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How to Remove Dried Grout from Tile?

After selecting the color, size, and material of the tile you intend to use for improving your space, laying the tile, making sure it sticks, and cleaning the surface to bring out its best shine might seem easier.

Grouting porcelain tiles with the proper materials refreshes their beauty. When you find small bits or clumps of concrete or mortar left over from the grouting work, they can lessen the visual appeal. However, you have a few methods to remove dried grout from your porcelain surfaces and maintain their flawless appearance.

Table of Contents

clean porcelain tile after installation

Taking Precautions in the Grouting Process

You can lessen the effort needed to remove hardened pieces of grout from your porcelain tiles right from the beginning of your project. A poor grouting job can spoil the appearance of a beautiful layer of porcelain tile.

To prevent grout from ruining the tiles, apply painter’s tape to the painted walls and the edges of the tiles. Also, tape should be placed over any exposed trim or crevice tiles. It helps save effort later in this extensive project.

Ensure the grout mixture is powder-free, and stir it continuously while mixing. Aim for a consistency similar to peanut butter. It can help you reduce the formation of lumps and dust that could cover the tiles as you work.

Tools for Removal

If your tile loses its shine within a few days, there’s good news: the dullness is only temporary, and you can find everything needed to fix it close by.

You will need to gather many tools you previously used for the tiling and grouting to remove the haze from the surface. They include vinegar, a bucket, rubber gloves, water, polishing cloths made of terry, a rubber grout tool, a sponge for tiling, cloths made of cheese material, a protective mask for your face, and a hand-held light.

You must wear a protective face mask because the particles at this stage are tiny. The hand-held light help you find areas that are easy to overlook with the naked eye, especially when the project seems to be finished.

clean-tile-grout with a brush

Using A Steel Scourer Pad

For difficult tasks, you might need a steel scourer pad with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver.

Use the flat edge of one of such tools to get under the large clump of grout and chisel it off the tile’s surface. Porcelain tile, being quite durable, should withstand minor pressure needed to remove leftover grout on its surface.

Remove any remaining gritty clumps attached to the tile with the steel scourer. And then, remove any haze with a damp, soft sponge and baking soda.

Using Homemade Grout Remover

Many home cleaning solutions can bring out the shine in freshly grouted tiles. Using vinegar to clean grout off tile is a common method. Vinegar does not damage the tiles but can effectively remove the grime that grout might leave.

For small areas, cleaning with vinegar or another acid-based cleaner easily removes small granules and dust.

For larger tasks, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a drop of dish soap in a squeeze bottle. The mixture might irritate cuts on your skin, so wearing gloves is a good idea. Allow it to rest on the tile for five to ten minutes to activate. Then, gently scrub with a soft sponge. The homemade cleaner quickly brightens the tile and dissolves tough grout clumps on porcelain tile.

Cleaning Grout Haze

Using Commercial Grout Haze Removers

If the grout haze is tough to remove after cleaning with gentle solutions, a commercial cleaner can quickly clear the dirt that has built up.

Haze that appears days after applying cement-based grout might be harder to clean. A helpful method is wearing rubber gloves and a mask and working in small sections on the floor, wall, counter, or backsplash.

Using cheesecloth with commercial removers can quickly and easily clear the haze. Should the haze still remain, a clean towel made of terry cloth can help remove the haze when used with the appropriate cleaner.

Trying Sugar and Water

In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 gallon of hot water. Such a mixture will soften the grout, enabling you to scrub it away. With a clean cloth, sponge, or brush, apply the sugar and water mixture to the grout you wish to remove. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes, then use a heavy-duty sponge to wipe away the softened grout.

Vinegar can also soften grout, but it might stain your tiles, so always perform a test first to see if that will be the case.

clean porcelain tile after installation

Using Wood

If you’re dealing with particularly tough grout, consider using a piece of hardwood for removal.

Begin by moistening the grout with water to start softening it.

Then, take a piece of hardwood, like oak, with a square edge. If the edge is too rough, smooth it with soft sandpaper to avoid scratching the tile.

After softening the grout, use the flat edge of the wood to rub over the larger grout chunks to remove them. Once you’ve removed the larger pieces, use a nylon scouring pad drenched in water to remove the remainder. Such a process should result in a smooth finish.

using wire wool for tile

Using Wire Wool

You can use a ball of wire wool for this task.

Soak a piece of wire wool in warm water and then rub it over the grout you wish to remove.

Another option is to use a chemical grout stripper, which should be a last resort since it can damage your tiles. Always test it on a hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t etch or stain your tile. Such a method might be suitable if your grout is epoxy-based. Most grout comes from a cement base, which is porous, unlike epoxy-based grout.

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