How to Get Dreaded Grout Off Ceramic Tile?

Dried grout can be a big pain in the neck, especially if you’ve recently tiled your bathroom. The last thing you want is for your gorgeous marble or stone tiles to be covered in hardened grout that’s impossible to remove. 

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Fortunately, there are a few ways to get dried grout off the ceramic tile, no matter what type of tile you have. Some of these methods work better than others, so test them on a small area first before using them on the whole tile. 

One of the most effective ways to remove dry grout is to mix a solution of sugar and water. This works well on ceramic, porcelain, and some types of textured tile, though it may not be the best option for stone or marble tiles. 

Pour the mixture over the dried grout and allow it to soak for several hours. The sugar will soften the dry grout and help it break apart, which makes it easier to remove. 

If the sugar and water method doesn’t remove the dry grout, try a different technique. Here are some other options: 

Wood Stick and Nylon Scouring Pad

If you have ceramic or porcelain tile, try scraping off large clumps of grout with a piece of oak, or another hardwood with a square-cut end. Don’t use metal scraping tools, such as putty knives, because they will permanently damage the glazed surface of your tile. 

Before using a wood stick, you should apply a little water to the surface of the tile, so that it acts as a lubricant and prevents micro-scratches. Once the water is applied, you can begin using the stick to aggressively scrape off large clumps of dried grout from the surface of the tile. 

This isn’t a quick or easy task, so wear knee pads and safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. You may also need to wear rubber gloves to keep the stick from scratching your skin. 

After you’ve removed most of the heavy clumps of dried grout, rinse off the tiles with clean water. Then scour the surfaces with a nylon scouring pad and continue scrubbing the grout until it comes off completely. 

Then rinse the scouring pad with clean water and wipe the surface of the tiles to make sure that they’re dry. If you notice any lingering stains, use the sugar and water solution again to remove them. 

Wire Wool and Cheesecloth

Another way to get dried grout off tile is by using wire wool pads or a cheesecloth on the tiles. This method is more gentle than the other two and won’t harm the glazed surfaces of your tile, but it might not be as effective. 

A cheesecloth is a natural material that can be moistened and used on the tile to “reactivate” the grout haze, which then lifts it from the surface of the tiles. Be sure to wring the cheesecloth or towel thoroughly before you use it on the tiles, because too much water can actually harm the grout.