Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

2 Methods to Effectively Remove Grout Haze from Tiles

Adriana Aziz
August 24, 2022
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how to remove grout haze custom graphic

If you're not aware of what grouting is, it is a bonding material used to fill small gaps in concrete, tiles, etc. Usually a mixture of water, cement, and sand, it is most commonly seen between the tiling of floors and walls in bathrooms. 

While any excess grouting is wiped off of the tile face itself during the tile installation, many times, a residual amount is left behind. This residue, known as Grout Haze, can look like smearing, streaks, glossy patches, and even appear as a white powder on the tile. All in all, grout haze can make your tiling look shabby and dirty no matter how clean it actually is!

The good news is that it is not difficult to learn how to remove grout haze from tiles; however, before you do, it helps to know what type of grout you are working with. 

Common Types of Grout

man using orange bristled brush to clean natural stone tile

The appearance of the grout haze and how one must clean it off depends on the type of grout used for the tiling:

  • Pre-mixed: Acrylic-based, and rather expensive, this type of grout is usually applied for smaller jobs like restoration of older grout or filling in small gaps. It makes the process quicker by needing no prep-time, as it comes pre-mixed.
  • Cement-based: Requiring the most amount of prep-time with adding water, it is also the cheapest of the options and works best for large projects. The only downside is that since cement is porous, water can soak into the grout and thus, wear it out faster and/or cause staining.
  • Epoxy-based: Made of epoxy resins, this type of grout requires some preparation as well, but is arguably the most durable of the lot. Since it is stain resistant, it is the most premium option out there.

So, now that you're aware of the different types of grout commonly used, let's discuss the haze removal process. 

How to Remove Grout Haze

man using tool to work on grout in between red tile

There are two ways to get rid of grout haze on tiles – using dedicated grout haze cleaners for more stubborn haze, or using damp cloths for small patches of the haze.

Before beginning with the removal of the haze, keep in mind that you should wait until the grout has cured – this can take anywhere between 24 hours to a few days, depending on the type of grouting used. This is an important thing to remember so that you don’t run the risk of damaging the grout when removing the haze on the tile.

That said, if left too long, the haze too, can be difficult to remove. A good rule of thumb is to work on it within 10 days from application of the grout. That is, after giving it some time to cure, but not enough time to harden completely (by waiting for a few more days). The only exception to this rule is when dealing with stone tiling. In that case, you must remove the haze immediately as it can set and be near-impossible to reverse later on.

Removal of Grout Haze Without a Cleaner

For small instances of grout haze, you would probably only need the following equipment:

  • Cheesecloth
  • Terry towel
  • Latex gloves

Instructions

  • Cheesecloth:

You should start with the softer method of removal to try to prevent any damage to your tiling and grout. Put on the gloves and try using a cheesecloth to rub down the area where you see the haze. You could even try dampening the cloth and then rubbing the tiles down if you're not seeing any changes.

  • Terry Towel:

If you haven’t had any luck with the cheesecloth, you might want to try a damp terry towel. After wetting the towel, you should wring out as much water as possible before getting into it. Once done, begin rubbing the cloth over the tile to remove the haze

Removal of Grout Haze With a Cleaner

If the haze you're dealing with is still giving you a hard time, it is time to switch over to using cleaners to get the job done. You would need a different set of equipment for this process as it requires a bit more care.

What You'll Need:

Equipment/Tools:

  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop
  • Latex gloves
  • 2 buckets
  • White nylon brush/nylon scrubber
  • New sponges

Materials:

  • Commercial grout haze remover 
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Commercial Grout Haze Remover:

There are commercial removers that are made specifically for getting rid of more stubborn haze on your tiles. You will need to know the type of grouting, and confirm with your hardware store the type of remover you are purchasing before making the decision. You do not want to damage the grouting or the tiles themselves, but only remove the haze with the product you buy. 

Whatever you work with, ensure to check with your hardware store for grout haze removers that can be used on stone tiles. This is because some haze removers may be too acidic and could potentially damage your tiles too.

  • Homemade Grout Haze Remover:

If you're looking to DIY, you can make your own solution of cleaner using distilled white vinegar. Used in a mix of 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water, the solution can break apart grout haze, making it easy to scrub off. 

Instructions

As is the case with removing the haze without any cleaners, you must allow the grouting to cure properly here, too. When you are sure of that, follow the steps below:

  • Clean the Area

Make sure that the tiles are thoroughly cleaned before beginning. Vacuum away any dirt and dust, and follow-up by wet-mopping the area to keep it damp.

  • Mix the Haze Remover

Putting your latex gloves on, go ahead and mix the cleaner with water based on the instructions provided on the label. If you'd rather use the vinegar mix, then follow the instructions provided earlier for the mix ratio. Be sure to keep a second bucket of water available for rinsing.

  • Scrub the Haze

After dipping the brush or scrubber into the solution, begin scrubbing the tile surface. You will need to work on small patches at a time.

  • Rinse and Repeat

Once scrubbed, rinse the tile and grout joints with clean water and a sponge. Keep repeating this process while cleaning your sponge as you go. For best results, replace your rinse water before it starts to get dirty. Once done, allow the tiles to dry, and you should have no more haze tainting your tiles.

If it sounds super simple to get rid of grout haze on tiles, that’s because it is! Of course, if you’d rather let your professional maid service handle the job, MaidForYou is guaranteed to take care of this task, and make your tiles shine bright!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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