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topic 10246

Ceramic tile: Post installation removal of tile grout


My son recently installed a ceramic tile floor in his kitchen. The floor block surface is not smooth, it has depressions of about 1/32nd of an inch to give it a textured look. The problem is that the cement based grout has adhered to these surfaces and hardened. Is there any product that can be used to clean the grout from the surface of the tile while not damaging the tile or the normal grout lines.


Frank Mustaccio
- Aston, Pennsylvania


Hi, Frank.

It's possible that Muriatic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] can do this, but I think I'd ask a professional tile installer to take a look.

A big issue is that muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) is not really a liquid -- it's hydrochloric acid gas dissolved in water. The problem then is that it doesn't just go where you think you are putting it, it goes everywhere, and it's rusts all the chrome and any stainless steel appliances, and so on. You need outstanding ventilation and outstanding care in application.

People who haven't yet let the grout harden need to know that even though you have to sponge the grout away to the point of fatigue & madness, going over it 20 times and emptying the rinse bucket 10 times, washing away the excess grout while it's still wet is the only way to go. The depressions are no excuse for letting excess grout dry on the tile :-)

Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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