Aldon Chemical links:
Home  |   Surface Types  |   Problem Solving  |   Products  |   Prices & Ordering

Grout Residue Remover - Troubleshooting:

The first step is always to test the product in another application other than your project. The purpose of doing this is to get over your natural reaction that something might be wrong with the product. This will aid in determining what is really happening and why.

If, after testing as described and reviewing the information on this page, you do not have an answer and do not know what to do - contact us for assistance as something is certainly different than you think.

Before emailing for assistance - do the following tests so you can give us the results in the your email. If you contact us before doing the testing and reviewing the information, there will be delays in assisting you because we must still ask you for these test results. We cannot be of assistance by guessing.

(It is important to do all 3 tests)

  1. Apply a small amount to a piece of flat, clean glass per the label directions. The glass gives you a clear view of what the product looks like when dry. With sealers or coatings, this will show you the degree of toughness and adhesion. With cleaners and other products, this will show you the what it looks like when dry.

  2. Apply a small amount to an uninstalled piece of the same surfacing per the label directions. The uninstalled piece of the same surfacing takes away anything that occurred during and after installation.

  3. Apply a small amount per the label directions to a different type of surfacing with a similar absorption. This takes the surfacing itself out of the equation to show if there is something unusual about that particular batch of surfacing.
Now that you see what the product does and how it looks - let's examine the job conditions and determine what is different. The conclusion to be verified is that something has occurred during the installation, or in the time span after installation, to interfere with performance. You do not want to do anything else (reapply product, strip, etc.) that will complicate identifying the issues.

There is no stronger remover of cement based grout residue or water borne mineral deposits on the market. Use "Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner" diluted, but you can increase strength as necessary to get the job done. Watch for etching effect on grout if used at greater strengths.

Here are pictures of "Grout Residue Remover" (GRR) on cement based surfaces. If you apply "Grout Residue Remover" undiluted, this is what you will see:

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
GRR eating cement grout smear
on a piece of stone
clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
GRR fizzing on a concrete slab
clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
GRR fizzing on cement mortar or grout
If you do not see this level of fizzing reaction from undiluted GRR, it means the following:
  • You are treating something that is not the (mineral/cement/efflorescence) substance you thought.
  • There is a sealer or other coating that is keeping the GRR from contacting the white stuff.
  • Test a drop of GRR on another cement surface guaranteed to never have been sealed. A concrete sidewalk is a good test. Note the degree of fizzing there compared to your surface.

If you are not seeing the results you expect, here are the things to look for:

  • If the grout (mortar) or tile (brick, stone, etc.) has been sealed, it is keeping Grout Residue Remover / Brick & Block Cleaner from reaching the surface. Use lacquer thinner or Aldon Premium Stripper on a small area to see remove whatever might be there. If the GRR fizzing reaction is greater after that, you have your answer.

  • Does not seem to be working well enough? If it fizzes, it is working. If the deposits are thick or deep in crevices, it might take multiple applications and perhaps at full strength. Light scrubbing action can aid the process, but let the chemical do the work - not the brushing.

  • One application doesn't remove it all? It might take multiple applications. Light scrubbing action can aid the process, but let the chemical do the work - not the brushing. When the fizzing stops, the reaction is done and that amount of cleaner is exhaused. Clean off and apply more GRR.

  • If there is no fizzing reaction, the deposits are something else not made of cement. This is usually an additive in the grout and what you see is "additive bleedout". Look for words on the grout container like: "modified", "poly...", "additive", "acrylic", "latex", etc. Grout Residue Remover works on the cement portion. For the additive portion, try lacquer thinner. If lacquer thinner has some effect, but is too weak or slow - Aldon Premium Stripper is much more aggressive at breaking down those type additives.

  • No fizzing, or just a little fizzing, and the cleaning/removal effect is minimal? The minor fizzing part of what you see is contact with a little bit of minerals, but the uneffected balance might be a degrading sealer that comes apart looking white and powdery. This is a different chemical component and requires an additional formula type. As above with the issue of "polymer additives", most sealer types that degrade in this manner will "melt" with lacquer thinner. You can use lacquer thinner to remove that portion of the problem, or our Aldon Premium Stripper to make it easier.

  • Too much suds? Could be too much scrubbing or water is too soft.

    Perhaps you are using "softened" water. This produces a higher sudsing effect on soaps, detergents, etc. The product has components that are cleaners and help in the overall process. Try water from an outside hose bib as that should never be on a softened water line. The chemicals break down the grout residue without the need for scrubbing. A scrub brush is good for moving it around and aiding the process, but actual scrubbing is not needed. Excess scrubbing could create sudsing.

  • A white residue remains when dry? It is not the product.
    1. It could be - Cleaning solution was allowed to dry on the surface and the dissolved cement paste is left behind. Try again and wipe clean before it dries.
    2. It could be - Rinse water contains minerals that are left behind and are visible when dry. See "Problem Solving" for mineral deposits.
    3. It could be - "efflorescence" caused by water soluble minerals carried to the surface by heavy rinsing. See "Problem Solving" for efflorescence.

  • For "Interlocking Paver" installations: If you use the cleaning process described on the pavers page and still have white stains:

    It could be because of "Sand Stabilizers": If remaining white looking stains do not respond to Aldon "Grout Residue Remover" (fizzing), this might not be efflorescence. Sometimes an installation might have a "sand stabilizer" mixed in with the sand. These are basically glue type materials. This glue can wash out and leave light colored smears on the pavers. Test lacquer thinner and/or Aldon Premium Stripper to remove this glue. When you seal with an Aldon sealer, choose one that will stabilize sand at the same time and you will get that stabilizing effect in a single step without the same risk.

If this does not answer your situation - something is very different and unusual. You should be able to discover why by looking elsewhere in  "Problem Solving"