How To Remove Grout Stains From Cement Tile

By Clay Imports


Cement tiles are porous and thus require significant sealing to prevent absorption. The more sealant that is applied to cement tiles, the less likely they are to absorb moisture.

But conventional grout application requires applying moisture to the face of the tile. If the applied moisture contains a pigment, this pigment is likely to fill the pores with the tile and result in staining.

That’s why we advise using grouts that contain little or no pigment coloring and applying grout in small sections, less than 4 square feet at a time. 

But nobody’s perfect.

If your tile has been stained during the grout application, we got you. Follow the steps below.

Shopping List for Cement Tile Grout Stain Removal

  • - 3M abrasive cleaning pads
  • - Grout haze remover
  • - Oxy-clean
  • - Heavy bristle deck scrub brush
  • - Clean white rags
  • - Lacquer thinner
  • - Yellow grout sponge
  • - Miracle Seal 511 Porous Plus
**Please note that Grout Haze Remover is an acid based cleaner. Though it is NOT usually advised to use acidic chemicals on cement tile, if diluted properly, this is the best way to remove pigment stains from your tile.**
And of course, a health warning. Some cleaning and sealing chemicals listed above can be hazardous if used improperly. Always be careful and seek professional advice if you have questions and/or concerns.


Step 1: Break up the sealer. 

  • - Apply lacquer thinner liberally to the stained area (don’t splash it!)
  • - Apply to small areas and scrub with rag until the thinner begins to break up the sealer. 
  • - Limit the application area to no more than 2 square foot sections at a time. A gummy substance will develop on the surface of the tile. 

Step 2: Clean off the sealer residue. 

  • - As the sealer softens, use clean rags to remove the gummy substance from the tile. 
  • - Keep doing this until no more gummy substance can be removed from the tile. 
  • - The tile should look dry and dehydrated, maybe even a little chalky.

Step 3: Remove the grout with grout haze remover.

  • - Dilute the grout haze remover with water, approximately one part cleaner to three parts water. 
  • - Use the Deck scrub brushes with grout haze remover to remove the grout stains. Clean the area in small sections, no more than two square feet at a time.
  • - Start with the brushes for general cleaning and use the 3M pads for intense spot cleaning. 

Step 4: Lightly wash and rinse the tile off.

  • - Once all sealer is removed and all stains cleaned, use the Oxy-Clean for a mild final wash. 
  • - Following the final wash, rinse the tile with clean water. Do not saturate the tile, use minimal amounts of water, only damp rags.
  • - Let the tile dry for 2 days.

Step 5: Reseal the tile three to four times.

  • - Prior to reapplying sealer to the entire area, try it on a small area, about 4 tiles.
  • - The sealer should be applied in thin coats using a clean yellow grout sponge.
  • - Allow approximately 1 hour of dry time between coats. Considering the intense cleaning that your tile was exposed to, use up to 4 coats of sealer in less notable areas.

Step 6: Apply the finishing touches.

  • - After the tiles are cleaned and freshly sealed, allow 24 hours for the area to dry.
  • - Lastly, use clean white rags to “buff” the tile rigorously. The area should develop a mild shine.
The above instructions will restore your tile to an ideal appearance. For long term care and maintenance, we advise cleaning the tile occasionally with a non-acid cleaner. After your tile is clean and dry, use an easy to apply wax or polish product such as Mop N' Glow or Johnson’s wood care.

Disclaimer: since the installation of tile greatly determines the integrity of the project and the tile itself, Clay imports does not warranty this product and is not responsible for dissatisfaction of material following installation. Please inspect all tile upon receipt and notify us immediately if you have any quality concerns. This guide is meant to serve as a general resource. Because each project is unique, consult your tile installer before installing your tile.

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