It only takes about 15 minutes for grout to begin drying on the surface of a tile installation. With such a short window, it’s no wonder you might be wondering how to remove grout from tile.
When you’re installing tiles in your home, you want the best, smoothest outcome possible. That’s why you take care to apply grout in an even layer, making sure there are no air pockets or gaps.
If you accidentally apply too much grout on your tile, or if the grout isn’t mixed properly and dries unevenly, you might be left with a rough surface that’s difficult to clean.
If this happens to you, don’t despair. Keep reading to learn how to remove dried grout from your tiles.
How to Remove Grout from Tile
There are a few methods you can use to remove grout from tile, depending on how much grout needs to be removed and what type of tile you’re working with. With a bit of elbow grease (and maybe a power tool), you can get your tile looking new again.
To remove grout from the surface of your tile, try the sugar and water method.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1-gallon hot water. This mixture will soften the grout, allowing you to scrub it away. Using a clean cloth, sponge, or brush, apply the sugar and water mixture to the grout you want to remove. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, then use a heavy-duty sponge to wipe away the softened grout.
Vinegar also softens grout but it may stain your tiles so always do a test first to see if this will be the case.
Using Wood to Remove Grout
If the sugar and water method doesn’t work, or if you’re working with particularly stubborn grout, you can try using a piece of hardwood to remove it.
Start by wetting the grout with water to begin to soften it.
Next, grab a piece of hardwood, such as oak, with a square edge. Smooth the edge with soft sandpaper if it is too rough so as not to scratch the tile.
Once the grout has been softened, rub the flat edge of the wood over the larger chunks of grout to remove it. When all the larger chunks have been removed, use a nylon scouring pad soaked in water to remove the rest. This should leave you with a smooth finish.
Other Ways to Remove Grout from Tile
When the sugar and water or wood chip method isn’t working, you can use a ball of wire wool.
Soak a piece of wire wool in warm water and then rub it over the grout you want to remove.
You can also use a chemical grout stripper, although this should be your last resort as it can damage your tiles. Test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t etch or stain your tile. This might be the option for you if your grout is epoxy-based. Most grout is made from a cement base which is porous. Epoxy-based grout is not.
Using the RUBI Scraper
To make light work of removing grout without damaging your tiles, try the RUBI Scraper. This is a patented electric tool made with tungsten carbide blades that can quickly and easily remove grout without damaging the tile. It is a precision blade that does not generate dust making it perfect for removing grout from tile.
To use, simply insert the blade into the grout line and turn on the power. The blades will do the work of scraping away the grout while you guide it. When you’re finished, clean up the tiles with a damp cloth or sponge.
Tips for Safe Grout Removal
Whether you’re using manual methods or an electric tool, there are a few things you should keep in mind to stay safe while removing grout.
Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to protect yourself from grout dust. If using an electric tool, always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before use. Keep a wet cloth or sponge handy to clean up any stray grout dust.
Work in small sections so you don’t get overwhelmed. Take your time and be patient; removing grout can be a tedious task. You might need knee pads if you’re working on the floor.
What Not to Do When Removing Grout
When removing grout from tile, there are a few things you should avoid doing. Never use a power sander as this can damage your tile.
Never use a metal putty knife as this can scratch your tile. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when using manual methods as this can also scratch or break your tile.
And finally, never use a chisel or anything else with a sharp edge as this will damage your tile. It might be tempting to chip away at the dried tile grout, but it’s not worth the risk.
When to Call in Professionals
There are some cases where it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. If your grout is cracked, missing, or otherwise damaged, it’s best to call in a professional. They will be able to assess the damage and repair it properly.
If you’re not sure how to remove grout from tile that might be delicate or in a difficult place to reach, it’s also best to call in a professional.
For more difficult jobs, such as those that require the use of chemicals or power tools, it’s always best to call in a professional. They will have the proper equipment and safety gear to get the job done right.
For small jobs and DIY projects, the RUBI Scraper is your tool. Get yours today.