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How Do I Remove The Hazy Coating From My Porcelain Tiles?

In my last article I mentioned the coatings that certain factories are applying to their porcelain tiles. In truth there are lots of different types of coating being used. Their purpose is to afford some protection to the tiles during transport, handling and of course, installation. Why are they doing this? Well, many newer porcelain tiles are not being manufactured to quite the same exacting standards that they once were, particularly, those emanating from the Far East.

They are intended to be removed before, during or after grouting. Many of them use standard, paraffin-type waxes which are relatively easy to remove but others however use more modern, polymers that can be much harder to remove and each can require a different chemical.

For standard waxes, the easiest and safest way to remove them would be to use a product designed specifically for this job, such as MicroscrubTM by All for Stone. We have talked about this product (and its many other uses) before, but this is the task it was actually designed for. The process is simple; just pour some MicroscrubTM onto the tiles, add a little water and scrub with a white nylon emulsifying pad, rinse and you’re done.

For the more difficult types, it could involve a bit of trial an error I am afraid. Some respond well to strong alkaline cleaners, while others really require a solvent-type product. You have to be careful with solvents not just for the obvious reasons but also, because some of them can darken the tiles or leave behind an oily residue themselves.  You may be forgiven for thinking, “well I will go straight to the solvent, just in case the alkaline does not work” but it does not always work like that; coatings that respond to alkaline cleaners do not always necessarily respond to solvents, and visa-versa. A useful tip is that MicroscrubTM can be added to either to boost its performance.

The last type of coating issue I am going to discuss is the new wave of so-called nano-sealers that are also factory applied. The word nano is being used a lot these days; – all that the ‘nano’ technology is doing (both in these sealers and also in MicroscrubTM) is reducing surface-tension, this allows for a greater and easier penetration of both the cleaner and in this case sealers, into the small (but very problematical) pores of many polished Porcelain tiles. It does not indicate if the sealer is good, poor or mediocre. The problem we have seen is that the factories, due to the speed of production and less than scrupulous quality control, do not always remove the sealer residue, this then dries to form a haze. Some of these sealer residues can be removed with one or a combination of the types of product we have talked about, but for some, unfortunately, at this point there would appear to be no effective solution – it is still a work in progress!

Copyright Ian Taylor and The Tile and Stone Blog.co.uk, 2013. See copyright notice above.

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  1. hronagh | Aug 12, 2008 | Reply

    I have recently placed some glossy porcelain tiles in my living area. They are 600 by 600 light beige pre-selaed ones. I have problems having then cleaned. Have tried floor cleaners, steam mopping, normal mopping and Methalyated Spirit. With the exception of Methalyted Spirit, the other methods leave the tiles dry with watermarks. With the Metho, howver, the tiles dry clean but as soon as I walk on them, there are footprints everywhere. Do I stand a chance having them cleaned at all? Is there a better way of cleaning? Are there any chemicals that can be used so that they dry clean? A friend suggested white vinegar, would that help?
    Thanks heaps,

  2. karen | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

    I have recently laid polished porcelain tiles, they had wax on them so i cleaned with nanoscrub and tile scourer. Now i have scuffed looking tiles. Have i damaged to glaze on the tiles? No one can seem to give me any answers in what to do next. Will sealing them take the scuffed look away and do you have to sealed polished porcelain tiles? Please advise.

  3. Ian Taylor | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Karen,

    OK, three questions in there. First of all, the abrasive component in Nanoscrub is derived from calcite, it won’t even scratch marble or limestone, I cannot imagine for a moment it has done a thing to the surface of the porcelain. I don’t think a tile scourer will scratch them either, even if it was the black/coarse one – whatever else porcelain tiles are, they are incredibly hard. If you used some thing much harder then maybe.

    Will sealing remove the scratches? – No, we are talking about impregnating sealers, which your porcelain may or may not need, depending on whether the particular porcelain has micro pores that could be problematical. I think there are two possibilities for the marks; either 1) the wax is a very hard type, or some other type of coating which you have only partially removed, or 2) in removing the wax, you have revealed the true surface of the tile, one that was not properly finished at the factory. If it is#1 – (and let’s hope it is) you can try repeating the cleaning. If #2 – then the tiles are faulty, period.

