How to clean grout on tile, according to experts
Stained grout can really sneak up on you. One minute you’re loving the fresh white grout in your picture-perfect bathroom and the next you’re wondering, “When did my bathroom start looking like the New York City subway?”
Thankfully, we spoke to experts on the subject — The Grout Guy, Brian McAuliffe and Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. They gave some useful tips that will have your bathroom looking like new in no time!
Why is grout so difficult to clean? | What do the professionals use? | How to clean grout without damaging tile | How to clean grout with baking soda and vinegar | How to clean grout with bleach | How to clean grout with hydrogen peroxide | How to clean grout with lemon | The best products to clean tile grout
Why is grout so difficult to clean?
Grout is made up of sand particles, making it easy for liquids to pass through and dirt to collect on the surface. According to McAuliffe, there’s actually a simple solution to keep your grout from staining in the first place.
“Cleaning is the first step to preventing the mildew from ever establishing. Water in the bathroom may evaporate but dirt does not and soap film is the biggest culprit as the dirt clings to the scum left on the grout. The key is to clean your tile two to three times a week with a cleaning product that is made for removing soap scum,” McAuliffe says.
Some great products are available at your local grocery store and do a decent job at fighting soap scum, like dish soap, Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover.
What do professionals use to clean tile grout?
“A few of the more popular and effective commercial grout cleaning options are alkaline-based products, as well as the popular oxygen bleach product,” says Peterson. Unlike chlorine bleach, which can discolor the grout, she says that oxygen bleach products will clean, sanitize and remove stains without harming the grout. “Both products effectively remove dirt and grime and restore grout to its original condition with minimal effort. “
Believe it or not, Peterson says that a lot of professionals use a homemade mixture that consists of one cup of baking soda and one cup of hydrogen peroxide. “This simple and cost-effective method truly does the trick on tile grout,” she says. “If you are using this solution in the kitchen, you can even add some degreasing dish soap to help break down the buildup of grease.”
How do you clean grout without damaging tile?
“In order to clean grout without damaging your tile, avoid using harsh or abrasive tools,” Peterson states. “Instead, it’s best to use a simple scrubber like the back of sponge or an old toothbrush as it will allow you to scrub in a precise manner to avoid the tile as much as possible.”
How do you clean grout with baking soda and vinegar?
Here’s how to clean your grout with baking soda and white vinegar, according to Peterson:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Add baking soda into a mixing bowl (there is no specific measurements for this — the amount will depend on how much grout you need cleaned).
- Slowly pour in the vinegar and mix it with the baking soda until a thick paste is formed.
- Once the paste is ready, apply a generous amount across the grout.
- Allow the layer of paste to sit on the grout for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once the 5 to 10 minutes is up, simply rinse the area with warm water to get rid of any leftover residue.
How do you clean grout with bleach?
Want something a little stronger? We get it! Peterson suggests this simple method:
- Old toothbrush
- Mix the bleach products with warm water (adding water allows the bleach to release oxygen that will lift dirt and stains from the grout).
- Apply a thorough layer of the solution to grout lines using a damp sponge.
- Let the solution soak for around 20 minutes.
- Once the solution has had time to soak in, scrub the grout lines with an old toothbrush.
- Rinse the area with warm water to get rid of any leftover residue.
How do you clean grout with hydrogen peroxide?
Peroxide is another household do-it-all ingredient. Here’s how Peterson suggests using it to clean your grout.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of baking soda.
- Pour the mixture directly onto the grout lines.
- Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before wiping away with warm water.
How do you clean grout with lemon?
Use lemon juice in your DIY recipe for a little extra acidity.
- Two teaspoons cream of tartar
- Lemon juice
- One bottle of hydrogen peroxide
- Combine the cream of tartar with the lemon juice to make a thick paste the consistency of runny toothpaste.
- Pour some hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray the grout to get rid of mold and mildew.
- Reapply if necessary, scrub and rinse.
- Use a small stiff-bristled cleaning brush and apply the homemade grout cleaner to the area and scrub the grout. This is when you put some muscle into it.
- Let the solution sit on the grout then rinse and wipe dry.
- Repeat until you reach the desired level of brightness.
Aside from cleaning the tiles once a week with vinegar, McAuliffe strongly suggests that you treat the grout with a sealant to prolong the life of the tiles, “Reseal your grout every one or two years and you should be good moving forward.”
The best products to clean tile grout
Ajax Powder Cleaner with Bleach
This handy powder cleaner is a classic for a reason: it’s very effective! This version has bleach to really get things glistening. It does wonders for tile and grout on horizontal surfaces, but is a little harder to use on vertical surfaces.
