How to Clean Dark Grout That Has Turned Yellow? 4 Methods That Work Like Magic

We know how annoying it is when you see your dark grout turning yellow. On top of that if this is a recurring issue, then your frustration will only increase. But the good news is that if you’re reading this article, you’re already one step ahead. 

Exactly how to clean dark grout that has turned yellow? and here I’ve talked about how to clean grout sealer in details.

You can clean dark grout that has turned yellow by using mild acids like vinegar. Also, you can use heavy-duty solvents to get rid of yellow polymer residue. Sometimes, even a thorough scrubbing can clean the grout. 

Still not sure how to clean your dark grout that has turned yellow? Don’t worry! Our in-depth article is perfect for beginners. We have discussed all the solutions in great detail. 

Without further ado, let’s get into it, shall we? 

Why Does Dark Grout Turn Yellow?

Grouts are necessary to install tiles. Depending on the tiles, you can either use dark or yellow grouts. 

Dark grouts are dust resistant and don’t need much cleaning. So a lot of people opt for dark grouts. Choosing the right grout is necessary, as it’s what binds the tiles together. 

However, dark grouts can turn yellow due to a variety of reasons. This can ruin both the look and the functionality of the tiles. To fix dark grout turning yellow, we first need to know the cause. 

The most common cause of dark grouts turning yellow is efflorescence. Efflorescence is when salt and minerals migrate and form a yellow coating on a porous surface. 

Another reason why this could be happening is if the grout is mixed with too much water during installation. As a result of this yellow polymers present in grout come up on the surface. That’s why your dark grouts might turn yellow.

A less common, but viable reason could be residue caused by detergents or any other cleaning agent. Grouts turn yellow when cleaning agents are not fully removed. As a result, detergent residue builds up over time. 

Cleaning Dark Grout That Has Turned Yellow – 4 Efficient Ways

How to Clean Dark Grout That Has Turned Yellow

In general, grouts are very low maintenance. However, it may turn yellow due to some reasons. In that case, finding the solution is quintessential. 

The appropriate solution for the specific problem can help you to keep your grouts clean and nice looking.  A few solutions which we think work best are listed below:

Method 1. Using Mild Acid to Get Rid of Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a common problem, fixing it is necessary. Otherwise, your tiles might suffer. 

You can fix efflorescence by using mild acids on grouts and scrubbing them. However, refrain from using strong acid as it may discolor your tiles. 

Tools needed

The tools needed to fix efflorescence are given below: 

  • Distilled yellow Vinegar/Lemon juice
  • Spray bottle 
  • Nylon bristle brush 
  • Wiping cloth 

Now that you have all the necessary tools let’s get to the steps of cleaning efflorescence.

Step 1 of 3: Preparing Acidic Solution

Preparing Acidic Solution

First, take a spray bottle. In that spray bottle put yellow vinegar. You can also use lemon juice instead of yellow vinegar as both of them are acidic. Vinegar is also used in the process of removing dried thinset from tiles.

Step 2 of 3: Scrubbing The Grout

nylon bristle brush

Spray a little amount of yellow vinegar or lemon juice on the grout. After spraying use a nylon bristle brush and scrub the grout. 

Make sure to thoroughly scrub the grout as you need to get rid of calcium and other mineral build-ups. 

After scrubbing leave the grout untouched for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is over, scrub the floor again. This will get rid of all the build-ups.

Step 3 of 3: Wiping The Grout

grout wiping

Run hot water on the grout where you’ve finished scrubbing. After that, wipe the area well with a wiping cloth.

Make sure to dry the grout properly. Otherwise, the yellow efflorescence might show up again. 

Now, your dark grout is back to its original color.

Method 2. Using Solvent to Get Rid of Polymer Residue

Polymer Residue cleaner

The yellow polymer that is mixed with the grout often gets exposed. As a result, dark grout turns yellow. Strong solvents or cleaners are needed to fix polymer residue. The cleaning procedure of polymer residue is similar to cleaning saltillo tile.

Tools needed:

The following tools are needed to fix polymer residue:

  • Gloves
  • Strong cleaners/solvent
  • Bristle brush


To fix polymer residue you need to get industry-grade solvents or strong cleaners. You can find this type of solvents in your local tile shop or online. 

Our recommended solvents for removing polymer residue: 

Product 1- Goo Gone Adhesive Remover.
Product 2- Goof Off – Household Heavy Duty Remover.

After getting the appropriate solvent, follow the instructions on the packet. Using a bristle brush, scrub the grouts with the solvent. 

Upon doing so, the yellow residue of the polymer should go away. 

Method 3. Thorough Rinsing for Detergent Residue Removal

Detergent Residue Removal

Even though it’s not that common, detergent residues might cause grouts to turn yellow. To fix this problem we need to wash the grout thoroughly. 

Tools needed

For this method, you only need a few things. They are: 

  • Hot and Coldwater
  • Scrubbing brush


Detergent residues are removed by cleaning the grout multiple times with both hot and cold water. After that, a good brushing of the grout will get rid of all the residues. 

The easiest way to do this is by using a good shop vacuum. But in case you don’t have it you can just rinse the grout multiple times to get rid of yellow detergent residue. 

Sometimes these residues can collect on the tiles. You may only notice this while making matte tiles glossy.

Method 4. Using Grout Sealers

Grout Sealers

Another effective way to get rid of recurring yellow residue on grouts is to use a grout sealer. By sealing the grout, no mineral or polymer residue will gather on the grout surface. 

Tools Needed:

To seal the grout using grout sealers you need the following tools: 

  • Gloves 
  • Grout sealer 
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Application brush 
  • Fan

Now with these tools, you can easily seal the grout for future yellow residue. 

Step 1 of 3: Cleaning the Grout

To apply the sealer first you need to clean the grout. Get rid of the existing yellow residue by cleaning it thoroughly. 

Using hot water rinse the grout. After that use a scrubbing brush to scrub the mineral buildup.

Step 2 of 3: Applying the Grout Sealer

After scrubbing the floors, dry the tiles properly. Follow the instructions on the package and use an applicator to apply the grout sealer. 

For this step make sure to wear gloves as the grout sealer is harmful to the skin.

Step 3 of 3: Dry the Grout Sealer

After applying the grout sealer, wait for it to dry down. Ideally, you need to wait for 20-30mins for the grout sealer to completely dry down. 

Once you can walk over the grout without getting it on your feet your grout is sealed. In this way, by using a grout sealer you can clean dark grout that has turned yellow. 

These are all the ways you can clean your dark grout that has turned yellow.


Question: Why does my dark grout keep turning yellow repeatedly?

Answer: If your dark grout turns yellow repeatedly even after cleaning then water might have been trapped under your tile grout during installation.

Question: Does keeping your floor tiles wet make your dark grout turn yellow?

Answer: Yes, moisture is one of the main causes of your dark grouts turning yellow. Moreover, the calcium in water builds up over time on the grout. As a result, your tiles will have yellow residue.

Question: What’s the permanent solution to making your grouts darker?

Answer: You can stain the grout with a dark color. After that use a grout sealer to seal your dark grout. This will ensure that no moisture or minerals can build up on your grout.


That’s the end of our segment. We hope we could teach you something new. If something goes wrong make sure to call a professional. 

If there are any other questions regarding how to clean dark grout that has turned yellow, let us know down below. 

Until then stay happy and healthy. Catch you next time! 

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