    Do they have to be sealed? – again, it depends on the porcelain, I have covered this issue in detail in another post – look under the porcelain category. But in short, not all porcelain tiles need sealing, do a quick test with a marker pen – if it leaves a mark that you cannot get out, then sealing with an appropriate sealer will definitely be of benefit.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  4. karen | Jul 29, 2010 | Reply

    I am unsure whether the marks are from left over wax or the cleaning product (creme cleanser) that we used to remove the wax and grout that stained the tiles. How do you know when the wax is cleaned off? Or is is creme cleanser/grout still in the tile? Have only laid half of the tiles at present. We don’t want to go any further until we find out what we have done wrong. Please advise. Karen

  5. Ian Taylor | Jul 29, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Karen,

    It could be your cream cleanser residue, you mentioned Nanoscrub in your earlier post, now you are being less specific, if it was nanoscrub then the marks won’t be scratches from that, but any cream type cleaner could leave residue (just re-wet and use more of the same cleaner to remove, then rinse really well). It could also be wax residue, have you tried a high alkline cleaner, like Heavy Duty Tile & Grout Cleaner for example?

    Can you post a picture, or send one to me via the contacts page?

    Ian

  6. Ian Taylor | Jul 29, 2010 | Reply

    It could also be grout staining of course, a picture would really help, send me a message from the contacts page and I will email you back so you can email me the picture

  7. Debbie Porter | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

    Hi
    I have had black porcelain tiles down in my kitchen for about 2 years. I was under the impression they didn’t need sealing but they always look so grubby even after cleaning. It’s like a grubby haze which looks worse on a sunny day.
    The only time they looked their best was when my young children had a ball with a bottle of washing up liquid and some water all over the floor. It took hours of rinsing and hoovering up with my vax but the floor was spotless.
    Does it just need a really good clean/strip then an impregnated sealer?
    Thanks

  8. Yinlam Fung | Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Taylor,

    Great blog that you have here, I was just cleaning with water and vinegar my new porcelain which actually took away all the grout marks without any problem, but now I can see the hazy/cloudy affect. In some areas I can take it out with my nail, but I’ll lose all of it if I start using my nails to clean the tiles lol plus In some areas my nails doesn’t work. I was reading in your blog about the “Nanoscrub” so I don’t know if that may work. Any ideas?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  9. Ian Taylor | Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Yinlam Fung,

    It sounds as though the slightly acidic vinegar solution you used was enough to remove away any actual grout residue you may have had, although I don’t condone using vinegar, in the low strength you used it, and on these tiles, it will have done no harm. However it could also be true that just some water and a white nylon pad may have removed it.

    As you can apparently scrape some of the ‘haze’ away with just a finger nail, it really points to either:

    1. Transit Wax still on the porcelain
    2. Polymer ‘skin’ from the grout

    I am going to stick my neck out and guess it is the wax – but in either case, as you can remove it by scraping, it should not prove too difficult. I would certainly try Nanoscrub in the following way:

    1. Pre-wet the floor with a mop – no need to flood, just wet it with clean water
    2. Shake bottle of Nanoscrub really well, apply a good ‘glug’ to the floor
    3. Agitate the Nanoscrub using a white nylon emulsifying pad (3M set the standard but there are plenty to choose from, you may have to go to a tile or janitorial specialist to get them). It is important not to use other colours as the white will not scratch anything.
    4. You can do this by hand, or using a pole, or best still, using the same type of white pad, but on a single-head, low rpm rotary scrubbing machine, which you can hire.
    5. Scrub for a few minutes then, using a squeegee, pull back the Nanoscrub and view the tiles – you sill see if you have removed any wax.
    6. Then pick up the slurry with a mop, or better still a wet-vac.
    7. Rinse and dry the floor

    Good Luck

  10. Ian Taylor | Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Debbie,

    It sounds as though you may have diagnosed this perfectly. If the spotless look remained for a while after your washing up liquid ‘deep clean’ then it may well be just in need of a deep clean, then a seal to help keep it that way for longer. If the look you achieved faded pretty much as soon as it was dry then the wetting action had provided a temporary enhancing effect.