Clorox All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach
This long-time favorite gets the job done easily. Just take it from the nearly 17,000 Walmart and Target shoppers who rated it five stars!
CLR Brilliant Bath Foaming Spray
This impressively-rated foaming spray is not only tough on your grout, it’s safe to use on glass, shower heads and even stainless steel!
OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set
This OXO brush set helps get any DIY or store-bought cleaner into every nook and cranny of your grout, with two sizes to choose from, depending on what you’re cleaning.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover
Let’s face it: mold and mildew thrive in the bathroom thanks to its damp, humid environment. Luckily, this spray from Tilex helps banish all that gross stuff — and it’s great for all over your bathroom, not just your grout!
Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber
We’ve written about this little miracle tool before, but it bears repeating: this is a power-packed product that will return your grout to good as new.
How to Deep Clean Grout and Tile
The grout that surrounds bathroom tiles can become discolored by mold, mildew, dirt, or spilled personal care products. The tiles themselves are made of durable material, easily maintained and cleaned, but keeping the grout between them looking pristine can pose more of a challenge. Learn the best methods to protect and preserve your grout while maintaining the condition of tiles.
Why Grout Can Be Hard to Clean
The grout used for tile installation is a porous mixture of cement, sand, and water, and is often light in color, making it very prone to stains. Common culprits in bathrooms include mold, mildew, dirt, and spilled products.
Harsh cleaners like heavy-duty grout products or chlorine bleach may remove stains, but these solutions can also break down grout. Used over time, these caustic chemicals may even make it more likely that you’ll need to re-grout, or worse re-tile, before you’re ready to.
Grout and Tile Cleaning Methods
The best way to keep grout clean is to regularly spray and scrub tiles with water and gentle household ingredients. By starting with these lower-impact methods, and using them more frequently, you may be able to prevent stains early and avoid progressing to more powerful and potentially damaging treatments.
Scrub with Warm Water
Start grout clean up with warm water and a stiff-bristled brush. You may find it helpful to fill a dish tub or use a spray bottle for pressurized, targeted application. Scrub grout in circular motions to loosen up dirt and grime, repeating the process multiple times before resorting to more powerful solutions.
If you have one, a steam mop can also serve as an easy, very, and environmentally friendly way to clean grout. This appliance releases heated water as steam to help lift stains, particularly in combination with targeted scrubbing. These methods can also be intensified with the use of safe, do-it-yourself household cleaners.
Vinegar is a non-toxic substance that can be very effective on grout. Dilute the acidity by mixing together equal parts vinegar and water and use a brush or spray bottle to apply the mixture to grout. Wait five minutes for the mixture to sink in before scrubbing in circular motions with a brush.
Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda and water make a gritty, powerful satin-combating paste. Applied with a stiff-bristled brush or sponge, this paste can help buff away grout stains, reducing effort. Baking soda also has inherent stain-fighting properties, particularly when combined with vinegar.
If baking soda and water alone are not enough to remove stains, apply this paste to grout and spray with vinegar and wait for a foam to form on the grout surface. This foam has a stain-lifting effect, particularly if you wait a few minutes before starting to scrub.
Hydrogen peroxide is another gentle, bubbling solution that can eliminate stains, mildew, and mold from the grout in a bathroom. Try using hydrogen peroxide alone, applied with a spray bottle or cloth, then scrubbing grout with a brush. For stronger stains, it can also be combined with baking soda to form a stain-blasting paste. Just remember that peroxide can also discolor hair: Make sure not to get in the way if you spray!
Oxygen-based bleach is less harsh than chlorine bleach making them a good choice for stain-treating grout without causing as much damage over time. Depending on the formula, you may need to mix oxygen bleach powder with water or use a spray treatment on grout.
Allow oxygen bleach to sit on the grout for 10 to 15 minutes prior to scrubbing for the best effect. Ventilate the bathroom as much as possible during application and be sure to rinse the grout afterward so that dirt does not settle back down into crevasses.
Grout Cleaning Products
Products that are marketed as being formulated for grout may be harsher than the preceding substances, but these solutions are also often specialized for the job. If you do not regularly clean grout, or if humidity or an extreme mess can’t be countered by more gentle approaches, resorting to something stronger may be necessary to cut through grime and eliminate stains.
Bleach solutions may be considered the strongest stain, mildew, and mold agents, but chlorine is a very harsh chemical for both your grout and you. Frequent use of chlorine bleach (even diluted) or other bleach-based products can cause your grout to break down more quickly, resulting in flaking or cracking, leading to re-grouting. It could even cause grout erosion, allowing for water and dirt infiltration leading to premature retiling and in-wall water damage.
