5 Best Methods on How to Soften Grout for Removal – [2023 Guide]

Published by Ahmad Jamal on March 11, 2023

Mistakes and errors can easily create grout in unusual areas, especially when constructing or reconstructing is in progress.

Grout is one of the most common outcomes of those mistakes, thus, mastering how to soften grout for removal is a must, since it’s one of the hardest substances if not dealt with immediately.

In this CleanersAdvisor guide, we’ll talk in depth about how grout is created, and how to soften grout for removal, in addition to how to remove grout after softening it, and what tools you need to use.

We’re not done yet, we’ll also discuss if vinegar is a viable option for softening grout, since multiple misconceptions are common around it.

Without further ado, let’s know how to soften grout for removal.

What is Grout?

Let’s begin our guide by simplifying the basic components of the unwanted grout.

Grout is made using a mixture of cement, sand, and water, and those components are usually found around construction areas.

Therefore, grout is created near building areas, walls, and reconstructing areas.

What Are Most Common Grout Problems?

In other words, before knowing how to soften grout for removal, we should check how grout can be problematic, and here are the most common cases in which the grout can cause a problem:

a. You’ve mixed too much water when mixing the grout.

b. Using a thin adhesive to fill the joint.

c. Leaving plastic spacers in the joints.

d. Grout haze on the tile isn’t properly cleaned.

How to Soften Grout for Removal

How to Soften Grout for Removal

There are 5 best methods in which you can soften grout preparing for its removal, and those 5 methods are:

1. Using a Heat Gun/Blow Dryer

2. Using a Steam Cleaner

3. Using Sugar Water

4. Using Lemon Juice

5. Using Chemical Removers

1. Using a Heat Gun/Blow Dryer

Heat guns and blow dryers work the same, as they function as a dedicated heating source aiming at softening the grout for removal.

Use your heat gun or blow dryer to their highest settings, as you need the highest performance and heating possible.

Aim the heat gun/ blow dryer’s head towards the grout, but about 10-15 cm away from it, turn it on, then aim it towards the grout for 3-5 minutes until it starts to soften up.

Then you have the best chance at removing the grout for good.

2. Using a Steam Cleaner

In a similar fashion, but using a steam cleaner, you can soften the grout for removal.

However, steam cleaner should be placed closer to the grout line, since it’ll produce less heat than the first method.

Therefore, place the steam cleaner’s nozzle around 3cms over the grout, and then turn the cleaner on.

The heat and moisture will work together to soften the grout and ready it up for removal.

3. Using Sugar Water

It’s a little bit unconventional to say that sugar water will solve this issue, but trust us, our CleanersAdvisor experts tested it themselves.

Soaking the grout with sugar water for 15-25 minutes can really solve this puzzle easily.

How to create the sugar water mixture? Half a gallon of water should be mixed with 100g (or half a cup) of sugar.

Pour the mixture directly on the grout lines, and as we said, let it sit there for 15-25 minutes, then get to remove the grout.

Sometimes the grout would dry out again, just add more mixture and try again.

Once you’ve removed the grout, clean the whole area so you get rid of the sticky residue it leaves behind.

4. Using Lemon Juice

Lemon juice isn’t just a project you carried out when you were 8 years old to scrape some dollars as your first economical project.

Lemon juice can be mixed with warm water, to help soften up the grout over time.

Mix lemon juice with warm water at a 1:2 ratio, and pour it directly on the grout to soften it up.

Leave it there for 15-25 minutes, and once you notice it breaking down, you can remove the grout easily.

5. Using Chemical Removers

For me, I believe resorting to chemical removers should be a “last resort”, and solutions created from home-based products that are effective is always a better choice.

However, sometimes no matter how much you try, the grout is just too strong and wouldn’t be softened up at all.

Therefore, using a chemical remover containing sulfamic acid can be a good solution.

However, grout dissolvers work better in my experience.

To use chemical removers on grout, saturate the grout with water for around 15-17 minutes first, then put on the protective gloves and get down to applying dissolver spray directly to the grout.

It will take between 15 minutes and 30 minutes to be softened up, depending on how hard the grout is.

Make sure to clean the area after getting rid of the grout.

Can Vinegar Soften Grout?

You may have noticed that vinegar can be used in most home-produced mixtures to clean or dissolve different matters.

However, despite the fact that vinegar can soften grout, it’ll be ill-advised to use it.

The vinegar will soften the grout, but it’ll discolor the tiles to an unhealable extent.

It means that you’ll get rid of the grout, but you’ll damage the tiles as well, creating a problem by solving another.

Vinegar is mainly an acetic acid, meaning it’ll most likely stain the tiles in the area, while softening up the grout.

If you’re too keen on using vinegar, apply it to a small area and test.

Even this method can be tricky, where it’ll damage a specific area of the tile while rendering itself harmless somewhere else.

How to Soften Grout for Removal

How to Remove Grout After Softening It?

You can easily remove grout using different tools that are made specifically for scrubbing out grout.

However, that can be hard sometimes, and tiring most of the time, as it requires muscles and constant effort to remove it.

Those items include: a grout saw, a hammer and chisel, and an oscillating tool.

Afterward, you’ll need to clean the whole floor after removing the grout.

That’s where our guide on How to Clean Floor Grout without Scrubbing comes to help.

Visit the guide to know how you can use Baking Soda, Peroxide, Clorox Bleach, and Alkaline Cleaners to clean the floor easily without scrubbing it.

To Wrap Up

Now you’ve come to the end of our CleanersAdvisor guide on how to soften grout for removal.

It may seem a bit easier to carry it out than when you first started reading through the guide, right?

Therefore, we’re still open to hearing your experience on how to soften grout for removal, how you removed it, and more, as you have the comments section below to write for us about.

If you have any questions, we’re open for that as well!

Here’s a video guide if you’re a fan of video guides to summarize the whole guide: