That Time I Accidentally Discovered How to Prevent Grout Haze

tiling a bathroom floor grout haze handmade moroccan cement tiles

Getting Rid of Grout Haze on Tile

I want to talk more about grout haze because it’s a common and pesky tiling issue. It’s kind of like -is there something on the tile, or maybe not? If I look at it this way, it looks okay, but from this angle, it looks cloudy. 

Although the cement tiles I used in my bathroom were absolutely gorgeous, they are so porous that I knew I had to be really careful during the installation process to prevent staining. I was so paranoid that the grout would stain the tile that I obsessed over grout washing. 

What is grout haze? It’s dirty grout water that is now dried onto your tile and leaves a very annoying film you can’t ignore. 

The outcome of my compulsive washing turned out to be a good thing because I discovered that being so meticulous led to not having to worry about removing grout haze. Because there wasn’t any!

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Buckets for water
  • Sponges 
  • Several clean, lint free rags (in the same color as your grout)
  • Cheesecloth (or paper towels if you’re improvising)

Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.

Grout Haze Hack

I’m focusing on how I prevented grout haze, but if you need to back it up a few steps, lay your tile by following this how to tile guide, then come back to this.

tiling a bathroom floor using Moroccan cement tiles

So, once I’ve installed my tile, I’m grouting, and after letting it set for about ten minutes, it’s time to start washing!

The key is to keep wiping until the water runs clear. That sounds so simple, but oh, my friend, the water never seems clear. This is where the various wiping rags, sponges, and several buckets of clean water (or access to a sink) come in handy.

With the first few passes, it’ll look like you’re smearing mud all over your gorgeous tile job. But practice has taught me to keep going; eventually, the water will clear up. As sick of the washing as I may get, diligence pays off because that is the trick to not dealing with grout haze! 

If you look closely, the left side of this next image shows grout haze, and the right side shows after diligent washing! When washing, avoid using too much water or pressure on the grout lines because this can disrupt the grout. 

clean grouted tile after washing grout haze

Step by Step: Prevent Grout Haze

These are the exact steps I took to prevent grout haze:

  • Use the sponge for the first wipe. Make sure you wring it out as much as physically possible. Keep wringing! The trick to washing less is using less water.
  • With the damp sponge, gently wipe the grout lines, flip the sponge over, and use a clean side for each grout line.
  • Be careful not to disrupt the grout. But now is the time to fix imperfect grout lines, so check for bumpy ones and gently smooth them out using your finger. You’ll also want to fill any holes using the same method.
grouting a bathroom floor
  • Next, for the second wipe, take a dry microfiber cloth (in the color of your tile!) and clean the entire tile. During this step, I use a dry cloth to soak up the grout water left over from the first wipe.
  • Flip the cloth frequently because you always want to wipe the tile with a clean portion of the fabric.
  • Again, be careful not to disrupt the grout line. You don’t want to get your rag in the grout, so move carefully and slowly, using precision to get as close to the grout line as possible.
  • For the third wipe, take a damp microfiber cloth, again wring it out as much as physically possible, and carefully wipe each tile without getting into the grout lines. 
  • I folded the cloth over my finger so that I had control over where it wiped. I got as close to the grout line as possible without getting into it.
  • After finishing this process on the entire room, I got a clean, damp cloth, laid it out flat, and wiped it like I would when cleaning a countertop, flipping it about halfway through the room. 
  • Judge how often you should flip the rag based on the size of your space. My bathroom space was small, so I only did it once.
  • Lastly, I rinsed this cloth and repeated this last step 1-2 more times. 
  • Finally, for the final wipe, I took a damp paper towel (cheesecloth would have been better, but I was not prepared!) and dried each individual tile, avoiding the grout line, just as I had for the third wipe. 

Washing grout is not good for OCD, but maybe it’s great because the following day, when I checked on my tile job, the grout haze was non-existent! Phew! Hallelujah! Amen!

Did I just get lucky this time around? Maybe. But the cement tiles I was working with are finickier than ceramic or porcelain tiles, so I dare say if it worked on these, it’ll work again on others. 

I do think this works best for larger tiles vs. smaller mosaic tiles. The reason is that all the washing on a smaller tile may disrupt the grout more so than when there is a larger surface area to work with. 

tiling a bathroom floor grout haze handmade moroccan cement tiles

Grout Haze Remover Hack

This tile job is my first time using white grout, and I noticed some spots looked dirty. Ugh, already?! I realized the fibers from the sponge and rags I used to clean were coming off. I know I’m hyper-focused on things, and my OCD is in overdrive, but I went back and put another layer over these areas.

To prevent this from happening again, I will use rags of the same color as my grout next time. With the white grout, it would have been best to have a white rag.

Tiling Project Details + Sources

Before you go, check out my how to tile guide! This for you if you are looking for tips that will get you excited about tiling and also give you the exact steps to take for impressive results.

I hope you feel more confident about tiling your bathroom floor and that this hack produces the same results! Tiling requires patience and meticulous attention to detail for best results, but as you can see, the outcomes are well worth the effort. Say bye-bye to grout haze!

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