Chlorine bleach, used with care, is effective on some of the most stubborn stains, but be sure to exercise caution if you’re using bleach as a last resort: Residual vinegar can react with chlorine bleach to form toxic chlorine gas. In general, tile experts recommend avoiding chlorine bleach, and only using dilutions of this solution sparingly on stubborn stains, but rinsing surfaces thoroughly before applying it in any form is an important step to prevent accidental reactions.
Bathroom Remodeling Tips for Tiles
Once your grout has started to break down, re-grouting may be the best remedy. But depending on the age and condition of tile application and surface, a homeowner may need to weigh the pros and cons of having the area completely retiled. New tiles and new grout, laid by a skilled professional, can help eliminate repeated, heavy cleaning with more frequent, but more gentle upkeep that maintains that freshly-set look.
When researching tile installation services, a homeowner should always ask professionals for references. Talk to past customers about their level of satisfaction with the tiling process and the quality of the finished job. Photos can attest to the quality of work, but firsthand accounts from past customers who are willing to vouch for good workmanship can help you hire the best tile installer for a job.
Only have tiling work done by a Certified Tile Installer or professional with at least two years of experience as a full-time lead installer. Background in one or more entry-level support roles such as helper, improver, grouter, or finisher doesn’t equate with the training and knowledge that a lead installer gains over two years or more of laying tile.
Treating grout with a gentle cleanser, drying, and applying two coats of penetrating or membrane-forming sealer can keep this part of flooring looking clean. If grout is damaged, regrouting may be the best solution. Tile flooring and grout may also be replaced in a bathroom remodel.
Daily or weekly bathroom cleaning may make it possible to avoid using harsh cleansers on grout. Spraying grout with warm water and applying common household substances such as vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide before lightly scrubbing once or more a week can make stain cleanup less intensive and potentially damaging to tiles.
How to remove the grout from the joints: How to clean the mosaic + Video
Today. One of the most common finishing materials is tile. Tile always looks nice and neat. Especially on uneven walls or floors. In addition, the tile is resistant to negative impacts and environmental pollution, durable both in terms of the quality of its service and in appearance. Repair is always a long and patient process.
If it is not possible to resort to the help of a special repair team, you can use our advice and do everything yourself.
So: how to remove grout from a tile if it has dried up on a wall or floor at home – read our article.
- First of all, you have to be patient and careful
- There are several types of grout
- GOOD TO KNOW
- Removal with special tools
- Instructions for cleaning tiles with a chemical solvent
First of all, you have to be patient and careful
…because cleaning grout off tiles is a monotonous and slow task. Of course, fresh grout is the easiest to remove. If you did not have time to remove the grout from the tile and are going to do it the next day or at a later date, our article will help you.
IMPORTANT. During the cleaning of the grout, you will have to constantly come into contact with various chemicals and construction electric tools, so you should take all precautions and use protective equipment in the form of a respirator and gloves.
There are several types of grouting
All of them differ in the cost of funds and the amount of time involved in the process. Let’s take a closer look at the types of grout.
I must say that this is the most commonly used and budget method. A special impregnation is added to the grout mixture to protect against mold. This method is good for bathroom tiles.
REFERENCE. In construction, fillers for joints (grout) are called fugues. Fugues can be either white or colored. Cement fugue is used for not too wide joints (up to about half one cm). If it is necessary to seal a wider joint, sand is added to the cement fugue. Cementitious grout with the addition of sand must not be used for ceramic cladding, as the sand content can damage the ceramic surface.
The second place goes to epoxy grout
It includes two components – epoxy resin and hardener. In the required proportions, these two ingredients are mixed with each other, from which the grout mixture is obtained. Such a fugue is not afraid of sunlight, does not deteriorate due to temperature changes and further cleaning with chemicals. This kind of grout is good for the kitchen, where most often complex pollution, such as drops of fat and scale. Perhaps the only drawback of epoxy fugue is the speed of setting, which complicates the leveling process, and therefore it must be applied carefully.
Their application is widely used in areas of high humidity and steam. Bathrooms, showers, hamams, saunas and other places reserved for water procedures. A distinctive feature of such a grout is its high resistance to various kinds of fungi and bacteria. In addition, the sealant is equipped with a special long dispenser that can easily get into hard-to-reach places, and the variety of colors allows you to choose the right color that should be combined with the color of the tile. It would seem that an ideal option for grouting has one major drawback – fragility. Such a grout can be easily damaged by any object, therefore, silicone is often used together with epoxy or cement grout.
