A Cool Hack For Removing Grout Haze

August 23, 2017

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The bathroom tile looks so good, y’all, but it wasn’t that way until yesterday. Some of you who have been reading longer than 3 years or so probably remember a post about grout haze after we finished laying our faux wood tile floors. So what’s the deal with another post on removing grout haze?

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

Well, even though we’ve been working on our home for awhile now, we’re still learning new and better ways to do things, and we just have to share. This is a simple little tip, but it’ll save hours of scrubbing. And if you saw it on our Instagram stories yesterday, no spoiling it for everyone else!

There are only a few things you’ll need:
• Orbital/ROS/palm sander
ScotchBrite green scrubbing pads
Spray bottle
• Distilled vinegar + water (1:3 ratio)

Most orbital sanders have a velcro surface where the sanding pads attach. This actually sticks really well to the bristly texture of a ScotchBrite scrubbing pad. So all we did was stick two pads on the bottom of the sander and cut around them to get rid of the excess.

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

Now the pad doesn’t work exactly like velcro, so you may need to swap the pads out as they begin to fray during use, depending on how big your tile job is. Mine worked fine for our bathroom, but they started to slip toward the end so I wanted to set proper expectations.

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

Mix the vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray it on the tile and give a few quick passes with the sander.

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

While our previous grout haze experience seemed easy, this time was a breeze. We had the entire shower area done in less than 5 minutes. I gave it a quick spray with the handheld shower head and it sparkled.

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

The Quickest Way to Remove Grout Haze From Tile

So this is, by far, the easiest way we’ve found to remove grout haze. But who knows! Maybe we’ll learn another way in another 3 years and write another post. Do you have any special grout haze removing secrets, or upcoming tile projects where this will come in handy? Anyone else gotta try to use this technique for just cleaning the shower (why not!)  Let us know and stay tuned for more bathroom progress tomorrow – it’s finally almost done!


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What do you think?

  1. Jarred says:

    I just used this method on a wood look floor tile that just never quite cleaned up the way I wanted. As it was floor tile, not wall, and NON-sanded grout I was able to slightly modify my method from this. I used no water, but added a Dust Extractor to the sander thus removing the powder completely without any wet residue that you used your shower to remove. When working with no water or other lubricant, you have to be very careful what type of tile you are working on as there is a higher chance of marring the surface. A tile with any gloss at all should not be cleaned without a liquid or there won’t be gloss for long. Thank you for this demo as I have been trying for some time to figure out how to get that last bit of haze off the floor.

  2. Lindsey says:

    Can you please share what color grout you used for the subway and for the tile flooring? I’m currently doing something similar, and at the point of picking the grout colors. White or gray? Hard to know which is best! Thank you!

  3. Christina says:

    This is so delayed, but I’m grateful for your step-by-steps. We actually finished (still finishing/touching up) our basement and added a bathroom for guests using much of your ideas/wisdom. Why reinvent the wheel when you two are so fantastic at it!?! The tile grout you/we used says no sealing is necessary. I was wondering if you did it anyway or if you wish you had after all this time of use? I will try to keep finding this page to see if you reply. Thanks so much!

  4. When we tiled our large master bath shower we had some remaining haze on the marble floor tiles (while the white ceramic cleaned up easily). I used my orbital sander with the buffing pad attachment, no water or additional steps other than to vacuum up the dust after I was done, it was like a miracle to me… Just a thought on another way to do it if you ever tile again… which I’m sure you will.

  5. Seth Battis says:

    This is an interesting idea. Just have it a whirl and… I’d add the caveat that it works way better with larger tile than smaller mosaics (having done both just now). The grout lines on the mosaic tend to chew up the scrubby much more quickly, resulting in a combo scrubby/grout haze. Relatively easy to wipe up… but maybe faster not to have used the power tool to begin with.

  6. Emily says:

    I don’t have a sander, but a few months ago I bought a similar item, designed specifically for this sort of thing. It is the Black & Decker Power Scrubber. It’s the same idea, but probably not as powerful as a sander. It has scrubby heads and brush heads, and it definitely sped up my shower cleaning routine. It was only about $20 on Amazon, so a good alternative for those without a sander (or need for one)!

