How To Lighten Grout That Is Too Dark (Quickly & Easily!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Did you ever go in a home that was designed with the best of intentions, but almost never had the right execution? Most of us have. This often happens with mismatched paint, bad lighting, or at times, a shade of grout that is a bit too dark for the home concept that the designer had in mind. Paint and lights are easy to fix, but dark grout can be a head-scratcher. Here’s the fix you need.

To lighten grout, grab bleach and water. Apply diluted bleach and scrub the grout with a rough bristle brush. Continue to apply the bleach throughout the setup. Wait for a set amount of time, then rinse. The bleach should have lifted the color of the grout by at least three to four shades.

There are a lot of different ways to turn your grout lighter, and honestly, it’s an easy project to do. Let’s run by this a bit and cover the most common way to lighten that grout up.

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Before You Begin: Lightening Up With Bleach

The fastest and easiest way to get your grout to be a lighter shade is to add bleach to it. However, you can’t just add bleach willy-nilly. Let’s talk about how to do this the safe way.

When Is Bleaching Your Grout A Bad Idea?

Bleaching grout works well on grout types that are already white-ish in color. So if your white dulled, or you boast an off-white grout that is just a little too tinted, it’s a great choice. However, if your grout is a bold and dark color, then you may need to try another lightening method that doesn’t involve bleach.

The truth is that bleaching a bright or bold grout color like blue, red, or black won’t work well. In many cases, the color that is imbued in the grout will not react well with bleach. This means that your coloring might turn splotchy, streaky, or just turn into a color you wouldn’t want…like brown.

Since the outcome of bleaching pigmented grout is nearly impossible to predict, you shouldn’t use bleach on colored grout. Bad as it sounds, this is actually one of the bigger risks of trying a colored grout. If you don’t like the look of it, then you’re out of luck. You’re stuck with it.

What You Will Need To Bleach Your Grout

Like with most other home projects, you need to have the right gear to get the job done. A trip to the grocery store is a good idea here. Before you get bleaching, make sure that you have the following supplies on hand:

  • 1-liter bleach
  • A bucket
  • 1 sponge
  • A plastic hard bristle brush
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 cloth

How To Lighten Up Your Grout Fast

Having those warnings about grout bleaching is a good start to a project. Now that we’ve gotten that underway, it’s time to talk about how to do it. Here’s the scoop:

  • Prep yourself and your area. Wear rubber gloves and turn on the vents in your bathroom. Bleach can harm your eyes and lungs if you don’t vent it.
  • Mix your bleach solution. Most grouts will do best with five parts water to one part bleach. Use the bucket to contain the solution and stir it gently with the hard bristle brush. It’s important to make sure that the bleach is well mixed before you advance to the next set.
  • Use the sponge apply the bleach solution to the floor. Then use the hard bristle brush to scrub away at any grit and grime laying on your floor. Most of it should crumble apart. If you have a particularly bad grout stain, wait for three minutes before you start to scrub. While scrubbing, dip the brush in the bleach solution every 15 seconds.
  • Walk away from the newly scrubbed, bleached grout and let the bleach rest for a moment. Most grouts do best with 10 to 15 minutes of sitting, if you are trying to lighten up the grout. Might I suggest getting a coffee during this time? Maybe look at some funny stuff on your phone?
  • Once the proper amount of time has passed, wipe down the grout with a sponge. This removes any grout grime that may be on the floor.
  • Then rinse the grout with pure water. I pour the bucket of bleach down the toilet or in the bathtub as long as there isn’t too much gunk in the bucket. This helps disinfect the entire bathroom while I tidy up. After rinsing, wipe the area down with a cloth of your choosing.
  • Wait for the grout to dry and take a look. In most cases, a single pass is more than enough to give you the lightening effects you want. If you want to get it lighter, do another pass.

Is Bleach Safe To Use On Grout?

Bleach is one of the most caustic cleaners in a typical cleaning set, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its uses. When working with bleach, it’s important to remember that the “dose makes the toxin,” so to speak. It’s all about how it’s administered and what kind of products you’re trying to clean with it. This includes grout.

In other words, having direct contact with undiluted bleach will harm your grout and even potentially cause it to crack. Leaving the diluted bleach on for too long can also cause less-than-stellar results. Not sure if bleach is a good option for you? Take a look for cracks or signs of aging grout. If you notice cracks, don’t use bleach. This could worsen the situation.

What Can You Use Aside From Bleach?

Truth be told, some grouts may not be that good to lighten. This is especially true if your grout already looks worse for the wear. If you find your grout to be on the sensitive side, you may want to look into a sealant that gives grout a lighter look. In some cases, it may also be better to simply replace the grout with a lighter shade of grout.

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Related Questions

What can I do to change my grout color if I have pigmented grout?

Colored grout is notoriously hard to switch out. If you want to change colored grout, you will often need to sand it down and cover it with a thin layer of the new grout in the color of your choosing. Switching grout colors can be aggravating, which is why it’s better to get a professional team to do it.If your grout has been around for years, then you might want to get a full re-grouting done. This way, you can get the best possible outcome and also have stronger grout for it.

Why is my grout turning darker?

Light grout that is turning darker often has a pretty mundane cause. Most darkened grouts get that way as a result of the use of too much detergent, dust stains, or water stains. This means that most darkened grouts can be fixed by rising them or mopping them up. If you want to lighten them up a bit more, you can also use some bleach to lighten them up.Darkening is somewhat normal during grout’s lifespan. Don’t be freaked out by it.

How long does it take for a new layer of grout to dry?

This can vary based on the type of grout that you have as well as the conditions that you are drying the grout in. The majority of grouts will be able to fully dry between 24 to 48 hours. You can usually walk on the grout after 12 to 18 hours of letting it set. If you aren’t sure whether the grout is dry or not, the easiest way to make sure that you’ve got it dry is to look at the color. Fresh grout lightens as it dries.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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