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How to Remove Tough Stains from Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

cleaning-tile-toothbrush

A common complaint associated with tile flooring is staining due to kitchen mishaps. These stains can sometimes penetrate the porous finish of ceramic or porelain and become quite difficult to remove. Usually, bleach and other oxidants are used in these cases to remove stains from ceramic and porcelain tile. However, in the case of deeply saturated stains and hard water marks, bleach doesn’t always work. And it’s not great for grout.

Consider these bleach alternatives to help you remove stains from ceramic or porcelain:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Steam Cleaning (for flooring)
  • Muric acid

Using Muric Acid

Muriatic acid has been regularly used by professionals for decades to treat and remove various types of tough stains from tile and stone surfaces. When used in domestic locations, it is necessary to ventilate the area and to be very careful with this acidic agent. Heavy gloves, eye protection, and mask must be used.

Dilute the acid to at least 1 part acid to 5 parts water, pouring the acid into the water and not the other way around. Apply the mixture and scrub the area with a toothbrush or a soft bristle brush. Once the stain is removed, quickly wash the area and discard the remaining mixture in a safe and proper manner.

Removing Grout Stains

If a persistent stain appears in your grout, you can try removing it by following the same steps mentioned above. However, for grout stains that can’t be removed with a regular procedure, removal of grout from that particular area may be necessary. This can be done quickly and effectively by using a small grout remover, which can be bought from most home improvement stores.

When the stained grout has been removed, there will be a space that needs to be filled. You can take a grout sample to one of your local stores and try to get the closest match. Once you have the material, pour the dry mixture in the cavity you have created. If the color matches to your liking, vacuum the dry mixture out. Make a small batch of grout by following the directions provided on the box. Use a gloved finger to firmly apply the grout to the damaged area. Wipe the area with a clean and damp sponge.

(106) Comments

  1. hi I have a white vitrified tile and some stainsg were there wheich were due to some left over cement.
    While cleaning the same some hard scrubbing has caused some damange to tiles and the shining is lost. and still some stains /Yellow color is ther which is not going. Tried applying vinegar/Soap . NY suggestion on how to remove the same. The vitrified tiles seems to be very sensitive to any hard usage

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Shan,

      Unfortunately where the shine has come off or there was damage you will have to replace the tile. On the stained areas you can use TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner, that should pull up any extra staining. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. There was a wedding on the property i manage and someone from an outside team tried to clean exsterior, unpolished stone tiles with an acid used to clean stainless steel. It has left big white stains where he attempted to scrub out stains left behind by leaves. It is a French product called “Corrobrill” and the translated description is as follows: “Deoxidizer Phosphate designed to remove rust, scale and greasy dirt in one operation.
    • Preparation of ordinary steel before painting.
    • Brightening of stainless steel and light alloys.
    • Deoxidizer vertical surfaces, pipes or tanks.
    use concentration of 10 to 50%.”
    I believe he used it at full concentration, and I am seeking a solution to remove the stains, if possible. It doesn’t appear that it has eaten away at the tile, but I’m not sure. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Jessica,

      Unfortunately, if it was used on natural stone it may have seeped into the actual tile and you may not be able to remove the stains. I would suggest trying TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. This usually removes any types of stains on tile. If this doesn’t work you will most likely have to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. Just remolded my kitchen, grout was used for my backsplash and some of it got into my brand new sink and left a film/rough feel to its surface what we beat in this instance?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Reggie,

      Thank you for you inquiry! I would suggest making a paste with baking soda and water and using a soft sponge to lightly buff away the grout using circular motions. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. I purchase a new construction home and we put tile in the entire 1st floor. It is Daltile Emblem EM03 Gray.
    The floor when wet seems perfect. When it drys it has a hazy look to it and it has what I believe to be grout stains that look like foot marks through out the floor. How can I get this haze look and the grout foot marks cleaned? the tile has been installed for 2 months now.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Edgar,

