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Unread 12-03-2019, 02:14 AM   #1
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White Stains on Dark Grout

Hi Everyone,

I'm currently trying to clean some dark grout and having some issues. This is a tile countertop in a bonus room with a bar skin. The stains are white (see attached picture). I've read a fair bit about efflorescence and I don't think I have enough water exposure for this to be the correct root cause. I've owned this house for 18 months, the stains were present when we bought it, and I have no information on any historical details prior to my ownership.

I've tried to clean with TSP and a sturdy brush - this worked ok, but remnants of the white stains remain.

The picture is an area that I have not yet cleaned with TSP however.

Any ideas on what this might be caused by or best approach for cleaning? Also, for the theme of that area of the room, I actually want the grout to be as dark brown as possible, so any ideas to darken grout will be appreciated too.

Thank you, Dane
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Last edited by Dane_Renovator; 12-03-2019 at 02:21 AM.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 04:43 PM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Dane,

Lightly scratch one of the joints with an old screwdriver tip. I suspect the grout color will be found under the white stuff, which I think will be only on the surface. Let us know.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 07:05 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Dane!

I am with John thinking that this white stuff is just on top. Hopefully that’s the case.

To care for your install, it’s best to not subject it to harsher methods of cleaning than necessary. So if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to start with the lightest or weakest method and work to the stronger methods until you’ve found it.

I’m guessing the white stuff has a surface as hard as the grout. If so...
I’d start with a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water. Flood a small sample and let it dwell for 5 minutes. Then agitate the solution with a fine nylon bristle brush for a minute. Wipe off the solution. Then rise with water and let it dry.

Ideally, that’ll do it. However, if you’ve made progress, but it’s not all the way clean, go ahead and repeat. You’re moving in the right direction. If you only made a tiny improvement, step it up to full strength vinegar. But if no improvement was made, let us know so we can take you in a different direction.

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