How to Remove Dried Grout from Stone Tile

Even the smallest of home improvement projects takes an eye for detail and a patient hand but what happens if you accidentally spill some grout on stone tile? After all, even the most skilled tile layers can leave behind small lumps of grout. Fortunately, you can remove dried grout from stone tile using a simple solution and some elbow grease.

Remove dried grout from stone tile using a three-step process. First, soften the grout by soaking it in a solution. Then, scrape the grout away using a scouring pad or steel wool. Finish it off by washing the tile and then polishing it with a small, damp cloth.

Continue reading to learn which solutions work best on stone tile, what tools you’ll need to clean away the grout, and a step-by-step to scrubbing grout from stone tile.

How to Remove Dried Grout from Stone Tile

What You Need to Remove Dried Grout from Stone Tile

Tile grout dries incredibly quickly, making it an ideal construction material for homeowners who want a quick fix. Unfortunately, though, since it dries so quickly, it’s easy to leave small bits of grout stuck to your stone tile. Once it’s dried, you’ll need to be patient but rest assured that it will eventually come off.

To remove dried grout from stone tile, you’ll need to use the following tools:

  • A solution that will either soften or dissolve the grout
  • A tool to scrape, rub, or scratch away the grout
  • A small cloth and some cleaning solution

You can find chemical solutions that dissolve grout but these are often highly acidic and can destroy your stone tile. Instead, we recommend using a solution of your own making.

Home Solutions for Dissolving Dried Grout

Don’t expect to scrape away hardened grout without first softening it. Once grout dries, it transforms into hardened concrete that won’t break away without force. You can try using warm water but if the grout has sat for a while, you’ll need something stronger. We recommend the following:

Sugar water

Sugar water might seem mundane but makes a surprising difference when you scrub the grout. Combine warm water with plain white sugar at a ratio of 1 part sugar to every 10 parts water. Apply the solution to the grout and let it soak for at least an hour. As you start scrubbing, the sugar water should have lubricated the grout without damaging the stone tile.


Natural stone will often react badly to overly acidic solutions but distilled white vinegar is generally high enough in PH to be safe while still being acidic enough to soften grout. If you’re concerned that white vinegar might damage your tiles, test it by applying a small amount of vinegar to one tile. If it doesn’t damage the tile, soak the grout for one hour before scrubbing.

Brick cleaner

Brick cleaner is designed specifically for stone and brick materials, making it an ideal solution for cleaning grout from stone tiles. It’s strong enough to soften grout without destroying your tiles and is also readily available at most hardware stores.

It’s always wise to test a solution on a small section of tile before applying it to the entire floor. If the solution discolors your tile or creates a haze, do not use it.

Best Tools for Scraping Dried Grout from Stone Tile

Even with a solution, you’ll need to put some elbow grease into removing dried grout from stone tile. The solution will not dissolve the grout entirely, meaning that you’ll have to scrape and loosen the grout to finish the job.

There’s no perfect tool for scraping grout but we can recommend a few options that will make the job easier:

Sea sponges

If your stone tiles are made from an expensive or fragile type of stone, we recommend using a standard sea sponge. Nature sponges are abrasive enough to rub away soften grout without scraping up your stone.

Nylon pads

Scouring pads are more abrasive than sponges and are therefore more suitable for stronger stones. Be careful not to scrub too hard, though, as nylon scouring pads can leave scratch marks and hazy patches in your stone.

Steel wool

Only use steel wool on large clumps of hardened grout. Steel wool is extremely abrasive and can scrub away the varnish on your tiles, leaving them dull and unattractive.

Razors or box cutters

Razors and box cutters work well on thin streaks of grout that refuse to come off of stone tile. You can get incredibly close to the stone without gauging it, thereby chipping away at hardened grout from the base.

Wooden utensils

Wood is perfect for scraping dried grout from stone tile. Compared to a razor or steel wool, wood is less abrasive yet hard enough to chip away at softened grout. Try using a tool made from hardwood, such as a wooden spatula or kitchen spoon.

If you’re still struggling to scrape grout from stone tiles, try soaking the grout in a solution again to help soften the material.

A Basic Guide to Remove Grout from Stone Tile

First, start by washing the grout with warm water and a sponge. Warm water will prepare the grout for the solution and clear away any dust. Then, apply the dissolving solution and let it sit for at least 1 hour. If the grout has not softened after 1 hour, reapply the solution and wait one more hour.

Then, use either a scouring pad or steel wool to scrub the grout. As you scrub, the grout should begin dissolving away. If a streak of grout remains, you can use a razor blade to scrape it away. Once all the grout is gone, wash the area with warm water.

Once the tile has dried, it may be dull and hazy. Polish the tile using a damp cloth and some stone polish.

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Accidents happen, especially when you’re taking on a home improvement project. If you accidentally spill grout on your stone tiles, don’t worry. You can easily remove dried grout from stone tiles by soaking it in a solution and then scrubbing it away. Just remember to be patient and avoid scratching the stone.

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