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How To Soften Grout For Removal

By September 26, 2022Home Maintenance
Using a solution to help soften your grout is key.

Owning a home can come with a long list of required maintenance. Oftentimes homeowners get so busy and preoccupied that they forget the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining their homes. One of the many projects necessary is keeping your tile grout clean. Not cleaning your tile grout oregularlywill require it to be replaced more quickly than planned. In order to remove your grout and replace it, you will need to soften it. How to soften grout for removal? Use either sugar or lemon mixture, heat, or an acidic solution. This will soften your grout.

Let’s take a look below at what is best for softening your grout.

What Is Grout

Simply put, grout is a mixture of water, sand, and cement. It is used to fill the gaps between any tile installation. Also, the purpose of the grout is to lock and seal your tiles in place. Additionally, this prevents water and moisture from getting under the tile and weakens the tile adhesive underneath.

What Tools Do I Need

Anytime you have a project to tackle in the home, it will require various materials and equipment. Let’s take a look at the tools needed for softening and removing grout from tile.

  • Oscillating multitool – used to remove grout from between your tiles.
  • Safety glasses – will protect your eyes from any grout that bounces while being removed.
  • Gloves – will protect your skin from any grout that might cut you.
  • Flathead screwdriver – can be used to chisel away the grout and poke out any chunks.
  • A utility knife – is used to smooth out the lines of grout left against the tile.
  • Steel wool – is used to scrub out the remaining grout pieces that are still attached to the tile.
  • Grout Rake – has teeth to get into the stubborn grout areas and scrapes the grout out from the tile.
  • Toothbrush – helps spread the necessary solution to soften the grout lines.
  • Shop Vacuum – is needed to suck up the old grout.

How Often Should You Remove Grout

Believe it or not, your grout should be replaced over time. In any case, if you maintain the cleanliness of the grout, you will enjoy a longer-lasting and cleaner grout look. Keep in mind that your grout should be replaced every 12 to 15 years. Additionally, grout that has sat for a long period will often be difficult to remove. Let’s take a look below at some ways you can soften your grout for easier removal.

Use an oscillating tool to remove grout once it has been softened.
A rotary or oscillating tool is key for the easy removal of grout.

What Are The Best Ways To Soften Grout

Luckily for homeowners, there are easy ways to soften grout. If you are the adventurous type who loves a DIY project, then this is one you can tackle. Let’s take a look below at how you can soften grout.

  • Blow Dryer or Heat Gun – hold either tool 8 inches from the grout line and move back and forth. Within 2 or 3 minutes the grout will be softened and ready for easy removal. Use a grout rake or oscillating tool to remove the grout.
  • Steam Clean – use a narrow nozzle steam cleaner and hold it an inch from the grout line. Move the steam cleaner back and forth for 12 to 24 inches. This will soften the grout and allow you to take your grout rake or oscillating too and remove the grout. Make sure to work quickly so that you can easily scrape away the grout.
  • Lemon Juice – mix one cup of lemon juice with two cups of warm water. Take this mixture and apply it to your grout lines. Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Also, this is great for floor tile grout. After 20 minutes you will have softer grout and easily remove the grout.
  • Sugar and Water – take 1 cup of white sugar and mix it with 1 gallon of hot water. With this in mind, the only difference between sugar water and lemon juice is the residue left by sugar water. Also, if you use sugar water to soften the grout, make sure you thoroughly clean the solution off the tile. The residue left will attract ants and other insects. You will apply the sugar and water mixture and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. This will soften your grout.
  • Sulfamic Acid – this is a very powerful grout softener. You must protect your skin with gloves and long clothing as well as protective eyewear. Soak the tile with this by using a sponge or scrubber pad. Once you apply the acid, let it soak for 10 to 30 minutes. Wash your tiles with clean water. Then use your grout removal tool to remove your softened grout.

How Much Does It Cost

The cost to remove grout from tile ranges between $15 to $40 per sq. foot. This includes materials and labor. Conversely, the cost range is determined by the size of the job and if the grout being removed is from the shower tile or the bathroom floor tile.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about removing grout, let’s take a look at other areas for maintenance.

One of those is using caulk. When we are painting in the home, it is a good idea to apply the paint primer first and then caulk. The paint primer will hold the paint on the walls and you will want to have everything done first before you apply the caulk.

Next, if you find you have a warped door, you will want to repair it or replace it. Make sure that your door that leads to the outside is made of fiberglass as a wood door can warp from the weather. Also, keep the humidity low in the home so the moisture doesn’t warp the door as well.

Lastly, if you have an epoxy floor, or thinking about getting one, they can last about 10 to 20 years. However, if it is in a high traffic area, that number drops considerably to 2 to 3 years. To keep it lasting longer, consider applying a new coat after three years and having a professional do it so you can get more years from it.

Using a toothbrush helps you scrub in the solution so that your grout can be softened.
Use a toothbrush to scrub in the solution that best softens your grout.

When Should I Call Professional

If you are unable to physically get down on your knees for an extended period of time to do grout removal you should call on a professional. Meanwhile, there are plenty of general contractors who have experience with removing and replacing grout. Accordingly, as a homeowner, you should not worry about a project like softening and removing grout.

Also, if you aren’t sure who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. Not only can they inspect your grout and make a recommendation for removal, but they can recommend a reputable local general contractor for the job.


Making sure that your grout can be softened and removed is an important project. There are multiple ways to ensure that the grout is softened. Also, hiring the right general contractor to complete the project is key. Additionally, calling on your local home inspection team to offer up the best recommendation for grout softening and removal is a great idea. Call on Waypoint Inspection to conduct a home inspection in your home in Tampa and Central Florida.