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How to Remove Grout from a Tub’s Surface (Soft or Hardened)

How to Remove Grout from a Tub’s Surface (Soft or Hardened)

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Imagine the horror of discovering that your tub inadvertently received a sprinkling of grout during your bathroom makeover. Fortunately, you won’t need to replace your entire bathtub as tile grout can easily be removed from smooth, non-porous surfaces.

Grout can be removed from a tub surface by soaking it with a sugar-water solution. Once softened, the grout can be gently pried off using a wooden popsicle stick. Tiny bits should be gently pushed off one piece at a time until it is all removed. Once removed, wipe the tub with a damp cloth.

Grouting is more often than not very easy to remove from the surface of a tub. Applying the following logical steps will ensure that the tub surface is back in great shape in no time.

How to Remove Grout from a Tub’s Surface

Grout that has found its way onto a tub’s surface can be removed with a bit of scrubbing and patience. Step one in any grout removal process is to determine what you are up against!

Two important factors need to be determined when deciding on the best course of action to remove grout from the surface of a tub. They are:

  • the type of grouting stuck on the tub
  • the material from which the tub is manufactured

The most commonly used type of grout is Cementitious grout. This widely used product is cement-based and easy to remove from smooth surfaces. The kind of bathtub material that the grout has dropped on is also vital in determining the way forward because acrylic or fiberglass tubs are more prone to scratching and require more care than harder enamel-coated or ceramic tubs.

Epoxy or furan resin grout poses a challenge as these are both impervious to water and incredibly hard. The epoxy and furan resin grouts adhere to most surfaces very well. Fortunately, these are not often used in bathroom projects, so we’ll focus on the cementitious grout for this exercise.

Soft Grout vs. Hard Grout Removal

The amount of effort you will need to remove grout from your tub depends a lot on how long ago the accident happened. If the grout is still soft and pliable, it should be pretty simple to remove. However, things become a little more complicated if the grout has had time to dry and adhere to the tub’s surface.

How to Remove Soft Grout

Grouting stains on tubs usually occur when fresh tile grouting is applied to the wall next to the tub. The grouting usually forms spots or blobs on the surface of the tub. If the grout is still soft or only a few hours old, a moist cloth can be used to wipe the blobs of the grout off gently.

When wiping the grout with a cloth, be sure not to apply pressure onto the grout as this can create surface scratches on the tub. A gentle sideways swipe of the cloth is usually all that is required to remove the grout.

A good practice is to rinse the cloth in water between wipes to remove any grout residue. Grout contains fine sand particles that can act like sandpaper when rubbed on a smooth, non-porous surface like a bathtub.

How to Remove Hardened Grout

Grout is naturally porous, so over time, it absorbs moisture. When removing hardened grout from the surface of a tub, the idea is to soak the grout with sugar water (which is slightly abrasive) to reverse the hardening process. The sugar solution softens the grout and removes it layer by layer.

What you will need to remove hardened grout from the surface of your tub:

  • Bucket
  • Hot water
  • A Wooden popsicle stick. A paint stirrer or tongue depressor will also work well.
  • Soft cloth
  • Sponge
  • Nylon scourer
  • Granulated Sugar

Speed up the removal process by rubbing the softened grout with a cloth, sponge, or even a nylon scourer. Be sure to not make contact with the glossy surface of the tub as it may cause scratches. Apply pressure to the grout using the wooden stick when removing larger pieces. This often causes the grout to pop off the tub’s surface in large chunks.

There are five steps you can use to remove grout from a tub surface using sugar water:

  1. Step one is to mix 1 cup of granulated sugar into a gallon of hot (not boiling) water. Stir the mixture nonstop until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  1. Apply the sugar-water solution onto the grout spots using a sponge. Apply water liberally, allowing the grout to soak for two hours. Keep wetting the areas during this period and do not allow the grout to dry out.
  1. Using the wooden stick, gently push against the grout from the side, holding the stick at an angle below 30 degrees. If the grout doesn’t crumble initially, don’t force it.
  1. Use the cloth to wipe away any bits of the grout that have come loose.
  1. Repeatedly moisten any remaining grout again. Rub gently with the nylon scourer and finally clean the surface with a moist cloth.

Ensure that you don’t press down too hard on the tub’s surface with the wooden stick or scourer. If the grout is stubborn, repeat the soaking process. The grout will eventually loosen up – this is where patience is required.

What Are Bathtubs Made From?

Most tubs are made from fiberglass, acrylic, or porcelain. Of course, many other bathtub materials exist, including cast iron, enamel-coated, plastic, copper, cultured marble, and stone resin. There are even ultra-modern trendy wooden bathtubs that are becoming popular!

Porcelain, metal, and stone baths are far less prone to damage if you need to remove grout from their surfaces. Fiberglass and acrylic baths are softer so take care not to use excessive force when scouring or applying pressure on the grout with the wooden stick during the removal process.

Does the Condition of the Tub Affect Grout Removal?

Baths that have lost their smooth protective layer over time tend to develop a rougher surface. Grout spilled onto damaged baths will be more challenging to remove due to the grout bonding firmly to the uneven surface.

Even if your bathtub wasn’t in new condition, applying the same method of soaking the hardened blobs with sugar water will work well to dissolve the grout from the surface. You may just need a bit more patience to work the grout off slowly, one layer at a time.

Final Thoughts

Removing grout from a tub’s surface can be done effortlessly using a damp cloth of a sugar-water solution. The fresher the grout, the easier it is to remove it.

Hardened grout is more of a challenge to remove. It can, however, be successfully removed by soaking the grout with a sugar-water solution. Once it has been softened, the dried-on grout can be removed using a wooden stick, nylon scourer, and a damp cloth. The result will be a bathtub surface that is as good as new.

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