Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources
Are Your Newly Installed Tiles Dusty and Hazy? Here’s How to Reveal Their Shine!
So, you’ve just had brand new tiles laid after constructing or renovating your home, and now they’re covered in fine debris and what appears to be a hazy residue. Well, that’s expected regardless of the type of tile in question. From ceramic to terracotta, marble to slate; grout haze is inevitable on newly installed tiles.
The good news is that this whitish residue dulling your brand new tiles can be removed rather easily if you work quickly.
What Causes Grout Haze on Tiles?
If you haven’t already guessed, the haze comes from the grout itself. During the process of grouting, excess material gets wiped or smudged onto the tiles in order to create a flat and even grout line. When this dries up, the minerals leave a cloudiness on the tiles which, if dealt with sooner rather than later, can be cleaned off with a damp cloth. On the other hand, when given enough time, grout haze requires a more meticulous cleaning method that ensures both the grout and tile are not damaged.
What You Should Know Before You Begin
In a bid to prevent the grout from drying and clinging to the tile surface, many attempt to wipe it clean immediately after the tiles have just been laid. This is not recommended as the grout needs to dry and set properly, or else, you run the risk of gaps in the grout and/or loosely fitted tiles. With that said, one shouldn’t wait too many days as the haze becomes harder to remove. It’s best to consult with the contractor on how soon the tiles can be cleaned after installation.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that grout which contains epoxy will typically require a commercial grout haze remover as it tends to really stick to the surface. For this, one must follow the cleaning instructions on the product’s label. It is also crucial to consider the type of tile you are working with before attempting any cleaning method. Some products and ingredients are not suitable for natural materials and therefore, must be avoided at all costs. The last thing you want to do is damage your new, perfectly laid tiles with the wrong cleaning method!
How to Remove Grout Haze
There are a few different ways you can get rid of grout haze on new tiles, however, as mentioned earlier, your choice of method must be determined in accordance with the type of tile you have.
With that, let’s take a look at some tried and tested ways to clean off grout haze from newly installed tiles.
IMPORTANT: Before using any cleaning methods, vacuum/sweep/wipe the tiles to remove all fine debris as any grit left on the surface can cause scratches while removing grout haze.
Method #1: Using a Damp Cheesecloth
By simply dampening the dried grout on your tiles, you can lift it. Again, it’s important to note that this method is only effective if it has been a few days (generally less than 10 days) since the grouting was done. A cheesecloth or muslin cloth is recommended for this as they are easier to wring out excess water while offering a light and safe scrubbing of the tile.
All you need to do is dampen the cloth and wipe the tile in circular motions until the grout haze has been removed. Use a microfibre cloth to dry and buff the tile after cleaning off the grout residue.
Method #2: Using a Rubber Grout Float
This tool is used in the grouting process but can also be helpful in removing haze from your new tiles. It has a flat rubber base that glides over the tiles leaving the grout line filled evenly. Of course, it is also responsible for spreading grout across the tile surface.
To use a rubber grout float to remove grout haze on tiles, align the edge of the tool with the tile, and drag it down towards you. This should take off the residue which you can then sweep or vacuum up. If the haze has not been removed in its entirety, dampen a tiling sponge and wipe the surface to finish off.
Method #3: Using Vinegar
Recommended for ceramic and porcelain tile. Do not use on stone or slate tiles.
If the methods above haven’t done the trick, vinegar is a safe bet (provided you are using it on a material that can withstand its acidic content). Start by combining 4 parts water and 1 part distilled white vinegar. If you need a stronger solution, add a little more vinegar to the solution.
For a large area, consider using the cleaning solution with a mop while a smaller area can be cleaned with a non-abrasive nylon cleaning tool. When the grout haze has been removed from the tiles, give them a once over with distilled water (to prevent mineral deposits) and a clean mop or microfibre cloth.
Method #4: Using a Commercial Grout Haze Remover
NOTE: It is advisable to wear rubber gloves when handling chemical grout removers.
For stubborn/old grout haze, or epoxy-based grout, you will need to look for a specific grout haze remover that is designed to break down the resin and minerals from the tiled surface. Don’t get confused between grout cleaners and grout haze removers as the former is intended to whiten or clean grout lines as opposed to getting rid of it from tiling.
Also, note that many natural materials like stone or slate come with special cleaning requirements which include the type of products one can use on them. You will find grout haze cleaners specifically made to remove the cloudy residue from these slightly more delicate materials.
To clean new tiles after installing them, you must first wait until the grout has dried completely. This can take anywhere between 24 - 48 hours (sometimes longer which is why it is advisable to consult with the contractor before cleaning the tiles). Apart from vacuuming or sweeping up fine debris, the bigger issue you will have to deal with is grout haze.
Regardless of which method you use, it is fairly easy to get rid of grout haze on new tiles. The important things to keep in mind are the type of tile in question, and whether the grout contains resin (epoxy-based). Based on these factors, you should have no trouble to safely and effectively remove grout haze from your newly installed tiles!
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