Grout Haze is a bit tougher to deal with unless you've just installed your tile and are in the tile cleanup phase. The best time to remove grout haze is within 24 hours of completing a grouting project. However, it is possible to remove haze even days or weeks after the tiling project is finished. |
To clean grout haze, you can use common household ingredients or a commercial tile cleaner. Grout haze is caused when tile is installed and the grout is not completely removed from the tile surface after the project is completed.After tile installation, grout residue commonly forms a white-colored haze over the surface of the tiles. The residue is best removed immediately after tile installation but not until the grout has cured. If the residue was never removed and has now hardened, you can still remove it with some old fashioned scrubbing. If the residue is very stubborn or your tiles are unglazed, use a special grout haze remover solution available at any home improvement center.
What To Do
First try removing the haze with simple warm water and a green scrubbing pad. For stubborn haze, however, this may not work. Determine if your problem is actually Grout Haze or Efflorescence. Efflorescence is the rising of the salts in grout to the surface and typically happens in new tile installations when too much water is used to cleanup the grout. If your tile installation is less than 10 days old, try using water or (water and vinegar) and then apply some elbow grease.
Next, try a mixture of warm water and vinegar (50 percent of each). In many cases this will remove the haze, provided you use enough force against the tile to remove the excess grout which is causing the haze.
If the haze has still not been removed, then it may be time to resort to a commercial haze remover. You can purchase this type of product at any large home improvement center in the tile department. Following the instructions on the package and wearing protective gloves, wipe the remover on the tile. If the haze continues to be a problem, then try applying the remover directly to the surface of the tile.
When using a mild acid solution it's usually a good idea to test an area first to see if there is any adverse reaction.To test your tile, follow the directions of the grout haze remover on a spare extra tile or a tile that's not easily visible to traffic.After you have applied the solution and allowed it to dry, check for any damage such as pitting.If you apply the acid solution and things start fizzing the acid concentration is too strong and you'll need to control the reaction by diluting the solution with more water.Some slate tiles are known to be acid sensitive and it's always a good idea to take your time to test before starting a project rather than forcing things for the sake of speed and ending up regretting yourself later.
What Not to Use
The primary products to avoid when attempting to remove grout haze from tile are commercial detergents for grout cleaning that may be overly harsh on the grout and leave their own film on tile.
Be aware that attempting to remove grout haze may actually soften the grout between the tiles. If this occurs, then use a putty knife to smooth the grout into place and then reseal the grout to prevent further damage.Do not use acid solutions, such as muriatic acid or vinegar, to remove the grout haze. These acids can eat away at the grout, discolor the grout or even discolor the tiles.
Before using a haze remover solution, test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the tiled area to ensure that the solution does not stain or damage the tile surface or grout.
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