If you decide to use the combined method, you should first treat the joints with silicone, wait for it to harden, and then go through an epoxy or cement grout. This will eliminate the risk of liquid getting into the gaps between the tiles. It is important to remember that this method is suitable for seams with a width of more than five mm.
Once the grout has dried, it is advised to wipe it off immediately to avoid further cleaning difficulties. In addition, a fresh fugue is wiped off without much effort and labor. It is enough to arm yourself with warm water and a sponge or a special rag (rubberized), which is usually used to wash cars. Carefully walk a wet sponge over the tile, each time re-wetting the sponge with warm water to prevent clogging with a fugue. As soon as traces of grouting cease to remain on the sponge, cleaning can be considered finished. After cleaning, it is advised to wipe the tiles with a clean cloth.
For the curing process, the grout needs from 15 minutes to half an hour, depending on the manufacturer’s company. Difficulties arise if the grout has already hardened and has stood for not a single hour or day, in which case only chemical agents will help to cope with pollution.
Before you start cleaning the grout, you need to start from the composition of the grout itself. For example, preparations containing acidic substances can easily cope with cement grout. The agent must be applied to the tiled surface with a sponge and left for about 15 minutes, after which, gently, without scratching the ceramics, remove the dried cement in a circular motion.
In order to test the selected grout, it is best to first use it in an inconspicuous place. So you can avoid the negative effects of the acid in the composition of the product on the tile, the acid can ruin the pattern or surface of the tile. After that, the remaining funds from the tile must be removed with a damp towel or terry cloth. For subsequent cleaning, a soda solution diluted with water, in a ratio of 2 tsp, is suitable. per 1 liter of pure water. Baking soda is mildly alkaline and works great with acids. After the soda solution, it is worth rinsing the tile again with warm water, then wiping it with a dry towel to avoid streaks on the ceramic surface.
You can also use proven folk methods if you want to save money on chemicals. For example, you can use vinegar or a solution of citric acid to remove fresh grout from cement.
Epoxy grout is considered durable and proven. Such a grout can serve for more than thirty years and at the same time not lose its quality.
If substances containing various acids cope with cement grout with a bang, then epoxy grout has much more immunity to them. Best of all, in the modern market, Litonet and Litokol showed themselves. They are used for cleaning joints and walls in natural stone, porcelain stoneware or glass mosaic cladding.
GOOD TO KNOW
Litonet gel, due to its thick consistency, is used to remove grout from vertical walls. It often happens that over time, the ceramic tile coating itself remains unchanged, but the tile joints deteriorate.
This can happen in these cases:
- Poor quality grout or the grout has expired. When choosing a fugue, it is important to take into account such factors as: room ventilation, humidity and temperature.
- Non-compliance with the rules when preparing the mixture. Too liquid fugue can reduce the strength and effectiveness of the entire mass for grouting.
- Incorrect grout application. It is important to observe the thickness and depth of the joints and apply the grout strictly according to the recommendations.
- Room humidity too high. If the air in the room is humid and ventilation is poor, mold cannot be avoided. Ventilate the room in time, in addition, it is useful not only for tiles. But also for your own health.
- Joints that are too light become soiled rather quickly and are more difficult to remove.
- Improper maintenance. It is important to use cleaning products carefully and avoid damage and scratches (eg from a metal sponge) on the tile.
Removal with special tools
Joints between tiles are the most problematic place in a tile flooring. They wear out faster than anything else, and any external finishing or cleaning can damage or break them.
Perhaps the most gentle method for cleaning the joints between tiles is the use of special chemicals. Such reagents are able to “corrode” the dried mass, while avoiding damage to the tiled surface itself.
These solvents will help remove grout between tiles:
- – Sopro ZEA 703
- – ZSE 718
- – Atlas Szop
- – Szop 2000
- – Clean
- – Keranet
- – Litoclean
Instructions for cleaning tiles with chemical solvent
- Use a dispenser or a brush to carefully pour the reagent into the joints
- The solution applied to the joints must be left for a certain time. Approximate cooling time is five hours. During this time, the chemicals that make up the solvent will react with each other, which will soften the grout.
- Next, you should try to remove the grout with a construction knife. If difficulties arise during the process, it is worth pouring the solvent again.
- If you are dealing with cement grout, then the procedure for applying the reagent should be repeated two or three times, since the cement is difficult to dissolve in one layer. Also, it is worth considering the thickness of the tile joint.
- Many of the above reagents dissolve the fugue without residue and at the end of the process it is enough just to wash the wall with clean water.
- Grout can be removed not only with chemical solvents, but also mechanically.
- Using tools such as a construction knife and a screwdriver, grout can be removed with minimal damage to the tiled surface.
