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How to remove cement dust from ceramic tile


Q. Post-hurricane Wilma I finally found a contractor to replace my painted shadow box fence. Not only has he disappeared without finishing the job, but a fine layer of cement dust was spilled on my tiled patio, it rained and now it has set. Is there any way to remove a thin coating of cement from glazed outdoor ceramic tile? Will pressure cleaning possibly get it off? Or acid? Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Mary Henderson


A. Hi Mary. Cement is nowhere near as hard as ceramic tile. Pick a small area and scrub it with a tampico brush, or a sponge with scotchbrite on one side, and come up with a practical scrubbing protocol for the whole patio. The sooner the better; cement takes at least a couple to a few days to fully cure. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. You can do a couple of things. First, you can purchase a [adv: item on eBay & Amazon] for masonry/mortar clean up, or second, make a mix of 10% hydrochloric acid with water and spray or sponge over affected surface. Clean with fresh water. This will dissolve the film. Good luck.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

A. Hi use surclean or vinegar [adv: item on eBay & Amazon], and a lot of elbow grease! go easy on the stronger acids, they will also take off tile glazings, patterns, etc. have fun.

Chris Foltz


August 18, 2008

thumbs up signHey there chris.........
I'd like to thank you for your advice..... I used vinegar on the cement coating.... left it there for an hour or so.... after that, I scrubbed it hard with a regular utensil-scrubber.... and YES it actually worked! that small area where I applied the vinegar is now completely clean! I used regular cooking vinegar for the purpose.....

Parth Mistry

July 1, 2009

thumbs up signThank you very much I followed the HCl tip and it worked great. You spared me a lot of money, I was going to change ceramics of my bathroom, I changed my mind after the stunning cleaning effect of HCl on the ceramics

Gihan Taha

July 1, 2009

Hi, Gihan. Congratulations on your success. But other readers must be warned that HCl can be a real problem if you don't watch what you are doing. HCl is not actually a liquid, it's a gas that is dissolved in water. As you slosh it around, the gas drifts away and attacks chrome, stainless steel, and electrical wiring.

Besides the need for personnel protection equipment, you need great ventilation and great care to not ruin things. So, while it may work on Mary's outdoor tiles, I really worry about the fumes doing damage indoors.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 8, 2008

Q. I have just had ceramic tile flooring removed and replaced with wood. There is quite a dense coating of cement dust left on my cloth and wooden furnishings - what is the safest way to remove the dust without damaging especially the wood?

Jackie Gentile

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