  7. Cari says:

    I appreciate this post very much, even if the haters do not! Some grouts with additives do not clean up easily. I recently grouted a slate floor and cleaned off the grout best I could, but some still remained it the deep grooves after a couple of passes. I was thinking the same as you if this would work and I’ll give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Terilyn17 says:

    We have let our grout haze sit for 6 months…I know, we are bad! Anyway, do you think this method would work for that?

  9. Leah says:

    Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately we hired a professional and his clean up job was sub par so I am glad to have this suggestion to try out! Keep sharing all your tips and tricks!

  10. Scott says:

    OMG what is wrong with you people! R u kidding me, orbital sander n scrub pads!
    Do it right to begin with no you won’t have to do any of that. It’s not that hard, wipe it was clean water at the end. It’s that simple.
    It’d b quicker to rip it all down n reinstall it than cleaning like that. Wow, let someone that knows how to do it, do it next time.
    I’ve NEVER heard of such a thing!

    • Julia says:

      While grout comes clean with water (and we did that) grout haze often requires a special solvent and elbow grease. Sorry to offend you though!

    • Melissa says:


      We appreciate you sharing and being open to helping others. Awesome tips for the every “man”

    • Jarred says:

      Just because someone figured out a safe and effective means of removing left over haze, does not mean that you need to take the opportunity as an invitation to spew hate all over everyone that doesn’t follow your precise process. Guess what, sometimes even when you do the proper clean up at the end sometimes there is still some haze left over that just appears as a lack of shine or slight discoloration. Nothing in this method is in any way dangerous, and more to the point, nothing here is any of your business or concern, feel free to scrub your tile in your own manner.

  11. Mario Hernandez Azulejo Fine Tile Installations says:


  12. Amy says:

    Awesome tip! And the tile looks amazing!! What did you use for grout? Brand? Color? Unsanded or sanded? Premixed or mix it yourself? Thanks in advance!!!

  13. Kellie says:

    We are starting tiling soon and I’m definitely trying this out. I appreciate you taking the time to document all these lessons you’ve learned.

  14. Matthew Ala says:

    If you have to use a sander to remove grout haze, you have done something seriously wrong grouting it to begin with. Grout haze can simply be removed with an Aqua mix product called grout haze remover. Some projects are better left to a professional

  15. Sue says:

    What kind of sander is that? Is it cordless?

  16. Peggy says:

    I guess this is a job for cordless sanders only. It wasn’t mentioned, but there’s always the chance someone might not think of that in their excitement to have a sparkling, hazeless shower!

  17. Irene says:

    I have done something similar to clean grout with an electric drill and a scrub head, works wonders!

  18. Whitney says:

    I want to just start cleaning with a sander all the time now!

  19. christina says:

    I am irrationally excited for this post. I tiled my shower and got lazy/distracted by a crazy project and work and did not scrub all the gunk off the tiles. Going home and trying this first thing! Thank you!!

  20. Lisa says:

    This is VERY good to know! Thank you for sharing ???? We are in the middle of a bathroom reno ourselves and will be doing some grouting soon. Do you know if this would be safe to use on marble? We are finding that very few things are ????

    • Julia says:

      These Scotch Brite pads are probably too rough for marble and could etch it.

    • Matthew Ala says:

      Mapei makes a sanded/unsanded hybrid grout. It’s called Mapei FA . I use it on marble and glass all the time. Mix up only a little at a time as it does dry quickly. It is also stain resistant and has micro ban in it

  21. Rebecca says:

    Neat idea! I use a mixture of Dawn and white vinegar to clean the tile in our shower and it always makes it sparkle.

    When I did the tiling I used a similar method to remove the grout haze, only I used a microfiber cloth and more vinegar.

  22. We have to regrout our entire tub so definitely bookmarking this for future reference!

  23. Kristin says:

    Brilliant! I am about to embark on a 5 bathroom 3 kitchen tiling project. This couldn’t have been timed better. You are a lifesaver, er, wrist saver.

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