    It does sound more like the former so I would try a deep clean using something like Heavy Duty Tile and Grout Cleaner (you can add some Nanoscrub to this for a boost). I have detailed the procedure on here before, but it is all on the bottle instructions. When rinsed allow the floor to dry thoroughly.

    When dry, I would suggest using a good sealer like Ultra Solv.

    Hope this helps

  11. gome | Jun 12, 2011 | Reply

    we have recently fitted black 45×45 porcelen tiles but recently have been noticing too many scratches n the tiles r getting dull
    pls can u advise what should we do

  12. gome | Jun 12, 2011 | Reply

    Should we contact the supplier

  13. Ian Taylor | Jun 13, 2011 | Reply

    Hard to say, most polished porcelain is very hard wearing, and if it is not polished then scratches are hard to see in any case. Having said that nothing is scratch proof. If you rub two diamonds together they will scratch each other.

    Are they starting to scratch in use or, do you think it is possible that they were scratched already (sometimes you can have a dull finish from the factory, due to incorrect polishing for example) and this is only becoming apparent as the transit coating and/ or grout haze is being worn off in use (thus exposing the ‘real’ surface)

    If they were fine, but are scratching rapidly then they could be substandard but, it could also be your environment; many people seem to view porcelain (and other hard flooring) as virtually bullet proof – they are not of course. If you have the tiles in a high traffic area, such as a busy kitchen or entrance hall, and there is a doorway from outside then there is more chance of out door footwear bringing in harmful grit. Grit from outside can contain quartz and other abrasives and this can be your floor’s worst enemy (any hard floor, not just porcelain). I always advise the use of a dust mat both outside the door and inside, this, combined with removing outdoor shoes is the best way to keep down grit. Also vacuum and brush regularly to remove any grit.

    If you feel that there are scratches present that are not down to the above, check a couple of spare tiles and clean them thoroughly, see if the surface is dull/scratched to begin with. If it is, or if you think the scratching is happening way to easily and you are already taking the above precautions, then sure, contact the supplier and have them investigate.

    Hope that helps

    Ian

  14. alvima | Sep 4, 2011 | Reply

    hi Ian,I’ve just put in a black porcelain nano tile,we were told only to use water to clean,no detergents as this could strip the nano off the tile,i wanted to know is it safe to steam mop the tiles?also I’m left with silicone mess around free standing tub and toilet how do i get this out without damaging tiles?thanks in advance…

  15. Ian Taylor | Sep 6, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Alvima,

    Please don’t be fooled by the word ‘nano’ at least don’t think that the nanotechnology in question is some high-tech way of building complex sealers that are of much greater quality. In actual fact, in most cases, the only practical advantage offered by nanotechnology that is being employed in these sealers, is to effectively ‘thin’ the sealer by reducing the surface tension. This serves to make it easier for the sealer to penetrate the very small holes/micro pores in the porcelain tile’s surface – it is a bit like using white spirit to thin wax polish. My point is, just because the word Nano is used, it does not mean it is a good sealer, it might be a good one, it might not. If you have been advised that any thing other than water may bring the sealer out, then perhaps it is not so great a sealer.

    That may be a little harsh as most sealers, even the best, will be progressively damaged or dimisnished with the use of high alkaline detergents, and using steam will also have an effect, quite how much of an effect I cannot say – so I do know know if the steam will strip the sealer all in one go – or just slowly start to erode it each time you do it. My point is that any sealer will be diminished by any form of harsh cleaning, but it is quite simple to re seal, you would just need to by a good quality impregnating sealer and redo it from time to time.

    Regarding the silicone residue – you need a special solvent type product – some strippers will work and there are products out there that are formulated to remove silicone residues. They will also strip the sealer – unavoidable, just reseal afterwards.

    Resealing after also gives the benefit of sealing the grout, which will be far more vulnerable to staining than the tiles in any case.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

    One of the main reasosn these tiles are sealed at the factory with nano sealers it to help prevent staining from the grouting process. Now that you have got passed that stage the tiles should not have too many more issues.