      Thank you for your inquiry! I would suggest checking your local hardware store for TileLab Sulfamic Acid cleaner. This should lift any haze from products just sitting on the surface of the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. Hi, I have marks on my floor tiles caused by moving heavy objects like fridges/furniture etc. Please tell me how I can remove these surface marks, they have not scratched the tile surface as such. My tiles are porcelain gloss finish. Many thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for getting in touch! You can try basic tile scuff cleaners to try to buff out the marks. If these don’t work I suggest trying TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. This product should take out all types of stains or marks. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  6. Hi,
    I have new porcelain bathroom tiles but it is bleeding and has black stain in lot of joints and surface of tiles. Its very ugly. Would the LabTile Sulfamic Acid Cleaner or Muriatic Acid diluted in water will work? Please help before I replace the new tiles.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Ephraim. Thanks so much for reaching out to us! Just to confirm, the black tile is bleeding into the grout joints? If that’s the case, you could try the sulfamic acid cleaner, but try it on a small area first and wait to see the affects. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Hi , we have ceramic tiles on shower walls, which have areas which have been bleached lighter than the surrounding tiles.(probably to kill mold in the grout line) The dripped bleach has discolored a larger portion of the tiles. Is there a safe acid type product which would bring back the natural look? Do you have any other ideas?

    Thank You!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Mark. Thanks so much for reaching out to us! Without knowing the exact tile that has been installed, it’s hard to recommend an exact solution. From our knowledge, once porcelain/ceramic has a stain that cant be removed, there is nothing that we know of on the market that can remove it. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  8. my contractor spilled a concrete neutralizer and it left very ugly maps on my granite tiles. he cleaned it with muriatic acid but once the coat is cleaned, the stain still there. we tried pledge but it did not help. please help..

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Tony. Thanks so much for reaching out to us! Was the granite sealed before the contractor spilled the concrete neutralizer on it? If not, the mixture could have seeped in and stained the granite from within the stone, as it is a very porous material. If this has occurred, it is almost impossible to get the stain out as it is not just on the surface of the material. You could try using a sulfamic acid cleaner, which is a heavy duty cleaner. Otherwise, your only other option is to call a stone restoration company, who would probably try a technique called poultice. Here is a link from google that provides more information regarding this: https://miraclesealants.com/download/it_stain_removal_guide.pdf . Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. We have a white stain on our patio stone or maybe slate tile, i believe from a plant that was sat on there, we now want to apply a sealer to the area, but need to remove the stain before doing so, we did try vinegar, and let it sit several hours which didn’t work any help would be appreciated.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi there. Thanks for getting in touch with us! Natural stone is a porous material, so if any type of liquid is dropped or sitting on top of the material, it will seep in through the stone and stain from within, which sounds like what has happened with your case. Sealing the material prevents this from happening, but unfortunately, once it has happened it is usually impossible to remove. Your only option is to call a stone restoration company, who would probably try a technique called poultice. Here is a link from google that provides more information regarding this: https://miraclesealants.com/download/it_stain_removal_guide.pdf
      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Hi there, I have these stubborn stains on my tiles that I have not been able to remove after trying multiple cleaning products and scrubs (Clorox Bleach, Tough Stain Removers) It appeared after the aircond repair guy did some chemical cleaning for one of the air conditioners. I’ve attached a picture in the link below if you would like to have a look – what do you suggest?

    http://postimg.org/image/j9d0y58n5/

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Ramesh,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would suggest using TileLab Sulfamic Acid cleaner, this removes almost all stains on tiles. If this doesn’t work you may need to change out your tiles. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  11. Cheap white tiles on bathroom floor….hard well water stains from toilet replacement and repairman boots.. HOW DO I GET THIS CLEAN, I’ve tried bleach/bleach water mixture , vinegar and baking soda mix, Awesome cleaner…it’s still there. Thank you.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi MizzyYvette,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I suggest trying to find TileLab Sulfamic Acid cleaner. That should take off the stains from your tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  12. Yes I just removed a broken soap dish from the shower wall.I removed the glue and caulking .but it left a yellowish stain on the wall.I used lime cleaner and earser trying to removed it .thank you David .

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Amar,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Sorry to hear about your tiles. I would try using a sulfamic acid cleaner to remove the burn stains. Unfortunately, if this does not work you will have to replace the tiles. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  13. I live in France. We have recently removed carpet which had been stuck down with very strong glue It has left brown stains. Can you suggest a way of removing them please\/
    Kind regards
    Maureen gelfer

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Maureen,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would suggest using TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid Cleaner to get the stains out. Usually this is a tile cleaner but it should work really well in this case. I’m not 100% sure if this brand is sold in France but there should be a similar sulfamic acid cleaner available. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  14. I sprayed comet foaming disinfectant cleaner in my brown colored tile in my shower and it left white spray stains all over ! Is there a way to remove the stains ?

