Tips & Tricks For How To Apply & Clean Black Grout

Black grout is becoming increasingly popular in many design styles, from modern farmhouse bathroom walls to minimalistic kitchen backsplashes to reintroducing the Victorian era. The contrast dark black grout creates next to any color tile is absolutely stunning and considerably elevates the look of plain white grout. However, before committing to black grout, it is important to consider the pros and cons of this design choice.

Black Grout with Black Wavy Subway Tile in Kitchen | Gathered In The Kitchen

You want to use black grout with your tile but are nervous to take such a bold plunge. Are you absolutely positive that you want to make such a dark statement? Believe me, I know! I’ve been there! I’ve spent hours pondering my decision before actually applying the black grout to my tile!

Tile is a great way to not only add style, but a sure way to add function to a home. It’s durable and perfect for so many applications in your home. Tile can be used as flooring, countertops and backsplashes. 

Finding the perfect grout color to go with your tile may just happen to be black! And that can be a scary, bold color choice to make! In my case, I installed black matte wavy subway tile in my kitchen and my kid’s bathroom…and I didn’t want the grout to draw more attention than the gorgeous tile. So, I chose to go with black grout to match the tile. 

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While applying the grout in my own home, I learned several tips and tricks along the way that I’d like to pass on to you today! Many of these tips will help save you time and headache along the way!

Supplies needed to successfully apply black grout

Before I answer several questions and give all of my tips and tricks, let’s discuss what supplies I used to apply my own black grout.

Supplies needed to apply black grout:
- Black grout
-Empty container with a lid
-Plastic putty knife
-Disposable rubber gloves
-Blue painter’s tape
-baby wipes

How To Apply Black Grout {on wavy tile}

STEP 1: Mix grout according to package in a container wide enough for your putty knife to fit inside. Allow the grout to sit for 1 minute after mixing with the water

*NOTE: tape off with blue painter’s tape any area you wish to not apply grout to. For instance, I didn’t want to get grout on my green kitchen cabinets, so I used blue painter’s tape just as I would if I was painting

STEP 2: Using a plastic butter knife, push the grout into the tile grooves

STEP 3: Use a plastic putty knife to wipe away excess grout {because my tile is wavy, a lot of excess grout is left behind on the tile faces}

STEP 4: Using a baby wipe, wipe away the excess grout. Repeat this process until all of the excess grout has been removed

How To Apply Black Grout on Wavy Tile

The black wavy subway tile and black grout look amazing together!

Green kitchen cabinets, black wavy subway tile and black grout, gold pot filler and white GE Cafe induction double oven - modern Victorian kitchen | Gathered In The Kitchen

Things to be aware of when using black grout

  • Black grout is just like any other color grout, however, black grout stains. Do not let the powder dust get on carpet or on items that are permeable
  • Wear gloves
  • Black grout tends to take on a very dark gray appearance rather than a true black once dried

Frequently Asked Questions

Is black grout hard to install?

No, black grout is not hard to apply, in fact, it is the same grout as any other color. To apply, you use the same tools you would use for any other color. I used non-sanded grout, mixed it according to the package instructions and applied it to my tile. 

How long do you leave black grout before wiping off?

I have personally found that it is best to allow the black grout to sit about 5 minutes before wiping it off. You want to make sure that the grout in-between the tiles has had a chance to start setting up before you wipe the grout away, otherwise you will unintentionally wipe away some of the grout in-between the tiles.

If you’ve accidentally left the grout sitting on the tile too long before wiping it off, you likely have hardened grout or a haze. I’m the queen of this! Check out my tips for What To Do If You Waited Too Long to Wipe Grout.

What is the downside of using black grout?

There is no downside to using black grout. In fact, black grout is an excellent choice because it hides dirt, kitchen grime and grease and more! I have installed black matte subway tile with black grout in my kitchen and my kid’s bathroom, and it looks amazing in both rooms!

Why does black grout look gray?

Black grout can appear to play tricks on your eyes and look gray at times. Obviously, to mix a “true” black in grout form would be difficult. However, it is possible. A few things to take into consideration:

  • don’t overmix your grout with too much water when applying it
  • don’t use too much water when cleaning up
  • properly seal your grout depending on the manufacturers recommendations
  • lighting can play a big factor in the appearance of black grout looking gray. In my house, when the sun is really strong in the kitchen, the grout can appear slightly gray, and even again when it’s the dusk hours, where the black tile looks super black, you see the contrast in the grout looking just a tad lighter
  • toothpaste and hard water – “hard water” has calcium in in. What color is calcium? White. Excess splashes, water residue, etc can leave your grout looking white. Same goes with toothpaste. Seems silly, but if you have children who aren’t the best at spitting into the sink bowl, you will end up with toothpaste being left on the grout. Simply use a wet cleaning rag to wipe it clean

How to clean black grout?

Before determining which type of cleaner may be necessary to clean your black grout, you need to address a few issues:

  • where is the grout? – is this kitchen backsplash grout that may have cooking grease on it? Or is it on the shower stall floor?
  • what needs to be cleaned off? – depending on the type of grime you are trying to remove, you may need a different cleaner and cleaning tools. For instance, greasy backsplash grout can be cleaned with a soapy cleaning rag, while a grimy shower floor will likely need a soft bristle brush with a stronger solution cleaner

The best and easiest way to clean black grout is to keep up with a regular cleaning schedule to avoid grease and grime buildup.

I have light colored grout that turned black, how do I clean it?

Unkept grout or grout in high-traffic areas typically results in black looking grout. I know. When we bought house #3, the bone-colored grout in the kitchen was a very dark shade of brown. Thankfully, with my recipe for DIY Grout Cleaner: Homemade Recipe with Baking Soda and some elbow grease I was able to return the grout to its natural color.

homemade tile grout cleaner for tile floors and walls with vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water. Scrub with an old toothbrush and wipe clean with soap and water

However, sometimes even after a lot {and I mean a lot} of scrubbing it is just not possible to get the grout to return to its light color. This may be due to the fact that the grout was never properly sealed, age or wear and tear.

If this is the case, and you’ve tried every cleaner under the sun and cannot get the grout to lighten, you may choose to use a product called Grout Renew. They offer an array of colors that match the original grout color options.

Grout Renew at Home Depot | Gathered In The Kitchen

I have personally used this before around the bowls of toilets. Yeah, you can figure out why 🙂 The application process is easy and as long as you allow the Grout Renew to fully cure, it does hold up very well.

*If the black grout is caused by mold, you may need to take additional steps to address the underlying issue.

In conclusion

If you’re still on the fence with m making the decision of installing black grout…I’m here to tell you TO GO FOR IT!!! It is absolutely stunning! Take a look at the black wavy subway tile and black grout in my kid’s bathroom! *lucky kids! Their bathroom is prettier than mine 🙂

Modern Victorian Bathroom | Gathered In The Kitchen: Kohler Iron Plains vessel sink, marble counter vanity, brushed brass signature hardware faucets, black wavy subway tile with black grout and gold oval mirror

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One Comment

  1. Great tips and beautiful rooms. I’ve never used black grout, but I think it’s lovely!

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