A spotless kitchen is like a breath of fresh air: sparkling countertops, gleaming appliances, and a squeaky clean floor.

But in an old house like mine (built in 1941), even when my tile floor was clean, it never actually looked clean. It all came down to the grout. Despite arduous efforts to deep clean it—we’re talking scrubbing with bleach, baking soda with peroxide, and even specialty grout cleaners—it still had that same dingy look.

Replacing the tile didn’t feel like the right solution, since the tile itself was still in good condition. So I decided to paint the grout, using a product that both changed the color completely and sealed it from future stains. And whoa—it looks like a whole new floor!

The grand total to refresh my tired old tile: $15. That’s a small price to pay to finally have a kitchen floor that creates the foundation for squeaky clean vibes all around.

Here’s a before and after to show you how the grout used to look:

Grout before and after look

Photography by Trisha Sprouse (both photos)

Steps

Step

1

Just like any painting project, you have to start with a clean surface to ensure good paint adhesion. Start by giving the grout a thorough cleaning. Here’s a hot tip to save your back and knees: use a long-handled deck brush to scrub the grout. I simply sprayed the cleaning product on the grout lines, scrubbed it with a deck brush, and then wiped it clean with a mop. 

Broom cleaning tile floor

Step

2

Once the grout has dried completely, shake the bottle of grout paint to ensure the pigment is evenly distributed. Then pour a tablespoon or two into a small disposable container. You won’t need much, and this just makes it easier to dip your brush as you paint.

White paint in plastic cup

Step

3

Dip a small paintbrush or old toothbrush into the grout paint, and paint it into the grout lines with a light scrubbing motion. The difference in painting grout versus other painting projects is that you essentially want to “scrub” the paint into the grout. Don’t worry if you get paint outside the grout lines, since you’ll be wiping it off. For this reason, it’s best to work in small two-foot sections at a time.

Painting white over grout line

Step

4

While the grout paint is still wet, use a clean rag to wipe away any paint that has gotten onto the tile.

Cleaning around grout line with white rag

Step

5

Let the paint dry, and then assess whether you need a second coat. If you’re going from a really dark grout to a very bright white color, you may need to paint another. Going from light brown to bright white, I found that I only needed to touch up a few areas with a second coat.

Paint brush going over grout line

Step

6

Let the grout dry overnight before resuming heavy foot traffic (though you can walk on the floor immediately afterwards as long as you don’t step on the grout lines). Enjoy your newly refreshed floor! Easy, right?

Tip: This also works on grout for backsplashes and showers. The paint just needs to dry for 72 hours.

White kitchen with black appliances and sand tile floor

Photography by Trisha Sprouse

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DIY

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