  15. Pls my tile has caked cement on it. Do you have any Chemical that can remove it? It’s very urgent. Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Itoya,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would suggest getting the TileLab Grout Release product. If it is extremely bad try using the TileLab Sulfamic Acid cleaner. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  16. I just finished my basement. The tiles have stains on them from spackle. I got off the actual drippings but I can’t get rid of the stains. Any ideas?
    Rachel

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for your inquiry! I would suggest looking for the TileLab Sulfamic Acid Cleaner at your local hardware store. That should be able to pull up most stains. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  17. This is a common problem at home which always give headache for housewives. Glad there are reviews like this available on the web to guide those having issues removing stains.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your feedback, we’re glad we could help! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns!

  18. Hi I just finished my home. Workers were very ignorant as they did their work and now my ceramic floors are all stained with a painty dusty look no matter how often we clean it. It’s shows a lot on the darker colour tiles and wood look tiles. I’m kinda broke with a brand new house that looks dirty!!! Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Fady,

      Thank you for getting in touch, I’m sorry to hear about your tiles! I would suggest taking a look at some TileLab products at your local hardware store. They have a wide variety of products that can clean almost anything off a tile. It would be best to speak to your workers to see if they know what the substance on the top is first. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  19. Hi…I have been dealing with tough stain on my outdoor tiles whereby I have put a ceramic pot on it for a month. I noticed there was a round stain on the tile when I removed it. I have use acid to remove it but it seems that it won’t go away. Anything I can do ? Thank you.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Fan,

      Thank you for your inquiry! I suggest searching TileLab and checking if they have a few of their tile cleaning products available in your area. They have a large selection of products that can take care of most tile stains. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  20. I used a SoftScrub Disinfecting Bathroom cleaner on porcelain tiles on shower floor. I appears that the finish has been removed wherever the cleaner was sprayed. What can I do to get the tiles looking good again?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Maureen, The cleaner shouldn’t have removed the finish. It would be more likely that the cleaner has left a residue and dirt may be sticking to you. You can try a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to try to clean the residue off. If the finish has been removed unfortunately the only way to fix that is to replace the tiles. Please let us know if there is anything else you need!

  21. My indoor air conditioner leaked in the night leaving mostly water, but also some white residue which I think may be refridgerant. I have beige tile floors and I was able to get most of the white stain off, but one large square of it, where it was most heavily concentrated remains. Do you have any suggestions on chemical stains?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi D’lorenzo, Sorryt o hear about your tile! I would suggest searching for TileLab products online or in your area. They have a great selection of cleaners that cover many different areas and issues. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you for your inquiry! You should be able to use Clorox to clean your tile and chrome in the shower. I highly suggest doing a spot test in an inconspicuous area first to see if there are any reactions just in case.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  22. Hi I’ve been battling my kitchen floor. It’s like marble so I’m guessing it’s porcelain tiles. It’s suppose to be a off white but it’s really stained bc of my dogs running in and out from outside. I’ve tried normal techniques as mopping it very well and I’ve tried to clean it with bleach on my hands and knees. What I do first is sweep then make my solution of bleach and water and get on my hands and knees and scrub and I’ve yet to be able to get these stains out. They are noticeable bc some parts are whiter then others. Also one of my dogs has accidents in the house bc he’s old so what could be a good thing to use for urine stains? I hate my kitchen looking like this!!!! Any advice would be great. Thank you.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Luann,

      Thank you for getting in touch with BuildDirect!

      It sounds like there could be a few different things going on with your flooring. I had a few questions for you as well so if you could give me a call at 1-877-631-2845 ext 1151 that would be great! I’m sure we can find something to help remove the stains from your flooring.

      Please let me know if there are any other questions I can answer!

  23. I have beige tile on my bathroom floors, the grout is a brown, but has white streaks that is very hard to clean………………………..is there anything I can use to solve this problem?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your question! Try this method out…

      First, give your tiles a good sweep and mop with your favorite cleaner, then in a small bowl, mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to form a thick paste. No exact measurement of parts needed — find a thickness and consistency you prefer to work with.

      Next, use a toothbrush (electric preferably) for firmly scrubbing over the grout. If the stain is being stubborn, let the paste sit for five minutes before scrubbing again. Once the stain has lifted, use a damp cloth to wipe off the remaining paste on your tile.

      Finish by cleaning your tiles as usual with a spray cleaner or mop.

      Good luck!

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