  16. Siobhan | Oct 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hi I’ve recent put down cream polished porcelain tiles in my kitchen and hall but I can’t seem to get rid of a cloudy haze that seems to cover them. Can u advise me how to get rid of this. I’ve tried buffing them and this does not work either.
    Thanks

  17. Ian Taylor | Oct 4, 2011 | Reply

    HI Siobhan,

    I have written a lot on this, I don’t want to repeat the article above but:

    It could be wax, grout haze or poor polishing at the factory. If it is thet latter (dull shine, visible polishing marks, like the fine hair-line makrs left by an ice skater on ice) then it is a faulty tile and there is nothing that can be done.

    But I suspect that it is more likely to be grout haze and or wax. Try an alklaine cleaner – if this works – it is a wax coating and cleaning the whole floor then rinsing and buffing shold work, If not, then try a solvent (you can do a quick test with some clear, old fashioned nail varnish remover – the type with acetone) – a quick wipe with a cotton wool pad and the acetone, if this brings any of the haze off, then good news, a solvent will work, so try to get hold of sealer & coating Remover (click the link to All For Stone or call them).

    If no luck, you could try an abrasive cleaner – I refer to nanoscrub in the article but you won’t get that now in the UK but there are alternatives – again try all for stone.

    The worst case it that it could be a polymer modified grout haze and the best proceedure for this is as follows:

    1) Apply sealer & coating remover (solvent) – leave it to dwell for 30 minutes to an hout. Keep it wet with more solvent during that time.
    2 ) WITHOUT removing the solvent, make up a solution of acidic cleaner like Phosphoric acid cleaner, can be diluted to about 10 : 1 with water (that is 10 parts water of course), ADD this to the solvent already on the floor and aggitate with a scrubbing brush/white pad
    3) After the acid has had a few minutes to work, now ADD some Microscrub (alternative to the no longer avaiable Nanoscrub) and scrub togather.
    4) pick up the slurry and then rinse with clean water

    Hopefully that will help

    Ian

  18. brian | Oct 31, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Ian
    I have used grout sealant on our bathroom porcelain tile grout but the run-off dried on the porcelain itself produced streaks/stains that do not come out whatever I use. I also used the sealant itself to sort of “solvent” it out to no avail. The streaks themselves feel a little uneven on the tile, almost like it etched a groove into the porcelain but I can’t tell. Is this possible?
    Thanks
    Brian

  19. Ian Taylor | Oct 31, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I am not sure what brand you used but in most cases this should not be too hard to solv. As you appear to be in the USA , you should be able to get hold of some nanoscrub. THis is a mild abraisive that wont damage the tiles but should be enough to ‘rub’ the residue off the tiles. Failing that, use a solvent sealer stripper and you should be ok.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  20. Z. Michael | Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    After cleaning the laid porcelain tiles the haze and cloudy surface remained.
    We called the supplier and their expert came to site and blamed it on us for using vinegar for cleaning although she was told that vinegar added was less than 10%.
    How can you comment on this and what is the solution?
    Regards

  21. Ian Taylor | Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    HI,

    You say that ‘after cleaning the laid tiles, the cloudy haze remains’ from that I am assuming that you grouted the floor and that the haze appeared after this (it was not present before) and then you used a weak vinigar solution to wash them, and it did not imprve the situation. I will also assume that it did not make the situation worse either?

    In other words cleaning with the vinegar did not ‘create’ the haze? The only thing I would want to be certain of is if there was some kind of coating on the tile that the cleaning has now only partially removed:

    there can be a couple of kinds of coating on porcelain, a transit-wax, or a factory applied sealer. Waxes are intended to be removed, and usually need alkaline cleaners, mild abraisives or solvents to shift them. Your mild vinegar solution, which is acidic, would not have been an effective cleaner, so it may have only done a partial job, leaving wax on the surface.

    Or, if it was a harder to remove sealer, then, the cleaning process could have removed some, or partially damaged the sealer.

    However I am reasonably sure it is more likely to be a grout haze, caused by small particles of the grout (cement and polymer, maybe pigment also) getting trapped in micro-sized pores in the tile’s surface. If this is the case, then the vinegar solution would not have done much (it may have attacked minute amounts of any cement it could reach but that is all). Typically you need to try a much more intensive approach using a combination of a phosphoric acid based cleaner (for any cement), a solvent and a microabrasive like Microscrub. A certain amount of experimenation is usually needed to determine the best approach.