Dremel is the right grout removal tool. Of course, not everyone has it in use, like a joint opener, but one and the other tools can be cleaned in a matter of minutes. Basically, special construction and repair teams resort to the help of these tools.
- The most common method of mechanical grout cleaning is with an electric drill. This tool is in almost every home and working with it does not require special skills, except for accuracy and precautions.
- If you decide to use an electric drill, it is worth remembering that you need to use only a thin drill that is not capable of touching the tiled surface of the tile. Also, the tile should firmly “lie” and not fly off during the cleaning process with a drill.
- It is, of course, more difficult to remove grout from a rough surface than from a matte or glossy surface. The most optimal cleaning methods for embossed coatings will be wet and gentle. The fugue for epoxy grout will do best. The mixture is applied to the foam rubber and gently, in a circular motion, remove the remnants. If a white coating remains on the tile, it can be removed with dishwashing detergent after grouting.
- Difficulties with grout cleaning can be avoided if the surface of the tile is properly cared for and the joints are cleaned if there is noticeable contamination. This will help extend the life of the tile, preserve its original appearance and not subject the tiled surface to repair work.
How to clean grout from tiles. How to remove grout from tiles: an overview of methods
Posted on 02.11.2020 ·
Reading: 15 min
Before you use any of the methods of cleaning tiles from grout, you need to figure out what types of grouts are. Grouts are used to enhance the properties of finishing materials, increasing their resistance to mechanical damage. The final hardening of the grout occurs within about a day. Soil mixtures reach their maximum hardness two weeks after application.
The most commonly used grouts are cement-based:
- silicone (elastic)
- not elastic
- water repellent
- grouts for wet rooms
Important: when choosing a grout remover, consider the susceptibility of the cladding to these products.
To avoid the work of removing excess grout from the facing surface, you can purchase special products that are applied in advance before grouting. Such products form a film on the tile, which is easily removed from the surface along with excess grout.
Joint compound (grout) hardens fairly quickly, with an average pre-hardening time of about 15 minutes. Excess fugue must be removed almost immediately after it is applied to the tile. In this case, it can be removed without auxiliary means. All you need is a sponge and warm water. Instead of a sponge, you can use a rubberized rag to wash your car. Before starting work, make sure that it is clean and free of sand.
Attention: With smooth movements it is necessary to wash off the excess fugue, without damaging the grout in the seams. We repeat this action several times. Each time you need to thoroughly rinse the sponge and wring it out no less carefully. It is most convenient to use water containers with special rollers for push-ups.
If it was not possible to remove the excess joint immediately after application, and it had time to harden, then the following cleaning methods are available:
- Using special graters with an abrasive coating. We begin to remove the fugue with the lightest movements, gradually increasing the pressure to the required one. This will avoid damage to the surface. Cleaning is carried out, starting from the lower surfaces, moving to the bottom up.
- Residual traces and stains are removed with warm water and a sponge, in successive movements with thorough rinsing of the sponge in a container of water. Rinse from top to bottom.
For reference: uneven grout in the space between the tiles can be removed with twisted sandpaper.
Silicone grout is quite easy to damage even with a blunt object, so the master will not have problems removing it from the tile. Mold does not form on silicone grout, so it is used in rooms with high humidity, in particular in bathrooms. But most often, silicone grout is used in tandem with cement or epoxy grout when filling joints whose thickness exceeds 5 mm. This prevents moisture from entering the deep layers of materials and the reproduction of the fungus.
Grouting materials and their removal features
Joint coating compounds are divided into two groups:
- based on cement;
- containing epoxy.
The choice is made taking into account the operating conditions. The main factors to consider before buying grouts are:
- the level of physical activity exerted on the coating;
- assessment of the likelihood of chemical compounds affecting tiles in the future;
- exposure to moisture and high temperatures;
- parameters of seam joints (width, depth).
Available for wide (10 mm) and standard (5-6 mm) seams. If the coating will be affected by significant physical stress, a grout with elastic properties is selected. In the bathroom and pool, compositions characterized by low hygroscopicity should be used.
Cement-based grout is available as a dry mix. It must be diluted with water or liquid latex. The last of the varieties of additives is used in bathrooms, pools and in rooms where significant mechanical loads will be placed on the tiles. Materials based on epoxy resin are characterized by impact resistance, resistance to chemical compositions. Their cost is much higher, therefore, such compounds are used in the decoration of industrial and commercial premises.
Depending on the composition, a grout remover is selected. Excess epoxy materials should be removed immediately after application. When the composition hardens, use the method of mechanical removal. In this case, sponges with a harder pile are used.
