Remove Latex Paint without Damaging Ceramic Tile

Painted ceramic tile.
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Floor finish
Scouring pad
Soapy water
Grout removal tool
Grout float
Grout/tile sealer

Knowing how to remove latex paint from ceramic tile, without damaging it, can be useful if paint accidentally drips or spills onto a tile floor. Depending on where the paint lands on the ceramic floor, a different technique must be used to get the paint off. Follow the steps below to figure out which method to use for each situation.

Scrape the Paint with a Putty Knife

First, gently scrape the paint with a putty knife. This should remove the thickest drops of paint because the glaze on most tiles is similar to a glass finish. Since the surface of ceramic tiles is so smooth, paint has a difficult time permanently adhering. While using the putty knife, be careful not to gouge or scratch the glaze of the tile with the corner of the knife.

Wash Tile and Refinish

Use warm soapy water or a hard surface cleaner to wipe away any excess paint that may remain on the face of the tile. If a floor finish or sealer had been used on the tile, there’s a good chance it may have been scraped away by the putty knife and need to be reapplied.

Use a Scouring Pad

If the paint has gotten on the grout between the tiles, it will be much harder to remove than the paint on the face of the tile. One reason for this is that grout is much more porous than the surface of the tile. Scrubbing these grouted areas with a stiff scouring pad, the type one would use while washing a pan, may save a person from having to remove the grout altogether. Because latex paints will clean up with soap and water, pour some on the grout before scrubbing.

Remove Any Grout that Remains Stained

If the paint has sunk in and permeated the grout, no amount of scrubbing will remove it. In this case, you must remove the grout with the help of a grout removal tool. There are 2 kinds of grout removal tools. One type consists of a handle with rigid metal teeth on one end. Unfortunately, this type of grout removal tool requires a lot of elbow grease and tenacity to work properly. The other type of grout removal tool is attached to the end of a rotary power tool and is much easier to use. Regardless of which type of tool is used, removing grout is a messy process so be sure to thoroughly clean the area before proceeding.

Reapply Grout

Mix up some new grout and use a grout float to re-insert it into the gap which the original grout was scraped out of. Wait a few minutes for the grout to begin to dry and then gently wipe up the excess with a damp sponge. Take care not to pull any of the new grout out by accident while cleaning the excess. Finally, reseal the grout if needed. A grout sealer may protect the new grout from staining in the future.