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Old 02-25-2009, 10:24 AM   #1
moytoy12
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Grout line - white residue and not bone colored

Hi all and thanks for this resource. Newbie here. Just completed the grouting process on my first tile job. 12 x 12 ceramic tile from HD in the bathroom with 1/8" grout lines.

The end result looks great based on my ability, but unfortunately, I have (the dreaded?) white residue in my grout lines. I purchased the polyblend unsanded bone colored grout from HD and instead of the bone color, I just have white grout lines (looks like residue in the grout lines). Reading the Polyblend box, I'm guessing this is efflorescence.

How do I tackle efflorescense in the grout lines? Is there a solution to use that will not affect the integrity of the grout line, but return the grout to it's intended color?

Thanks for the help.

Edit: I mixed the grout to a peanut butter/frosting consistency (my brother thought it was a little dry to spread). We damp sponged the grout, then after 2 hours, I used a dry cloth to wipe clean. Seeing the haze in the grout lines, I then went over the grout lines with a damp sponge again. Still white residue. Last night (24 hours after grouting), I misted the grout per the box's instructions. Still have the residue.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Scrub your groutlines with up to 100% white vinegar and a nylon scrubbie.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:22 PM   #3
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Thanks bb. Should I wait for 10 or so days for the grout to cure? Will the vinegar bleach the grout or will it, theoretically, take off the white residue and restore the intended color?

Also, when rinsing the vinegar, will the water rinse affect the grout integrity this soon after the grout was finished?
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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No, do this right away. Rinse the area with plenty of clean water. Vinegar is an acid, but it's pretty weak, so no damage to the bulk of the grout will occur. The water won't affect your grout color now that the grout is set.
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:13 PM   #5
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Thanks Bob. I will try the vinegar tonight. I really appreciate the help.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
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Bob, the vinegar had a slight effect, but didn't quite work. However, I'm not sure I did it correctly.

Should I just pour the vinegar mix on the grout line, scrub and then quickly wash off with a fair amount of water?

I think I washed off with too much water too quickly.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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No, let it work (dwell) for a few minutes. Scrub, dwell, scrub, dwell for at least 10 minutes. More time dwelling than scrubbing. You are trying to disolve a bit of grout with a weak acid, so it will take time.

If you still aren't satisfied with the results, look for sulfamic acid (crystals) at a tile shop or maybe HD or Lowes. With these, start with a dilute concentration, then add more as you understand how it works.

Resist all temptation to use muratic acid. Serious stuff, there.

Protect your eyes, lungs and skin when working with any acid product.
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Old 02-26-2009, 04:57 PM   #8
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Thanks again Bob. I'll try that. Not knowing what could happen, I was just hesitant to screw up the grout work irrevocably. The job looks great but for the white residue.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:37 PM   #9
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I don't think it's efflorescence at all, but a very similar problem called latex leaching. Looks the same, but leaching may be removed with strong detergents and elbow grease although acid cleaners should help too.

They also make cleaners specifically for efflorescence which can be used in either case.

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Old 02-26-2009, 08:59 PM   #10
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If it is excess latex as JAZ suggests, Aqua Mix Tile and Grout cleaner will break up and remove the latex component of the haze.

Note: when using a nylon scrubby, use WHITE nylon pads...the colored ones can leave a funky residue.

Jaz, how ya been buddy?
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:02 AM   #11
moytoy12
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Thanks Jaz and Rob Z. I think Jaz might be right. I went to work on the grout with vinegar and gusto, but didn't see much difference when it was all said and done.

For latex leaching, is this a problem I can try to tackle right now or is there a cure period, or other things that I should consider before tackling it right now (well, tomorrow evening anyway)?
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:15 PM   #12
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Rob Z, would the Tilelab tile and grout cleaner work just as well?
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:44 PM   #13
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Got home from work today and inspected the bathroom tile. Good news and bad news. The good news: most of the white residue is gone. The bad news: the grout now has a slight pink tint and doesn't much resemble the bone color it is supposed to be.

Thoughts?
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