In order to be able to quickly and efficiently remove epoxy grout, it is recommended to use special cleaners. The difficulty of cleaning such compositions is due to their polymerization some time after application. It is undesirable to postpone this task for more than a week. Cleaning grout based on epoxy resin in this case becomes impossible.
Methods of removal
For grouting, cement or resin products are used. Removal of their surplus is carried out by different methods.
This hardened grout is easy to remove. For this purpose, a special wash is used.
It promotes the dissolution of cement. After that, it washes off easily. Make sure not to touch the seams between tiles .
The procedure is as follows:
- Work is carried out in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear rubber gloves on your hands.
- Use a brush to apply the wash.
- After 5 minutes rub the softened material with a cloth.
If the grout was not completely washed off the first time, the procedure must be repeated. Then rinse the surface with water.
Personal protective equipment should be worn prior to actual work, including rubber gloves, goggles and a respirator if caustic substances are used.
You should also open a window in the room. In the case of work in the bathroom, you can turn on the water in the bath.
Applying the mortar
The mortar is applied to all excess stains that remain on the surface of the tile after finishing. For point application of the solution, it is better to use a brush.
Wiping off dirt
After cleaning the dirt, wait 5-10 minutes for the active substance to start interacting with the grout. Then the softened solution is washed off in a circular motion. If the stains cannot be removed on the first attempt, the tile will need to be re-cleaned.
How to wash off
It is enough to wipe the remains of the remover from the surface with a sponge soaked in water. Even a small amount of an acidic solution can corrode the cement and the tile itself, so it is important to remove the substance completely.
- The seams are sealed with masking tape.
- Fluid is applied to contamination.
- After 5 minutes, the plaque is removed with a sharp knife or brush.
Keep in mind that such cleaning can damage poor quality clinker and ceramics: they often leave stains and scratches.
The first preparation step is to select and purchase a special softener capable of removing epoxy residue. Also, to perform the work, it is necessary to prepare a metal brush for processing a ribbed surface, protective gloves and a respirator.
So that the cleaner does not destroy the tile joints, it is necessary to close them while washing off the stains. Applying a dense layer of masking tape creates an obstacle for the passage of the solvent to the seams. If the solution gets on the seam, immediately wipe it off with a rag or sponge.
If the epoxy is dry, treat with thinner and wait 10 minutes to soften. Then traces of grout are removed with a metal brush or scraper. When performing work, it is important to be careful and control the degree of pressure so as not to destroy the tile and not leave scratches on the surface.
Wear and tear of the grout
When using tiles intended for floors or bathrooms, a situation often arises when the main coating has not exhausted its service life and has a rather neat appearance, and the joints have dried up and crumbled long ago. Tiled finish after 1-2 years no longer pleases with its attractiveness, as before. At the same time, the coating loses its function in terms of resistance to moisture, since the liquid gets under the tile and harms it.
In this case, it is urgent to take action and save expensive material and repairs. In order to correct the situation and return the house to neatness and beauty, which can last as long as possible, you need to understand what is the reason for the poor-quality grout, clean it and reapply it correctly.
Causes of quick wear of the grout:
- Incorrectly selected composition for grouting (the grout must be chosen or made taking into account the purpose and humidity of the room, as well as the temperature regime).
- Incorrect application of the mortar (for example, incomplete grouting: with gaps or not to the full depth).
- Too thin grout composition (this consistency significantly reduces the strength of the seams, so the manufacturer’s recommendations must be strictly followed before making a stripping grout).
- Incorrect tile care (do not use cleaners with high acidity, as products containing acids destroy the structure of the grout).
- Growth of fungus and mold on walls and floors in toilets and bathrooms due to the accumulation of microorganisms in the seams.
- Seam color (light colors are most susceptible to dust and dirt).
- Dampness of the room due to insufficient ventilation.
Before proceeding with the removal of old grout between tile joints, it is necessary to inspect it and determine the degree of destruction.
To do this, you need to clean the seams of debris. If they do not have cracks and there is a desire to give the seams only novelty and brightness, complete dismantling can be avoided. In this case, it is enough to cover them with a thin layer of fugue of the same color. The situation is worse with the development of fungus, mold and various deformations.
A complete change of grout is required in the following cases:
- if there are gaps in the joints;
- when the grout falls off or crumbles;
- if the color does not change when cleaning with sandpaper (this is evidence of mold and requires the elimination of the old grout with subsequent disinfection).
To remove grout from tiles, you need to clean the joints competently, using one of two methods of cleaning: chemical agents or mechanical tools. In both cases, it is recommended to follow the instructions.
