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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 and become quite difficult to remove. Usually, bleach and other oxidants are used in these cases to remove these deep and tough stains. But in the case of deeply saturated stains and hard water marks, bleach doesn’t always work. Consider these options as well:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Steam Cleaning (for flooring)

An alternative method for removing difficult stains from tile is the use of diluted muriatic 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.

Replacing the Grout

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.

Do you have any stain removal tips?
 
 
 

(106) Comments

  1. We just installed a heated bathroom floor tiled with honed porcelain tiles. Almost immediately I started noticing water spots on the tiles. The retailer, who sold us the tiles, recommended MORE stone and tile cleaner. I tried the strongest dilution and left it to sit for over 10 minutes, as recommended, with no results. Is there anything that you can suggest?
    Thanks
    Paula

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Paula,

      Thank you for getting in touch! it sounds like the water may have soaked into the tile but it is hard to tell without seeing it in person. You can try an acid cleaner like TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. If this doesn’t work you may need to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Pingback: How To Clean Stain On Tiles | Information

  3. Pingback: How to Clean Tile Floors with Vinegar and Baking Soda? Best Way to Clean Tile Floors

  4. Varadaraj Chandran - Reply

    Hi,
    i have white color salt scaling mark in my tiles because of salt content in water, please help me how to remove it

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Varadaraj. The best option is to use a heavy duty tile cleaner, such as grout haze remover. This can be found at any local home hardware store. You also want to ensure that the tile you currently have came pre-sealed and doesn’t need re-sealing, as that prevents the material from staining within. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. I have a bathroom with ceramic tile and i cannot get the dirt off (i think it is Hairspray that has landed on the tile). What should I use and for the grout

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Stacy. If you haven’t had luck with any of your basic cleaning products, you could try a heavy duty cleaner, such as a grout haze remover. You can find this at any of your local home hardware stores. I’m not sure if you’ve sealed your grout, but if not, it is a good idea because it helps prevent difficult stains from happening. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  6. Hi ,
    We are having ceramic white tile after mopping I can see the water stains in the tile . What is the solution to get rid of that ?

    Shobi

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Shobi,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It’s hard to tell what solution will remove the stains without knowing what caused the stains. I would suggest making a paste of baking soda and vinegar and letting it sit on the areas that are stained for about 10-15 minutes. Clean off the paste with water right after. If this doesn’t work I would try TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. Please let us know if you need anything else!

  7. Hi Sir last night I apply us flash brand Bowl cleaner Now my tiles become little bit discoloration my tiles is off-white color so should I do now bcoz boss become angry with me plz help me as soon as possible plz sir

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Hasibul,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would suggest mixing a paste with water, baking soda and vinegar and letting the paste sit on the stain tiles for approximately 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the paste and wipe down the tiles and the stains should be cleaned up. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  8. Hello my bathroom tile is pink in color but now it’s full of white scales and dark spots what to do ? I use all kinds of acids

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It depends on the type of tile you have and what type of stain it is. I would suggest making a paste with vinegar and baking soda and letting it sit on the tile for 10-15 minutes. Scrub the paste in, then rinse off the paste and the stains should be gone. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  9. I have porcelain glazed floor I used a cleaner that may have contained bleach and it has left water stain marks. On tiles. Can these marks be cleaned from tile with a solution ? Any help would be grateful. Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your inquiry! It depends on the type of tile and whether the bleach has absorbed into the tile. I would start with letting a paste of vinegar and baking soda sit on the stain for 15-20 minutes. Scrub the stain after the paste has sat to see if this will help lift the bleach. If this doesn’t work you may need to look into replacing the tiles. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  10. pls i am into post construction cleaning and i started newly, pls what are the chemical needed for clean and removing cement and other stains from tiles, so to deliver good services to my clients

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Lawrence,

      Thank you for your inquiry! You can use TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner to clean stains and cement off tile. I would suggest starting with vinegar and baking soda to try to clean off the tiles and them move to the acid if it’s a very bad stain. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. I have moved into a new house and the builders have left nasty marks on the tiles. I have tried acid but no change in the tiles, there are many patches in the hall room itself. That dark patches are not going.
    Please can you advise, is there some professional cleaning agent I can use to remove stains?

    Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Soumya,

      Thank you for your inquiry! Unfortunately if the acid cleaner didn’t work the stains may have absorbed into the tile. In that case the only option would be to replace the tile. Sorry about that! Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  12. Help! We have just spilled that liquid toilet bowl cleaner on our barb
    No new porcelain tile. It is now stained blue. What can we do?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Cathy – thanks for reaching out to us! Most tile comes pre-sealed, which stops the material from staining throughout. If your tile is sealed, you can use any type of heavy duty cleaner to scrub it off. If your tile is unsealed and it is a surface stain, then I would recommend cleaning it off with vinegar and water and sealing the material as soon as it is clean and dry. However, if the tile is unsealed and it has been stained throughout, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to remove those stains. In this case we would recommend calling a local tile cleaning company. Please let us know if you have any questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Meriam – thanks for reaching out to us! Most porcelain tile comes with a built in sealer, making it resistant against stains. The only tile we know of that does not is a full-body porcelain tile, which we would then recommend to seal, and that should be done every 2-5 years depending on foot traffic. If this is a surface stain, then you should be able to use any type of heavy duty cleaner to scrub the stains off. However, if it actually stained into the material, then it will be very difficult if not impossible to remove those stains, and most of the time have to be completely removed. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  13. I have wood look tile they got wet before being installed now they have a stain like the back of the tile above it in the box. How can you remove this.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Besides from the options provided above, you could try a grout haze remover. You can pick this product up at any local home hardware store.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  14. Hello,
    I used mosaic cleaner on my tile floor and now it has this water marks.. I’ve used all types of means to remove it bt it isn’t working…
    What should i do?? Plz help

