Cement Tile - How to remove grout stains
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.
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 of the tile and result in staining.
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.
If your tile has been stained during the grout application, follow these steps to restoration.
You will need the following items:
- 3M abrasive cleaning pads
- Grout haze remover
- 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.
WARNING: Some of the cleaning and sealing chemicals listed above can be hazardous if used improperly.
Always practice caution and seek professional advice if you have questions and/or concerns.
1. Apply lacquer thinner liberally to the stained area. Use rags to spread the thinner evenly over all tiles.
Do not splash the thinner, it is harmful to your skin and can remove paint from walls and cabinets.
The thinner dissolves quickly. Apply to small areas and scrub 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.
Depending on the amount of sealer that was applied, you may have to also use the deck scrub brushes to break up the sealer.
2. As the sealer softens, use clean rags to clean remove the gummy substance from the tile.
Keep doing this until no more gummy substance can be removed from the tile.
3. Following removal of the sealer, the tile should look dry and dehydrated, maybe even a little chalky.
4. Dilute the Grout haze remover with water, approximately 1 part cleaner to 3 parts water.
Inspect the area for any undesirable markings or stains. Use the Deck scrub brushes to remove these stains.
I usually start with the brushes for general cleaning and use the pads for intense spot cleaning.
Clean the area in small sections, no more that 2 square feet at a time.
5. Once all sealer is removed and all stains cleaned, use the Oxo-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.
6. Following final rinse, let the tile dry for 2 days.
Note that some markings on the tile may be inherent to the tile itself. Those markings are permanent.
Most installers will not install those tiles as complete pieces but rather use them only for cuts in less notable areas.
7. Now that the tile is clean and dry, apply the Porous Plus sealer as instructed by the manufacturer.
Prior to applying 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.
Note that Rubber can interfere with the chemical reaction of the sealer drying.
Considering the intense cleaning that your tile was exposed to, I advise using up to 4 coats of sealer.
8. After the tiles are cleaned and freshly sealed, allow 24 hours for the area to dry.
9. 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, I 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.