    So, my gut feeling is that you have not caused the problem with vinegar – I would not have used vinegar, as it is next to usesless for this, but I doubt it has caused a problem, just not worked well enough. This is all I can say from the information provided but as you appear to be in Aus, I would give my colleagues at Aqua Seal STC a call, they are very experieneced in such issues.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  22. Daniel Nelson | May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Hi,

    We have recently installed hitom porcelain tiles from B & Q that recommend removal of transit wax and then sealing before and after grouting. I set about cleaning the tiles with LTP grimex and rinsing well. Having now laid the tiles, I have realised that they have been left streaky and cannot get them clean. I am yet to grout the tiles, as I really want to get a good clean finish first.

    The streaks seem to follow the general pattern of scrubbing, but there are also finger print marks (rubber gloves) left where the tiles were held.

    I have tried the grimex again, but it makes no difference. Do you think nano scrub would help?

    What is interesting is that I tiled the wc with the exact same tiles, but hadn’t read the instructions, so never removed the transit wax or sealed the tiles and they have a much better looking finish. That was some time ago and the tiles still look good, although the grout has no dirtied.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Daniel

  23. Ian Taylor | May 11, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Daniel,

    It sounds like maybe you only partially removed the wax. Usually this happens when we do not rinse effectively. The grimex would have broken down the wax and left it flaoting in suspencion, if this was not adequately removed, then rinsed with fresh water it can settle back down on the surface, or it can be made ‘thinner’ and if not rinsed it can get deeper into any micropores present in the tile surface.

    You could try again, this time leaving the Grimex to work for 15 minutes then scrub, then pick up the solution. Then rinse with fresh water, then immediately buff the tiles dry (you would not wash glass windows and leave the to dry as they would be sure to streak).

    If this does not help, sure, a microabrasive may help – try Microscub, as you will be hard-pressed to find any nanoscrub left in the UK now.

    You could also try a solvent if none of this works

    the first area you did, the transit wax may have ironically helped keep the tiles free of stains during grouting, and much of it may have come off naturally during the grout washing-off process – with some porcelain that can be the best way to do it, unfortunately it is not always easy to detemine if this is the case or not

    Hope this helps

  24. Daniel Nelson | May 14, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your help. The microscrub arrived this morning and I have tried it on one of the spare tiles as a test. Brilliant!! Came off without much bother. So relieved that we will get the finish we were hoping for. Just one more question. Should I clean the tiles before grouting or do it after?

    I’m thinking that I should probably clean beforehand but am a little concerned about getting the cleaner between the tiles and not being able to remove it all. Could it affect the grouting?

    I’m then assuming that I should be sealing the tiles before grouting to prevent the grout getting in the pores.

    Would you always recommend sealing the grout or does it depend on the type? Was going to use bal super flex wide joint in ivory.

    Sorry, that was a few questions. Thanks again.

  25. Ian Taylor | May 24, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Daniel

    You are correct with your order, clean the tiles first as this way you acn be sure that they are clean to start with. Don’t worry about the cleaner getting in the joints, just rinse well (flush it out of the joints) after cleaning, and if you can use a wet vac. If any residue left in joints when dry use a soft hand brush – there is no bond-breaker in there, it will just be like dust, so easy to get out.

    I do not say always seal grout – it does depend on the grout. The one you propose is heavu=ily polymer modified so it is in ‘less’ need of sealing but that does not mean it will not benefit from sealing. However, I would say that it is a MUST to seal before as that will help prevent the grout from staining or stikcking to the tile surface.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  26. Jotishna | May 26, 2012 | Reply

    Hi, I need ad
    vise and help please. We have built a new house and have pre sealed porcelain tiles laid. It has left a haze/cloudy look about on all the tiles, I have spent money on tile cleaners and have had a professional tile cleaner clean the tiles but that hazy look is still there. I am devastated, its heartbreaking. Please help. Regards, Jotishna

  27. Ian Taylor | May 30, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Jotishna,

    Sorry to hear this, there could be a couple of reasons: Poor finishing of the polished surface at the factory, the sealer itself could be the problem or it could be grout haze.

