How to Clean Grout Off of Tile

If you’re anything like me, you appreciate the beauty of a freshly laid tile. But sometimes, the grout residue can really can put a damper on enjoying the new look. Whether Henry DIYs the tile or we hire someone else to lay it, we always make sure to get the tile good and clean right after the tile is laid. Today I’m breaking down the simple steps to get those tiles shining like a diamond so you can enjoy beautiful, clean tile.

What is the Big Deal With Grout Residue?

Before we jump into the cleaning part, let’s understand what we’re dealing with. When you lay tiles, grout is used to fill the spaces between them. Sometimes, a little extra gets on the tile, dries up, and you have a grout haze. Not the end of the world, but surely a little annoying. Even worse, sometimes you end up with more than grout haze, grout splatter that is thicker grout chunks and pieces and can look awful if you are using a darker grout color. These pieces will dry on your tile and could end up scraping the tile if you aren’t careful.

Gather Your Supplies

Having the right supplies is crucial when you’re gearing up to tackle that pesky grout off your tiles. Let’s delve deeper into what you’ll need.

A Bucket: This isn’t just any old bucket. Think of it as your trusty sidekick, ready to hold your water or whichever cleaning solution you choose. It’s essential to ensure you have ample liquid to dip, rinse, and repeat.

White Vinegar or Commercial Grout Haze Remover: When it comes to cleaners, white vinegar is a household favorite. It’s natural and often just as effective as commercial products. However, if you’re after a bit more punch or are dealing with stubborn grout haze, don’t hesitate to swing by your local hardware store. There, you’ll find specialized grout haze removers designed to tackle even the toughest of residues.

A Sponge: Now, not all sponges are created equal. For this task, I recommend getting a dual-sided sponge. One side should be soft for gentle cleaning, while the other can be a bit scrubby to handle those more tenacious spots.

Gloves: Safety first! While our chosen cleaning solutions might be tile-friendly, they aren’t always skin-friendly. A pair of gloves will act as a barrier, ensuring your hands stay safe and protected throughout the cleaning process.

A Soft Cloth or Towel: After all that cleaning, your tiles deserve a pampering session. A soft cloth or towel is perfect for this. It won’t just help in drying the tiles, but will also buff them to a brilliant shine, adding the perfect finishing touch to your hard work.

Dried Grout Problem Areas

After you have cleaned the grout haze form the tile, it’s common to notice small dried grout chunks that didn’t get removed with the haze. This could be a result of dropping some grout on the tile during the grouting process, and it dried before you were able to wipe down the tile. For grout like this that is a bit more stubborn, gently scrape it off using a plastic putty knife. It’s important to use plastic rather than metal to avoid scratching the tiles. It should come right off.

Rinse and Repeat

After you’re satisfied with your cleaning effort, rinse the tiles with clean water to wash away any residue. If you’re using a vinegar solution or commercial product, this step is especially important to ensure no chemicals remain on the tile.

If you still see some stubborn haze spots, don’t lose heart. Repeat the process a couple of times, and they should come right off.

Dry and Shine

Now that the tile is cleaned and rinsed, take that soft cloth or towel and dry them off. This step will give your tiles a beautiful, shiny finish, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation. Trust me; it’s worth the effort!

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