Grout haze is a semi-white film that gets left on the surface of the tile after grouting. Even if you have diligently wiped down the surface with a wet sponge, the haze will remain and will not come off unless special measures are taken. Ordinary floor cleaning methods will not remove it but fear not as removing grout haze is made much easier and more effective when you find the right grout haze remover. It is possible to clean tiles with grout haze remover and make them look shiny and new.
What Grout Haze Remover Is
Grout haze removers are specialty commercial cleaners that help get rid of grout haze—especially in substantial or persistent cases. Grout haze remover comes in different formulas based on whether the grout is cement-based or not.
What Causes Grout Haze?
Grout is made of minerals and cement mixed with water. As the water dries, minerals remain on the tile surface, leaving a haze. Residual grout haze is a normal part of any tiling process.
The grouting process requires pulling grout across the tile with a rubber float which caused the entire tile to be entirely covered with grout. The float scrapes off a majority of the grout but a thin film will always remain.
Related Article: How to Clean Grout With Steam Cleaner
Purchasing 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 Quart: Highly rated, reasonably priced professional strength grout haze remover that makes 9 quarts.
- Stone Care International (SCI) 1 Gallon Tile & Grout Haze Cleaner: Highly acidic pH strips tile of grout haze, as well as soap scum and calcium buildup.
- Aqua Mix Cement Grout Haze Remover: Organic acid formula that contains no phosphates. In many communities, phosphates have been banned in products such as soaps and TSP.
Be careful to read all instructions and warning and to not confuse grout sealer or grout cleaner with grout haze remover.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- New sponges
- Broom or vacuum
- 2 buckets
- Nitrile or latex gloves
- White nylon brush
- Grout haze remover
1. Wait for the Grout to Cure
You will need to wait a couple of days for newly installed grout to cure before you can use a grout haze remover but you don’t want to wait too long: It is best to remove the haze sooner rather than later as the haze becomes more difficult to remove over time.
2. Clean the Floor
Sweep or vacuum the floor thoroughly using any floor cleaning machine, then wet-mop the tile to dampen it.
3. Mix the Grout Haze Remover
Put on chemical-resistant gloves and mix the haze remover with water in a clean bucket after carefully reading all the manufacturer’s directions and following them. Normal dilution is used for light haze; a stronger solution or full-strength (undiluted) product may be recommended for heavy residue. Remember to fill a second bucket with clean water for rinsing your rags.
4. Scrub the Tiles
Dip a white, nylon-bristle brush into the remover solution and scrub the tile faces. I recommend to use either oreck floor scrubber or Homitt spin scrubber. It is best to work in small to large areas at a time to ensure you cover the entire area.
5. Rinse and Repeat
It is important to rinse the tile faces and grout joints with a sponge and clear, clean water immediately after scrubbing each section. You will want to clean the sponge frequently as you work and replace the rinse water as it gets dirty.You will do this often so just accept is as part of the process. Repeat the same process to scrub and rinse each small section of the floor or tile until the entire installation is clean and free of grout haze and then let the floor dry.
Tips to Minimize Grout Haze
If you’re in the planning stage of installing new tile or if you’re thinking about re-grouting existing tile, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind to minimize the problem of grout haze after installation:
- It is important to wait until the grout has hardened before you begin trying to remove the haze. If the grout is wet, you risk gouging it out or damaging it.
- When grouting, physically drag off as much grout as possible with the appropriate float. The more grout that remains means the more of a haze problem you will have. The rubber float is your best friend when it comes to applying grout as it is soft enough to drag the grout off yet hard enough that its edge does not dig into grouted joints. To apply properly, use the edge of the rubber float to pull grout toward you and off the tile.
- Wipe down the tiles with a damp sponge and only clean water. It is important to use a tiling sponge for this step and not a household cleaning sponge. Tiling sponges are dense and about the size of a big paperback book. You can get them at hardware stores and home cleaning stores. Gently dampen the sponge with clean water and wipe off the remaining grout. Be careful not to dig into the seams or gouge the grout.
- While it may initially seem like a wet sponge will take off grout haze, but that is only because the surface of the tile is damp. As the tile dries the haze will reappear which means it is time for haze remover.