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Harrian,

      Thank you for getting in touch! There are different ways to remove the water marks depending on the type of tile you have. I would suggest wetting a sponge with distilled vinegar and dabbing this onto the water mark, then sprinkle some baking soda on the area. Add a bit more vinegar to create a paste and scrub the stain to try and remove it from the tile. If this doesn’t work you will probably have to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  15. I have a white blend of ceramic tile that has been on an outside porch for years. They are discolored and look stained. A floor guy said they have developed “rust” and it can not be removed. Is there a way to clean it or is it truly a permanent stain?

    Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi JJ,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It would depend on the type of finish on the ceramic tile as to whether the stains are permanent. I would suggest using TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. If this doesn’t work, the stains are permanent and you would need to replace the tile. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  16. hii
    i have white floor tile, after some consrtuction work it became dirty with cement, i try to remove by acid, it cleaned but now some acid stain left overthere. can you suggest me how to
    remove it. instead of change the tiles.
    waiting for your reply.
    thank you.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Hitesh,

      Unfortunately if the acid left the stain there is nothing you can do other than replacing the tile. Sorry about that! Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  17. Hi,
    My son spilled some dish washing detergent on our tile.. it dried out and after I washed the floor therected were stains left there. I looked at the bottle and it said it contains chlorine. Do you think it took the color out? What can I use to remove those stains?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Yana,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It does depend on the type of tile you have as to whether the detergent fully removed the color. You can try TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. If this does not work you will need to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  18. Former owner had cats and left urine or vomit stains on entry dark marble floor. What would be the best product to try to remove these stains?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Hdahman,

      Sorry to hear about your floor! You can try TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner. If this does not work you will need to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  19. Hi, we moved into an old accommodation and found hard water tough stains on bathroom tiles, tried cleaning with bakin soda and acid. It didn’t work, can you suggest any better method to remove hard water strains. Thanks.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hello Sri Elan,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I usually suggest using a paste made with vinegar and baking soda and leaving it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off. If this doesn’t work you can look for a product called “Bar Keeper’s Friend.” This should remove the hard water stains. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  20. Hi. I just move in to an apartment, in the bathroom, there are some stubborn fading colour on tie o n the floor. The colour look like as if the real colour of the ties is removing, pleas I need an immediate reply on solution for it please.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Ibrahim,

      Thank you for your inquiry! You may need to get someone out to take a look at the tile to check what type of material it is and if it is fading. If the color is fading your only option would be to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  21. I have moved into a new house, the mosaic flooring has many white stains. It looks like acid stains. can you help me in this.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Aneesh,

      Thank you for your inquiry! It would be best to try to find out what type of stains they are as well as what type of mosaic you have. You can start with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to try to remove the stains. If that doesn’t work you can try a grout release or Sulfamic Acid cleaner to remove the stains. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  22. Hi, A long time ago I had a piece of cardboard that got wet and apparently bled some pink coloring onto my kitchen tile floor. I am now about to move out and wanted to know how to fix this. I would hate to get changed for such a small stain. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Eileen,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It depends on what type of tile you have. If it is porcelain or ceramic you can use TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner from your local hardware store. If it is a natural stone you will need to check whether the color has seeped into the tile. If it has not you can use the acid cleaner, if it has your only option would be to replace the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  23. I have moved into a new house and the builders have left nasty marks on the tiles. These are your regular porcelain tiles. I have tried Group removed, steel wool, and even acetone and all to no avail. Grout is gone with the aid of a paint stripper tool but the remainder are just dirty marks. Please can you advise, is there some professional cleaning agent I can use ?

    Thanks

    Colette

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Colette,

      Thank you for getting in touch! If you have tried everything else you can get TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner from your local hardware store. That should remove any stains or marks on the tile. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  24. Hi,
    I have a dark gray tile in my bathroom and the contractor either got grout or spackle on it. I am left with white on many parts of my dark tile. Mopping with neutral floor cleaner helped a bit, but not nearly enough. What can I use? Thanks!

    ~Jaclyn

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Jaclyn,

      Thank you for getting in touch! You can try a grout release product on the marks. You should be able to get that at any local hardware store. If that doesn’t work I would suggest TileLab’s Sulfamic Acid cleaner, this removes almost all stains and marks. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

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