiff-bristled brush. 

However, it is essential to note that hydrogen peroxide can act similarly to bleach and ruin the color of your grout lines if misapplied. Make sure to test a small area first, and don’t leave the solution on your grout lines for too long.  

Method 4: Use Toothpaste and an Old Toothbrush

Even if your cabinets are looking pretty bare, you’ll probably at least have toothpaste on hand! Toothpaste can act as a grout cleaning agent due to its abrasive properties. There are two ways to use toothpaste as a grout cleaner.

The first method is to apply the toothpaste to a damp toothbrush or stiff-bristled brush and scrub the grout lines in a circular motion. This will help break up the grime on the grout, leaving your grout lines as pristine as they were before. Remember to rinse the grout off with warm water when you are done! 

Another method is to use the toothpaste as a mask for the grime and clean it off with a lemon water solution. For particularly tough cases, you should apply the toothpaste to your grout lines and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing. Using a lemon water solution here will give you the extra benefit of using acidity, which will help you achieve those clean grout lines. 

If you choose to use toothpaste to clean your grout, make sure to use plain white toothpaste and not a gel or colored paste.

Method 5: Get a Grout Cleaning Product

If the white residue is still visible after trying these at-home cleaning methods, it may be time to bring in a stronger, chemical cleaning solution. 

Grout cleaning products can be purchased online or at any store that sells home improvement products. Depending on the issue you are experiencing, there are different types of cleaners, so be sure to get a solution that works with your grout color and the problem you are facing. 

It is easy to harm your grout with these harsh chemicals if you misuse them, so follow all directions listed on the product. 

Don’t Forget To Seal the Grout After Cleaning It

After cleaning your grout, you’ll want to be sure that you properly seal it to prevent any future efflorescence or other issues. There are a variety of products available on the market that allow you to seal the grout yourself. 

I recommend using the AQUA-X Grout Sealer from Amazon. This sealer is easy to apply – all you need to do is spray it on and wipe it off! It is professional grade and gives a clear finish, so it will not ruin the appearance of your tiles.

Alternatively, you can also hire a professional to ensure the job is done correctly. 

Sealing your grout is the best way to prevent future grout issues and is an essential last step no matter which cleaning method you use above. 


If your dark grout has started to turn white, it’s likely due to efflorescence. Luckily, there are several cleaning methods available that use products you likely already have in your cabinet. 

While the most popular solution involves vinegar and baking soda, you can also use other products such as lemon juice, toothpaste, and hydrogen peroxide in a pinch. However, if nothing seems to be working, you may need to try harsher chemical products to get the tiles clean. 

No matter which cleaning method you choose, make sure to seal your grout at the end to prevent future issues.

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