How to Soften Grout for Removal in 4 Different Ways

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Are you troubled with removing grout? Don’t worry. This article has some tricks to tell you about how to soften grout for removal the easy way.

How to Soften Grout for Removal
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Grout is great for tiling but it also has its downsides. For one, it is incredibly frustrating to remove when replacement is finally needed. But you will be remodeling your shower, so you badly need to remove them. You may also need to remove small clumps of grout that were accidentally left on your floor.

The technique that can help ease your troubles is by softening the grout. The question is, “how do you that?” This article will highlight some of the tried and tested methods. By reading this post, you can learn how to make grout soft and make it easier to remove them for your home remodeling project.

What You’ll Need

Before you start, you need to gather some supplies. The materials are divided based on the softening method you want to try. They are:

Heating

  • Heat gun/blow dryer
  • Grout removal tool
  • Bucket or trash can

Dissolving

  • Sulfamic acid
  • Vinegar
  • Brick cleaner
  • Gloves
  • Water
  • Scraper

For this method, it is also best to work in a well-ventilated area. This way, you will not risk inhaling fumes that might harm your health. Once you have all the tools mentioned above, you can begin softening the grout. You can do so by following the steps on how to soften grout for removal listed below.

Step by Step Procedure

There are various ways to soften grout for easy removal. There are at least two types for this – heating the grout and dissolving it. For the dissolving procedure, you can choose from three substances – vinegar, brick cleaner, and Sulfamic acid. Each of these methods will be discussed below.

Heating

For the heating procedure, don’t forget to remember the right level of heat. This is important particularly if your tile is plastic, which means too much heat can damage it. The right heat level will also ensure that you actually soften the grout for removal.

On that note, keep the temperature at 300-degrees Fahrenheit if you plan to use a heat gun. This temperature is enough to soften grout and make it easier to remove. But if it is a blow dryer, put it simply at the lowest setting. A higher setting may ruin your tiles, particularly if they are plastic.

The steps for this method are as follow:

  1. Set the heat gun at the right temperature, or use the blow dryer but at the lowest setting.
  2. Aim the gun/dryer to the area of the grout you want to soften. Keep it there for a while.
  3. Make sure that while heating the grout, you keep the gun/dryer between the tiles. It shouldn’t be directed to the tiles or they will become damaged.
  4. Also, keep the dryer/gun at around 6 to 8 inches from the tiles to avoid damaging them and prevent the grout from liquefying.
  5. The grout is softened when you see it starts to peel away. This means the grout is ready for removal.

At this point, you will need the grout removal tool and the trash cash or bucket. You can now proceed to peel up the softened grout. If possible, have someone continue holding the heat gun while you work on the grout, so it remains soft for removal.

Read more: How to Remove Rust Stains from Tile & Grout?

Dissolving

In this method, you want to use any of the three substances to dissolve the grout. Besides softening the grout, they can also serve as a cleanser. While you remove the grout, you are already prepping it for replacement. For this method, you will need to dilute the substances (acids) if you want to only soften the grout.

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Using vinegar

Because vinegar is an acid, remember not to let it sit on the tile. Also, make sure to wear gloves and do so with the windows open. Bring a scraper and water too. Once you have these tools with you, simply follow the steps below to soften the grout:

  1. Apply the vinegar to the grout directly
  2. While putting the vinegar, you can scrape the grout carefully
  3. Use the water you have to wash away any vinegar that gets into the tile.
  4. Continue doing this until you have scraped off all the grout.

Using Brick Cleaner

Since it is also acid, you also need to be careful in using a brick cleaner. Just like vinegar, it may damage your tiles. With that said, use it by applying where the grout you want to soften is. Make sure that it is off the tiles or other surfaces. Let the brick cleaner do its job of loosening the grout and dissolving it. 

Once the mortar is softened or dissolved, you can then scrub it using a toothbrush. Get all those grout off, so you can replace a new grout into it. Take note that the brick cleaner may cause issues with the adhesive from bonding, so take time to think if you really want to use it.

Read more: Grout vs Caulk: Which One Is The Better Choice?

Using Sulfamic acid

When using Sulfamic acid, make sure that you wear your goggles and gloves. This is a strong acid that needs to be washed away immediately if it touches your skin. So that you can be sure that it won’t damage your tiles, it is a good idea to test it first. If you have plastic tiles, you shouldn’t use this acid.

But if your walls and floors are made of ceramic, then you can safely use Sulfamic acid to remove grout. Use it by spraying on the target area and let sit for around 3 minutes. Just as the other acids, make sure it isn’t in any area where it’s not supposed to be. When the grout has softened, you can begin scraping.

Conclusion

How to soften grout for removal? It may be tough but not tough enough that you need to break your back scrubbing. All you need is the right tools and substance to soften it and then removing becomes relatively easy. With the tips mentioned above, you shouldn’t have any big problem in softening and removing grout.

How to Soften Grout for Removal