Best Ways to Use TSP Cleaner

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What You'll Need
Rubber gloves
Face mask
Trisodium Phosphate

TSP cleaner is strong. TSP, also known as trisodium phosphate, is a pure phosphate, and like all phosphates it must be handled carefully because it can damage the environment. TSP cleaner is certainly tough enough to take on big jobs, but it should always be used responsibly, while wearing rubber gloves and a mask, and in well-ventilated areas.


Mix TSP cleaner with bleach to effectively remove mildew from walls. Not only will it take out the mildew, it will also remove any staining associated with it. However, as mentioned previously, it needs to be used carefully. It’s best on outdoor surfaces, although it can be used indoors, too. In that case, mask all other areas you're not cleaning, and do not use it on metal, glass, or wood, as it can cause damage. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water after use and leave to dry.

Before Painting

TSP cleaner is commonly used to clean walls and other surfaces before painting. When doing so, you must mix the TSP with water. Rinse everything thoroughly after using the TSP cleaner and then give ample drying time before painting. It can be a replacement for sandpaper as well since TSP cleaner will remove paint.


TSP cleaner is excellent for cleaning masonry. Be aware, however, that where there’s extreme mortar staining or efflorescence, muriatic acid will be what you need rather than TSP cleaner in order to remove the marks. It’s a more dangerous substance than TSP cleaner, so research and take proper measures before handling.


TSP cleaner can be used on roofs of all kinds. As with all other uses of TSP cleaner it needs to be diluted, usually with ½ cup to two gallons of warm water. For very heavy duty jobs, use one cup TSP cleaner to three quarts warm water. Apply your solution with a brush.

This cleaning needs to be done with extreme care, as the phosphates will damage or kill plants around your house if it comes in contact with them. Soak all the foliage with water beforehand and then rinse it again afterward to minimize any possible damage. Before using TSP cleaner, you will need to scrub hard to remove all the moss and dirt from the roof. After this you can then use the TSP cleaner solution which will leave your roof very clean.


TSP cleaner isn’t used for cleaning grout but rather for removing dried grout. If you’ve been taking out tiles and can’t get rid of all the old grout, use TSP cleaner. It will eat away at the old grout making it easier to scrape off. Allow it to sit for a few minutes on the grout first before proceeding with removal.

When Not to Use

Keep TSP cleaner out of the bathroom. It can cause etching on the glaze of ceramic tiles and it can stain metals such as faucets and the chrome on drains. It’s especially harmful to grout; the fact that it’s used to remove dried grout speaks for itself.

If you bear all of this in mind, TSP cleaner will be a powerful weapon in your cleaning arsenal.