Chemical removal of the old composition requires careful attention to harmful substances, since products intended for cleaning tile joints contain acidic and highly active solutions and powders. Therefore, it is necessary to work with them in tight rubber gloves.
These products are based on organic acids and are no less effective than working with mechanical devices. Their choice often depends on the properties of the materials intended for cladding, as well as their stability and reaction with aggressive chemical compounds. Thanks to gel-like products that are suitable for surfaces of any type, you can easily wash the grout, because after applying sufficiently strong components contained in chemical solutions, the grout compositions soften.
- Use a special dispenser or a thin brush to apply the reagent to the seams.
- The solution must be left for at least five hours for the chemicals to work.
- After the soaking time has elapsed, the mortar can be removed with a construction knife or a small screwdriver (if the old grout is hard and difficult to clean, it is necessary to repeat the application of the reagent in the same amount).
- When the grout has softened, it must be washed off or wiped off with a damp sponge.
- If the joints were rubbed with cement, the treatment with the reagent is carried out 2-3 times.
Despite the convenience and effectiveness of this method, it should be borne in mind that some products cannot be used to clean lime surfaces, as well as for tiles that were made from marble or granite chips.
Grout removers containing chemicals differ in the presence of substances and acid concentration.
In order not to harm the finishing materials, when choosing, you must follow the instructions for use and the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Epoxy grouts are not chemically attacked by acidic substances, so mechanical methods are most effective for removing such mixtures. To mechanically remove old stubborn compounds, it is recommended to use the following tools:
- small-diameter screwdriver, utility knife, engraver or chisel of a suitable size;
- grout specially designed for cleaning tile joints;
- electric drill with a thin drill;
- dremel (jigsaw), which is equipped with a flat half-disk;
- screwdriver with brush attachment, consisting of a small disc with metal bristles.
Of the listed tools, the most convenient for cleaning the seams are a construction knife that requires painstaking work, and an opener, which is popular, but at the same time inexpedient to purchase, since it is unlikely to be useful in the future.
No less popular is the simple way to clean the seams with an electric drill. However, in order not to damage the tile, before starting work, it is necessary to perform initial measures: preparing a solution of water and vinegar in equal proportions and lubricating the seams with it.
The tile-safe mortar will soften the grout a little after 30 minutes of application and allow it to be removed quickly without leaving gaps. The drill should not exceed the thickness of the seam. It is recommended to adhere to the minimum power, this will not allow deformation of the borders of the tile and the appearance of cracks. After carefully removing the grout, the resulting empty grooves must be vacuumed or cleaned with a stiff brush. After that, rinse the seams with a damp sponge and treat with an antiseptic composition.
Instructions for removing grout with a construction knife:
- The knife must be placed in the center of the joint and, with force, draw a line with it (in case of hard penetration of the knife into the old dried mixture, it is allowed to gently tap it with a small hammer).
- In order not to scratch the tile, dry grout that is difficult to cut can be cut first from one edge of the tile, then from the other.
- After painstaking cleaning, the remains of the mixture should be cleaned with a piece of sandpaper, and the seams should be impregnated with an antifungal primer or antiseptic.
In order not to damage the surface of the tiles, do not use the following tools: hard metal sponges, scrapers, plastic brushes and abrasives.
Uses vinegar or citric acid. They are diluted with water to obtain a concentrated solution. It is applied to the inter-tile space, where it is located on average for a day. Vinegar works faster, citric acid works longer. If you do not want to mess with the preparation of the solution, you can replace it with any plumbing care product with acid.
Mixes water and glycerin in proportions 3:1. The resulting liquid processes the old mixture. After a few hours, you can take it off.
Cleaning textured surfaces
It is easiest to get rid of old grouts with smooth tiles, but what if you have to work with tiles that have a rough, decorative or embossed surface? When the time after the repair is missed and the excess grout mixture was not washed off in time, the solution is much harder to wash, especially when it comes to textured and porous tiles.
It’s not hard to guess how to remove grout from embossed tiles: the first helper in this is moisture. If you can’t wash the tile with plain water, then it’s time to use special gentle products designed only for cleaning difficult surfaces (SoproAN737 is considered one of the most popular). According to the instructions, the cleaner is applied to the tiled surface and removed with a soft short bristle brush.
Aggressive and abrasive agents, powder-type cleaners and strong chemicals are not recommended as they may erase the design or decoration.
Plain soapy or gel detergents can also be used to remove white deposits.
Using an electric tool
A quick but dangerous way to veneer. The risk of damage to the tiles is very high, so it is not suitable for craftsmen with little experience. As a cleaning tool, you can use an electric drill with a thin drill, a screwdriver with a brush attachment, a dremel with a flat half-disk, or a grinder. Most often, for such work, the first option is chosen. Consider the technology of the process.
