How to Remove Grout around Bathtub Tile

Old grout in creamy white bathtub tile
  • 3-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-300
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Grout saw
Dremel tool
Carbide bits
Protective goggles
Protective face mask
Masking tape
Grout scraper
Scraper with a teardrop bit
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Grout saw
Dremel tool
Carbide bits
Protective goggles
Protective face mask
Masking tape
Grout scraper
Scraper with a teardrop bit

When you grout bathtub tile you do so in order to protect the wall that is behind it from moisture, but sometimes you will have to or want to remove grout. You may want to replace broken tiles or just change the color. Perhaps the grout is old and is peeling, discolored, or cracked and no longer offering protection.

Step 1 - Protect

mask and goggles

Removing grout will cause grout dust to rise. A bathroom is a very small space with limited ventilation. Grout dust is detrimental to your eyes and your breathing but it is also bad for your porcelain, counters and your mirrors. Before you begin to remove grout, put on the face mask and goggles.

To avoid heavy cleanup later use a drop cloth to cover your exposed bathroom areas to prevent dust from settling. When you remove grout you'll be working close to your tile. To protect the tiles tape them along the grout edge with masking tape.

Step 2 - Choose the Tools

You can use either manual tools or power tools to remove grout. A grout saw with a carbide-tipped blade and the grout scraper with carbide tips are examples of manual tools.

The blade of the saw resembles a bent screwdriver with a blade about 1 1/2 inches long. The scraper has a handle with a head in the shape of a triangle. They are easy to use and inexpensive but they are manual so the job will take longer to complete. The upside is you maintain complete control of the tool.

Power tools are another option. A Dremel tool is great for getting between the grout lines and you can change the tip to fit your needs. A good tip is to use both manual tools and power tools. This way you can have both speed and precision to remove grout.

Step 3 - Remove the Grout

cutting away grout from tile

Cut a groove in the grout with either the Dremel tool of the grout saw. It may only take a few strokes if the grout is porous. If, however, it is very hard, you will have to use more effort to get that first groove. Use even and firm pressure when you are cutting a groove. Then pull the grout from the groove. To do this, make the groove larger by using a grout scraper. To remove grout that is deep down use the scrape tool with the teardrop tip.