    It is very hard for me to advise unseen like this. I suggest you contact my Australian partner A’nge at http://www.aqua-seal.com.au – discuss it over the phone with him and if you can, send some pictures – he is very experienced with porcelain problems

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  28. terry caldwell | Jul 19, 2012 | Reply

    Bathroom stall has a haze to it. Very thick. It is on slate.i got 99% of it off but still some left on tile. Can i use acitone to remove the rest of it?

  29. Ian Taylor | Jul 23, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Terry,

    Do you mean grout haze or calcium or other mineral build up. I doubt acetone will do anything. A solvent like that may work on any polymer content in grout haze and this may help, but I suspect you are really looking at an acidic cleaner – such as one based on Phosphoric acid.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  30. Jessica | Oct 14, 2012 | Reply

    About a month ago I scrubbed the bathroom floor tiles and I think I scrubbed the glaze off some of the tiles because some of them are lighter than others. I know it definitely was not the cleaning product because I have used it on the laundry tiles. So, I was wondering if I could lightly sand the tiles so they are all the one colour and go over them with a tile sealer? Or could I just use a tile sealer? I just want them to be all the same colour, well shade of colour. I’m not sure whether they are ceramic or porcelain.

    Thanks

  31. Ian Taylor | Oct 15, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Jessica,

    Bit confusing here, first of all, I doubt very much that you could manually ‘scrub off’ a glaze – not unless you were using strong abrasives like very coarse sand paper or even diamonds!

    Maybe you have polished porcelain – porcelain is a type of ceramic tile that can be mechanically polished. Some of these ties come with a factory applied wax coating or surface sealer – it is possible that your scrubbing has partially removed this? If so you need to removed the rest of it, and you may find that the tiles are intended to be like this, or it could be a residue of a cleaner that has dried on – you could try cleaning again, only this time rise well and polish dry with a towel – see if that makes a difference.

    failing that, Can I suggest you contact a friend of mine (as you appear to be in Australia) who may be able to help: http://www.aqua-seal.com.au

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  32. coady | Jan 2, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    I have some 600×600 gloss black porcelain tiles on my floor, when they wear installed i noticed they had a lot of scratches in them, most of them are half moor shape as if they where down when grouting, I paid £1000 for 33sqm, im unsure if the tiler is to blame or if i have faulty tiles, the tiles have a lot more scratches now and they have only been down a few months, i take great care of my home so i dont think its something i have done, My mother has had porcelain tiles in her hallway for years in a heavy traffic home, and there still like new, What would u think the issue is? do i have cheap or faulty tiles? or could it be the fault of the tiler? thanks Coady

  33. Ian Taylor | Jan 3, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Coady,

    The key here is to look at a sample of a spare tile if you have one, lay it down on the floor and see if it also has the same type and amount of scratches.

    Also, try to establish if the tiles have a top coating of anything, some porcelain tiles have a transit wax on them. I note that somewhere in the description of the tiles, (in the link that you provided me) says the tiles are ‘pre-sealed’ – this can mean a water-based impregnator applied at the factory and it is possible that there are traces of this on the surface of the tile.

    So, if a sample, spare ‘unfixed’ tile from the same batch (so any that you have left over) shows little or no scratching but all the installed ones do – then clearly the ‘scratching’ has occurred during and/or after installation. If this is the case then we next need to determine if the scratching is in the tile itself, or in some kind of coating that is on the tile (wax or sealer residue).

    If you are seeing more and more scratches, then this could indicate that the transit wax is slowly being ‘scratched’ off – so needs removing completely.

    Check the box and with the supplier to see if there is a known wax/coating issue (the wax is put there ironically, to stop/prevent scratching of the tiles against each other during transit). If there is then try removing it with an alkaline cleaner, or a miroabrasive cleaner. For some stubborn waxes and some sealer residues you would need a solvent based sealer remover – but some clear nail-varnish remover with acetone in it can give you a quick test.

    If the scratches prove to be in the coating, and you can find a way to easily remove the coating – then you may have solved the issue.

    If there is no wax, or if you can remove it but the scratches are still there then they wold appear to be in the tile.

