How to Clean Grout Haze
Grout haze is a whiteish film left on the tile surface after the grouting process. So how can you successfully remove grout haze? Even if you have diligently wiped down the surface with a wet sponge, the haze will remain and won't come off until you take special measures.
Ordinary tile cleaning methods won't remove it. Fortunately, getting grout haze off tile is easy and effective with the right remover.
Here are some steps and tips on removing grout haze. Get ready to have your tile look the way it should—shiny and bright.
What Causes Grout Haze
Grout is made of minerals and cement mixed with water. When the water dries, minerals remain on the tile surface. This is a normal part of tiling.
Because grouting involves pulling grout across the tile with a rubber float, the tile is entirely covered with grout at some point. The float scrapes off most of the grout, but a thin film will remain—known as grout haze.
What is Grout Haze Remover?
Grout haze remover is a specialty commercial cleaner that helps to get rid of grout haze—especially in substantial or difficult cases. Grout haze remover comes in different formulas for cement-based grouts and those that aren't cement-based. Be careful not to confuse grout sealer or grout cleaner with grout haze remover. These are completely different products.
Commercial Grout Haze Remover
Grout haze remover is widely available at tile stores, home improvement stores, hardware stores, and online. Prominent brands include:
- DuPont Heavy Duty Grout Haze Remover: A highly rated and reasonably priced professional strength grout haze remover
- Stone Care International Tile & Grout Haze Cleaner: Has a highly acidic pH that strips tile of grout haze, as well as soap scum and calcium buildup
- Aqua Mix Cement Grout Haze Remover: Features an organic acid formula that contains no phosphates
Homemade Non-Chemical Grout Haze Remover
If you'd like to make your own grout haze remover and stay chemical-free, vinegar in conjunction with plain water can break up grout haze. Add 3 or 4 parts distilled white vinegar to 1 part cool water in a spray bottle. Mix but do not shake.
When using vinegar to remove grout haze, it's usually necessary to use a non-scratching scrubbing pad to boost the removal process.
Click Play to Learn How to Clean Grout Haze on a Budget
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Broom or vacuum
- Nitrile or latex gloves
- 2 buckets
- White nylon brush
- New sponges
- Grout haze remover
Wait for Grout to Cure
Wait for the grout to dry before using grout haze remover. Typically this takes around 24 to 48 hours, but you should consult your grout's packaging for the exact duration.
However, don't wait too long. It is best to clean grout haze sooner rather than later because the haze will become more difficult to remove with time. Aim to do it within 10 days of grouting. Otherwise, you might have to use harsher cleaners or even be stuck with some haze that doesn't fully go away.
Clean the Surface
Sweep or vacuum the tile thoroughly, and then wet-mop the tile to dampen it.
Mix the Grout Haze Remover
Put on nitrile (chemical-resistant) or latex gloves. Mix the grout haze remover with water in a clean bucket, following the manufacturer's directions. Normal dilution is used for light haze; a stronger solution or full-strength (undiluted) product might be recommended for heavy residue. Fill a second bucket with clean water for rinsing.
Scrub the Tiles
Dip a white, nylon-bristle brush into the remover solution, and scrub the tile surface. Work in one small area at a time.
Rinse and Repeat
Rinse the tile surface and grout joints with a sponge and clean water immediately after scrubbing each section. Clean the sponge frequently as you work, and replace the rinse water as it gets dirty.
Repeat the same process to scrub and rinse each small section of the tile surface until the entire installation is clean. Let the surface dry.
Additional Method to Get Grout Haze off Tile
For minor instances of grout haze, you might simply be able to remove it with some cheesecloth. First, put on a pair of nitrile or latex gloves. Then, wet the cheesecloth, wring it out, and wipe down the tile.
You also can try running a clean rubber grout float over the tile to buff off the haze. Use that in conjunction with the cheesecloth to see whether it removes the residue. If not, you'll need to progress to a grout haze cleaner.
Tips to Minimize Grout Haze
If you're in the planning stage of installing new tile or thinking about regrouting existing tile, keep a few things in mind to minimize the grout haze problem after installation:
- Wait until the grout has hardened before you begin trying to remove the haze. If the grout is wet, you risk gouging it out.
- When grouting, physically drag off as much grout as possible with your rubber grout float. The more grout that remains, the more of a haze problem you will have. The rubber float is your best friend because it is soft enough to drag the grout off but hard enough that its edge won't dig into your grouted joints. Use the edge of the rubber float to pull it toward you and off the tile.
- Wipe down the tiles with a damp sponge and only water. Use a tiling sponge for this step, not a household cleaning sponge. Tiling sponges are dense and about the size of a big paperback book. Lightly dampen the sponge, and wipe off the remaining grout. Be careful not to dig into the seams.
- Note that initially it might seem like the wet sponge will take off the grout haze, but that is only because the surface of the tile is wet. As the tile dries, the haze will reappear. This means it is time for haze remover.