How to Clean Grout Haze

What exactly is grout haze?

Grout haze is the film left behind on the surface of the tiles after installing and grouting, it is a milky white color. Upon seeing the haze many people are inclined to grab a sponge and wipe down the tiles thinking this will get rid of excess grout left behind only to see the milky white film return. Grout haze requires extra cleaning to remove the leftover residue.

Cleaning grout haze is not the most fun job in the world but it is the last step to installing your beautiful new tile before you can sit back and enjoy it. (Before the tile needs its first deep cleaning that is.)

So why does grout haze happen, is it a result of using too much grout in the laying process?

Grout hazing actually is a common thing that happens any time grout is laid. Grout is made up of various different minerals and cement mixed with water and when the water dries up there is the dried cement and minerals in the grout lines. The haze that remains on tiles is the minerals that are left behind after wiping the excess grout from the face of the tiles. The cement gets wiped away but minerals remain on the tile creating the haze.

You will want to wait until the grout is cured to clean the haze left on the tiles.

You can begin your haze cleaning as early as 24 hours after grout is dry up to 10 days after. It is not a good idea to wait longer than 10 days as it will make the job much harder. To clean grout haze all you need is some simple white distilled vinegar, warm water, a bucket, scrubby sponge, and a mop. Start by mixing a solution of one part vinegar to four parts warm water in your bucket. Next mop away the haze on the floor. Some areas may need a second or third mopping and some areas may require more elbow grease with the scrubby side of a sponge.

The white distilled vinegar should cut through the grout haze with no problem. If for some reason the grout haze does not come clean or you waited just a little too long, you can use a solution of ½ cup of vinegar, ½ cup of ammonia, 1 cup baking soda and 2 quarts of water or pick up a commercial haze cleaner at the store.

Once the haze is clean you are all set to enjoy those brand new beautiful tile floors. If that haze for some reason seems to still be hanging around on your floors give us a call. A deep hot water extraction cleaning with truck-mounted equipment may be able to help cut through the stuff hanging out on your tile. We have helped several homeowners in Brier get their tile floors looking great again. We can even seal your grout to give it an extra layer of protection from staining. To make an appointment for tile cleaning in Brier please contact us any time.  

Once the haze is clean you are ready to enjoy your newly installed beautiful tile floors. When you need to deep clean that grout and re-seal it All Kleen has a team of professional cleaners ready to accomplish your Seattle and Snohomish County tile cleaning needs.


  1. Ivy Rose on February 24, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    I never knew how to clean out grout! Thanks for posting!

  2. John Rosenburg on March 7, 2018 at 1:54 am

    Super helpful article. Thanks a lot!

  3. Toms Tile and Grout on September 15, 2018 at 10:45 am

    White vinegar help in removing the grout haze.

  4. James Prendergast on September 17, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you for explaining the nature of grout haze. Very useful.

  5. Lorrie Pardee on December 3, 2018 at 1:55 am

    I just had my entire home tiled with porcelain plank tile. Since grouting, the tile looks like it has an oil film on it. I have mopped with vinegar and water 5 times and the installer came back and did an acid wash. The following day I saw that it still appeared to have an oil film. (It’s like when you go into a fast food restaurant and you can see foot prints in the finish of the floor.) If I rub my hand across the floor it seems to wipe it away, but then that smear remains. Any ideas? Not sure if this is a “haze” or another issue.

    • Clean-Rite Inc. on May 31, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      By any chance did the company spray a sealer on the tile and grout after installation?
      If they did, ask them if it was silicone-based. If it was, that is your problem. The solution is more difficult. You should never seal the tile only the grout should/can be sealed.
      You might need to have your tile professionally cleaned with a truck-mounted high pressure, high heat extraction system using the proper solution pre-spray to break down the film before extraction.

    • vicki demott on October 30, 2019 at 1:01 am

      I have just had porcelain plank tiles and have the exact same problem… it looks like there is an oil film and I cannot get it to go away no matter what I try. Did you ever find a solution for your floors?
      There has not been a sealer added to my floors. Thanks so much

    • JOYCE GANN on February 24, 2021 at 2:03 am

      That sounds like an issue with grout sealer. Did your installer use grout sealer?

  6. Chad on January 26, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    The vinegar and water mixture did wonders for our grout haze. I actually used a weaker dilution from the recipe above and it worked fantastic not only on our tile but the mosaic tiles as well. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

  7. john on May 31, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I own a professional tile & carpet cleaning company and wanted to clear up a mistake on your second tip of mixing vinegar and ammonia. You need to know a bit about the chemistry of cleaning before making such recommendations. Vinegar is and acid and ammonia is a base and when mixed they neutralize each other rendering the mixture worthless!
    Only diluted distilled white vinegar is useful for removing grout haze. If you need more power, just use a stiff scrub brush on a long broom handle then after brushing the solution, mop up the slurry.

    • Tammy on June 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you for your addition to this post! We appreciate it!

  8. Jimmyglar on July 31, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Great information! Thanks for sharing such an useful and very helpful blog post! If you’re trying to clean your carpets with DIY, Read this blog – How to Keep Clean Your Carpet?

  9. Airbnb Management Sydney on October 16, 2019 at 1:42 am

    Very helpful and informative list, thanks a lot for sharing this. Really appreciate your blog.

  10. Sam on September 30, 2020 at 10:17 am

    What about slate tiles that are untreated or polished? I’m pretty sure you can’t use any acidic substance on those?