It’s not really tile, but brick pavers I am referring to. Cleaning tile is a cake-walk.
When you lay tile down, you’re supposed to keep a wet rag or sponge handy to wipe off excess thinset. We did a good job of that on our tile.
When you grout, you smear it all over the tile in attempt to get it in the cracks. You should let it dry before trying to wipe it off.
With our brick pavers, we sealed them before attempting the grout process so that the grout would be easy to wipe off. This still didn’t help. In hindsight, I should have bought sealed pavers, but I didn’t want the wet look so I bought unsealed. BAD MISTAKE!
Our tile guy attempted the grout for these pavers. He did good at first, and I couldn’t understand his process. It looked like he was pouring dry grout into the cracks and applying water. Sounds strange, but I would see normal grout, then powder grout then no grout in areas he was working on.
I attempted my own section of grouting. I tried so hard to keep it off the tile. I even tried using a cake batter thing.
I later just started using my hand to scoop out from the bucket and smeared it. Ha! But then I was using a dry rag to get the excess off immediately.
Our tile guys quit the job before removing the grout haze, so we had to work fast to get it off. We bought many chemicals. At first I tried vinegar and water. It worked okay.
Then I tried TileLab Sulfamic Acid Cleaner. It had great reviews. You could make it as strong as you needed. I’m sure it works great on ceramic tile, but not brick pavers. It took too much work.
I then bought Miracle Sealants Company Heavy Duty Acidic Cleaner. It worked if you didn’t dilute it. Pouring it directly onto the paver and lightly scrubbing. However, at $10 a quart, that was expensive.
I then bought Muriatic Acid. I bought the Green version so there was less fumes. At $8 per gallon, I could handle it. I bought two gallons and it was more than enough to cover the 600 square feet of brick I had.
I just poured it directly onto the brick it started foaming. I then used an acid brush a put on a broom handle and scrubbed away.
It immediately made “Mud.” I could tell it was working. I then used a wet wash cloth to wipe up the mud. Then I used a dry sponge to soak up the remaining dirty water sitting in the grout lines and on the tile. It was a process, but a process that worked.
After I had done 2/3 of the areas I read on the box of my pavers that you are not to acid wash. OH NO! Someone had told me I could use kerosene and I saw it and bought it when I got the muriatic acid. I then used the kerosene on the brick. No luck! It made the tile wet and darker, but it didn’t bubble the haze up. The muriatic acid works like Peroxide. It bubbles the imperfections up to the surface for easy wiping off. Really, not much scrubbing. So, kerosene was another no-good product.
I was so happy I found something that worked. Whew! You just have to make sure you get it all off. Muriatic acid will break down the grout and the stone. I didn’t want any leftover just sitting and eating away at the surface.
It didn’t make the brick all shiny and to the untrained eye that didn’t see the “before” you probably wouldn’t be able to notice. But the grout is off the surface and my feet can tell the difference.