- We select a suitable drill. It should be so thin that it fits freely in the inter-tile space. Otherwise, chipped edges of the lining are inevitable.
- We turn on the equipment at medium power, bring the drill to the old mixture. We press it from the edge of the finish to the center of the joint and carefully lead it to the opposite edge, removing the jointing material.
- We clean the freed joints from dust with a stiff brush.
Removing old grout from tile joints with a grinder is a little more difficult. This requires special precision. The mixture is removed with a disk, the width of which should be less than the size of the inter-tile space. The slightest careless movement can lead to damage to the coating and create a traumatic situation. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use protective equipment and be sure to work with glasses so that fragments and dust do not get into your eyes.
In any case, before removing the material, it is recommended to pre-soften it with any suitable preparation. Considering that the impact of a power tool significantly loosens the plates, it is not necessary to clean the cladding that is poorly adhered to the base by this method.
Restoration of grout
Restoration of grout consists in cleaning contaminated areas or its partial replacement. Conventionally, several stages of restoration of tile joints can be distinguished:
- Cleaning of joints using various chemicals – special or household.
- Removal of damaged areas of the old grout.
- Preparation and treatment of cracks with protective compounds to prevent damage to the new grout.
- Grout with new grout.
Restoration of grout with special products
Products for restoration of tile joints are available in plastic spray bottles. When choosing, you need to pay attention to what colors of the fugue it is suitable for. A solution for working only with white grout is not suitable for colored grout, as it will make it colorless. For colored seams, you need to choose a tool intended for them.
There are toxic chlorine-containing agents, which must be handled with gloves, and non-toxic – environmentally friendly solutions with components of plant origin, working with them does not require protection.
Ready-made grout cleaners are convenient because they can be used immediately after purchase. They have clear instructions for use, which eliminates the need to experiment. However, their cost may not be justified in all cases by the result obtained.
Restoration of grout with household chemicals
Joints made with grout need regular cleaning, because they have a porous surface that accumulates dirt. Epoxy grouts form a uniform, non-porous surface, making them easier to keep clean.
You can renew and clean tile joints with special products that are designed for this purpose, or simple household cleaning gels for dishes, plumbing, laundry care, which can be combined with each other for better results.
Partial removal of the top layer of grout
If the tile joints are uniform, strong and only need to be renewed, it is not necessary to remove the grout completely.
In order for the seams between the tiles to be of high quality, it is necessary to remove the old grout to a depth of at least 2 mm. Cement grout is removed with a scraper, the tip of which is suitable for these joints. After that, the edges of the tile are processed with fine-grained sandpaper and the cracks are primed to ensure better adhesion of the fugue to the cladding.
A scraper is also used to remove epoxy grout, but further processing is carried out with a special solvent.
Restoration with marker
Tile grout marker with a waterproof effect helps to cover up dirty areas that cannot be cleaned. To do this is simple: you need to carefully go through all the places that need to be adjusted.
Before work, the required areas must be prepared – cleaned from dust, dirt and mold. If necessary, repair cracked areas.
This method is cosmetic and is temporary. After a few weeks, the seams will again lose their purity.
Tips and Tricks
If you are removing grout from a tile for the first time, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Hydrogen peroxide will help bleach soiled seams. The solution is applied to darkened areas and left without rinsing.
- Epoxy paint or masking tape will help protect the seam from damage. They are recommended for use during cleaning work.
- Always start grout removal from the bottom. This technique helps to eliminate even the smallest stains without leaving streaks on the surface.
- If you use special household products, be sure to read the instructions. The substance must be diluted strictly in the specified proportions. Don’t forget protective gloves.
Some components present in household chemicals can cause severe irritation. Folk remedies can also adversely affect health, so first make sure that there is no allergic reaction to the components used.
See the following video for how to effortlessly remove grout from rough tiles.
In order not to harm your health and not damage the lining, you must follow safety precautions.
- constantly ventilate the room;
- clean with rubber gloves;
- when removing dirt from glossy tiles, do not take substances that can scratch the surface, and hard brushes, otherwise the lining will lose its appearance;
- in order not to spoil the sewing seams, they are sealed with adhesive tape before washing;
- do not use substances containing fats.
Getting rid of grout stains is not as difficult as it seems at first. There are many effective tools that allow you to quickly cope with this task.
The main thing is to prevent the composition from hardening, strictly follow the instructions. Even simple improvised means give an excellent result: the surface is not damaged, the tile shines.