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How to Remove Grout Stains from Paving Slabs [2 Ways]

The job of removing grout stains from paving slabs is one that many homeowners dread. It can be time-consuming, but removing stubborn stains is also very difficult. However, this task becomes much more manageable with the right tools and products at hand! 

The key to removing grout stains from your patio or slabs lies in choosing the best product for your particular needs. For example, when cleaning porous materials such as stone or brick, you will need a cleaner containing oxalic acid or phosphoric acid, which highly effectively breaks down dirt and grease deposits on these surfaces. 

Alternatively, suppose you are looking for something specifically designed for natural stones. In that case, an alkaline cleaner may be more suitable because they are less aggressive than other cleaners and contain ingredients that help.

This guide will give you some tips on how to remove grout stains from paving slabs like a pro!

Left Over Grout Stains are a Common Problem on Natural Stone Installations

Builders use grout to fill the spaces between natural stone installations such as limestone, terracotta, sandstone and concrete.  

Before grouting either a porous stone or tile surface, it must be sealed. Without sealing, the grout will stain the tile/stone and it is tough to remove. However, there are a couple of ways to get rid of them. 

This short video from Smartseal shows how to clean, seal and maintain a natural stone patio

Two Ways to Remove Grout Stains from Paving Slabs

1) Chemical Products 

Muriatic acid is an incredibly effective tool for grout stain removal and is relatively simple to apply. Muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, works to clean grout from tiles by dissolving any unwanted grouting residue without damaging the ceramic or porcelain tiles beneath.

Fill a bucket with clean water and add one cup of hydrochloric acid to create a grout cleaning solution. When handling chemicals, always wear rubber gloves and remember to add the acid to the water, not the other way around, to avoid any unwanted chemical reactions.

Apply the solution with a brush to any grout residue on your ceramic tile or porcelain and allow the chemical to work through the stain for a few minutes.

Thoroughly rinse the solution from the area and wipe the wall and floor tiles clean with an ammonia solution to neutralise any remaining acidity present. Clean your porcelain or ceramic down with a sponge and warm water whilst rinsing away any remaining product.

2) Old Fashioned Elbow Grease

Sometimes the most effective way to remove stains is simply good old fashioned elbow grease. There are, however, some tools and methods that can make the job a little easier.

Utilising warm water and a steam mop can help lift the stains from the surface of your tiles which you can then scrub clean with a sponge or stiff brush.

If you’re cleaning stains from a textured surface, you’ll find warm, clean water and a little baking soda useful to lift the dry grout from your porcelain tiles or ceramic surfaces. A thorough scrub with warm water and a stiff brush should then be able to finish the job.

Is Grout Haze The Same Thing as Stains?

Grout haze is slightly different from the dry grout you may find on the surface of your tiles in that this substance is a film residue left behind after the installation of your tiling.

Grout haze is often missed during the installation process as the moisture in the air can mask the residue left on the surface of your porcelain or ceramic tiles.

This grout film can appear as a hazy substance on the surface of each tile and can dull the appearance of your tiles, as well as attracting more dirt and grime than an unaffected porcelain or ceramic surface.

Removing grout haze can be a little tricky, but it is possible with the proper grout haze remover. First, you must work out the kind of grouting that has been applied in your initial installation.

It can be harder to remove grout haze left behind by an epoxy-based grout than to remove a cement-based grout haze, but the job is certainly doable with the correct grout haze cleaner.

Choose your applicable grout haze remover and, whilst wearing protective gloves, combine it with water in a bucket. Fill a second bucket with clean water to rinse the tiles after cleaning.

Sweep or vacuum the affected tiles and then dampen the surface with a mop. Apply the grout haze remover to the tile with a stiff brush and scrub the face of each affected tile. Work in small areas and continually rinse each tile with water, making sure to replace this water once it becomes dirty.

Repeat this process over each affected tile until the grout haze remover has been successful in the removal of any remaining grout haze residue.

Does Vinegar Work Against Grout Residue? 

A vinegar solution is a cheap and effective way to remove grout haze on a budget. Mixing one part white vinegar to four parts water will create a grout haze cleaner that is surprisingly good at removing excess grout and haze from many types of tile.

Apply this mixture in much the same way as a branded grout haze cleaner and scrub each tile with a stiff-bristled brush to remove the offending grout haze.

Whilst this vinegar mixture can be effective on smooth-surfaced patio tiles like porcelain or ceramic, we recommend a specialist cleaner if you’re cleaning a porous or textured surface like quarry tiles, stone tiles, slate or paver tiles, especially if you’re cleaning an outside surface such as a patio or wall.

Last Word 

After you’ve read this blog post, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to removing grout stains or grout haze from your patio or pavers. One is that the tips above should help with how best to tackle these types of dirt issues.

If you are just thinking about grouting then these patio grout reviews show which is the top product to buy.

The other is that even though it may seem like an impossible task at times, you can remove grout stains from paving slabs and patio surfaces if you start working on them quickly. Good luck!