Help me clean grout off ceramic tile!
April 17, 2012 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Hello, recently I had some ceramic tile installed. There is excess grout on many of the tiles. How do I clean it off?

I have been told to use a stiff dry sponge to rub it off. Contrariwise, I have also read, to use a damp (not wet) sponge, although I was told this is a bad idea. I have found that washing it seems to work (a wet rag). And I saw a guy using a wet sponge to wash it off, on a Home Renovation TV show.

I'm unsure if I'm hurting the tile or not. It's natural slate and a type of ceramic (more than one type). And if I use a wet or damp sponge/rag I can start to wipe off the stone (the rag gets all gritty with the actual stone starting to get removed).

I'll point out that none of these methods seem to actually work really well to get rid of 100% of the excess grout.

So which is right? Or is there another way?

thank you
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Have you called the tile installer? They really shouldn't have left any excess grout (mayyybe a bit of grout haze in places, but certainly no visible solids). Grout is typically cement (though can be a plastic) and often contains sand. Read: it cures, not dries, which means you need mechanical action to remove it. If the grout contains sand (most do), you can scratch the tile surface in the process.
posted by introp at 7:38 PM on April 17, 2012

I agree with introp that if they left anything more substantial than a cloudy haze on the tile surfaces then they did it wrong. They also should have told you that the haze/residue gets harder and more adhered over time as the slow chemical reaction is completed, so it's best to clean it off ASAP, i.e. the next day after the tile is set. If you waited much longer than that then you'll need the help of an acidic grout remover. I think slate is pretty acid-resistant, but be sure to neutralize the acid and/or rinse it off very thoroughly after cleaning the tile surfaces so it doesn't damage the grout that's supposed to be there.
posted by jon1270 at 1:20 AM on April 18, 2012

Is there any way you can link to the tile itself in question?
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:34 AM on April 18, 2012

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