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Unread 05-17-2020, 04:39 PM   #1
joea
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Oil stain in sealed sanded grout

Did a search on "oil stain" and it removed oil from the search, so, found nothing useful.

Ceramic tile floor, with sanded, cured and sealed with a penetrating sealer (not sure what, but I would have gotten in from Lowes or HD no doubt.

Over the winter for lots of reasons I began storing some car related stuff indoors on this tile floor. No biggie, I thought. Most of my tools from my ongoing renovations are there.

So, at some point, some refrigeration oil leaked out of a container and went undiscovered for an unknown time.

Cleaned it up, cussing my stupidity the whole time and began googling ways to "fix it". So far, nothing has worked and the medium gray grout is still a dark grey. Tried Mineral Spirits, brushing and absorbing, then soaked and covered with baking soda, later brake cleaner, and a heavy Dawn and water solution, scrubbing and sopping up. That last brought me some hope as while drying some areas lighted up, but, after two days with a fan and open doors, it has not "dried to lightness" as I had hoped.

So, are there any "pro" secrets? I am about to buy a steam cleaner (think I need one anyway) hoping that will do it.

Or am I wasting my time and need to just grind it out the dark spots, re grout and hope for a reasonable color match?

Thanks for any helpful tips.
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Unread 05-18-2020, 12:46 AM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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If it’s at all cleanable, you’re going to need to use a poultice meant to pull oil stains from porous material like grout or natural stone. They are available at most places that sell tile sealing products and such. In short, they contain a solvent and a material that is absorbent (diatomaceous earth). You apply the poultice to the stained surface and cover it with plastic. The plastic keeps the solvent from evaporating to allow it to soak in and start dissolving the stain. After a day or so, you remove the plastic and the absorbent material pulls the solvent (and stain) back out of the grout into itself. You need to wait until the diatomaceous earth completely dries to a crumbly powder (it might take multiple days). Then you clean away the powder and see what you’ve got. If it has cleaned the stain, you’re done. If it has improved the stain, continue repeating the process until stain is gone or you no longer see improvements.

If it doesn’t improve the stain, scratch out the grout to at least 2/3rds the depth of the tile and re-grout.

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Unread 05-18-2020, 10:11 AM   #3
joea
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I have a whole lot of DE and baking soda on the shelf.

Any idea what solvent to try? Acetone maybe?

Already tried baking soda and mineral spirits, which helped some. It seemed to pull up the dye that was in the oil. Did not mention it was PAG with dye in it. Not sure I let it dry out completely. Seems it could take forever to "dry" being covered with plastic.

Even with the plastic, it stunk up the place, so I decided to wait for spring so I could keep the windows open. But, given how this spring has been and all the other stuff going on, I'm only now getting back to it.

Scraping out the grout sounds like a lot of fun. Better by hand or mechanized with diamond wheels?
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Unread 05-19-2020, 06:33 PM   #4
Tool Guy - Kg
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Just to be clear: when making a poultice, the plastic is firmly taped on top of the area being treated. The whole idea is to prevent the solvent from evaporating. The idea is to drive the solvent into the porous material. Then, after the poultice has been working for a day or so, you remove the plastic to allow the diatomaceous earth to pull the solvent back out into itself where the stain is deposited and the solvent evaportates.

As far as grinding out grout:
Using hand grout removal blade takes forever. And your hand will ache for a day.

Using a grout removal blade on an oscillating tool is quicker and easy to control, but still doesn't make it a fun job. But it is my preferred method if there isn't a lot of grout to remove.

Using a diamond wheel on a grinder is extraordinarily fast, but potential for damaging tile is very high.

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