After you've done all the hard work of choosing the color, size and material of the tile you plan to use to spiff up your space, laying the tile, securing it and cleaning the surface to its best shine can seem like the easy part of the project. Grouting porcelain tiles with the proper materials can showcase their brilliant proponents. When little flecks or clumps of concrete or mortar are left behind from the grouting job, it can take away from the aesthetic. But there are a few ways to eradicate dried grout from your otherwise pristine porcelain surfaces.
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Tips on Grouting
You can reduce the need to chip, buff and cajole hardened pieces of grout from your porcelain tiles at the onset of the project. A bad grout job can ruin a gorgeous layer of porcelain tile. To keep the grout from marring the tile, use painters tape to cover painted walls and the tile edges. Any exposed trim or tiles with crevices should also be covered in tape to save you time on the backend of this lengthy endeavor. Make sure the grout is powder-free and roll the bucket continuously during mixing. It should have the consistency of peanut butter. This will cut down on clumps and dust that can cover tiles as you work.
Homemade Grout Remover
There are many household cleaners that can buff freshly grouted tiles to a proper shine. Cleaning grout off tile with vinegar is standard as the vinegar won't harm the tiles but will cut through the layer of grime the grout can leave behind. Cleaning grout off tile with vinegar or another acid-based cleaner can wipe up little granules and dust without a lot of effort. For bigger jobs, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda into a squeeze bottle and mix it with a 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and a drop of dish liquid. This will sting if it gets into cuts on your skin so you may want to don some gloves if using this solution. Let it sit on the tile for five to 10 minutes to work its magic before scrubbing it with a soft sponge. This homemade solution will brighten the tile quickly and cut through stubborn clumps of grout on the porcelain tile.
Dried Grout on Porcelain Tile
For tough jobs, a steel scourer pad may be needed along with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver. You may need to get the flat edge of either tool under the big clump and chisel it off the top of the tile. Porcelain tile is made of a pretty durable material and should be able to take minor messing with to remove leftover grout on its surface. Finish off the leftover gravely clumps attached to the tile with the steel scourer. Buff out any haze with a damp soft sponge and baking soda.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.