    I understand your idea that the curved, or half-moon pattern to the scratches may suggest scratching by the grouting process – it is possible but the tiles would have to be very soft for this to happen (it does happen with some stone) and if it is the grout scratching the tile, then I don’t think it fair to blame the tiler, as there would be no realistic way for him to avoid it. Grout cold certainly scratch any wax coating though.

    However there could be another explanation, sometimes tiles have circular scratches like this from the polishing process – swirls and curves etc, if this was the case then it would be a faulty tile. Have a look closely at a spare tile, can you see the same type of issue? – if not, or if it is there but less visible, then it could be the surface of the tile beneath any wax – as the wax is being removed from your floor(first from grouting and then through foot traffic etc) it is becoming more visible.

    So there are a few things to check, I find it unlikely that a good quality porcelain would scratch so much, so quickly through ‘normal use’

    Hops this is of some help

    Ian

  34. Renny | Jun 22, 2013 | Reply

    Is it ok to use machine to clean my polished porcelain tile daily?

  35. Ian Taylor | Jun 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Renny,

    If you mean some kind of rotary brush machine or floor buffer you should be fine for every day use. However try to stay with either white (finest) pads of s soft brush

    Hope that helps

    Ian

  36. Pauline | Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    I have a travertine backsplash we had our favorite lake picture printed on it. The person that laid the grout let it run over my tile so I decided to use a semi-gloss sealer to cover the drip, it covered, but now I have a few spots that were applied ‘heavy’ how can I even those areas out without compromising the total finish.

  37. Ian Taylor | Sep 18, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Pauline,

    if you have run spots from the sealer, I doubt you can do anything other than remove the sealer and start again. If your sealer was solvent based, then rubbing some more sealer over it and trying to use the solvent within to re-emulsify the sealer may help. failing that contact the sealer company and get their advice for removing it.

    If the grout haze is still present maybe you can carefully remove that before re applying the sealer?

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  38. Jocelyn | Sep 22, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian
    This is such a useful blog and I have learnt so much from it – thank you! As a result of what I have read I have decided to go with Matt glazed porcelain tiles for my kitchen (not polished or unglazed as I had originally thought). My reasoning being that these will be the most stain resistant and easy to clean – hope I’m right about that?! Anyhow my question is, if I can find out from the supplier whether the glazed tiles have a transit wax on them, is it best to grout before attempting to remove the wax and then clean the whole floor using the methods and products you have described elsewhere (which I think are alkaline cleaner, followed by solvent based followed by microscrub?) to remove any factory wax, as well as any grout haze? Since they are glazed, I am assuming sealing is not an issue so no need to do anything to the tile to protect them before grouting. Thanks again!

  39. Ian Taylor | Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hi,

    Glad we can help, if you are truly getting a glazed tile, then it does not really matter that it is a porcelain, it could be anything beneath that layer of glaze. I am not aware of any glazed porcelain tiles that have a transit wax issue, if there were to be a wax on the glaze, it would in theory need only a very simple wash with a mild detergent to remove, as nothing will penetrate the glaze (a glaze is just like the finish on a mug or plate, chip the glaze and you reveal the clay/porcelain body beneath, but with the glaze intact you just wipe it.)

    Similarly you are correct in that you should require no sealer on a glazed tiles (nothing stopping you applying a sealer to the grout though, as that will be porous).

    Also, glazed tiles are much easier to grout, as the grout wipes off the surface much more readily. You can still get a mild grout haze left on the surface of the glaze if you do not pay enough attention to the grout removal and rinsing process, but a very mild grout haze remover, or Microscrub would resolve that normally (although there is no reason that you should be left with a haze in the first place)

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  40. Jocelyn | Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Thank you – that’s great! Is there any cleaner you recommend for removal of the grout residue and can it be used as a regular floor cleaner?

  41. Ian Taylor | Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Any proprietary cleaner designed to remove grout haze, usually based on diluted, mild phosphoric acid. Then you dilute it again. Can use them to clean some other things (like rust marks from toilet bowls, and general descaling of limescale)

    However be careful not to use on or near any acid sensitive surfaces (marble, limestone, some metals etc)

    I do repeat though there should be no need if the grouting is done correctly.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

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