How to Remove Mortar from Tile

Billy McCarley

When tile becomes pasted with mortar, it may be necessary to remove the mortar in order to restore the beauty of the tile. Because tile has a finished face, it is extremely vulnerable to scratches from the mortar.


Follow these simple steps when removing mortar from the tile; the job should take no more than a few hours to complete.

  1. Allow the mortar application to completely dry before attempting to clean off the excess. Trying to remove any extra morta before the mortar has cured will cause damage to other areas that don't need cleaning.

  2. Mix washing powder and water in a gallon bucket. Add one scoop of powder to one gallon of hot water.

  3. Wet the tile with hot water before applying any detergent mixture. This will soften the mortar and allow the detergent to work more effectively.

  4. Apply the detergent mixture using a medium size sponge. Thoroughly wet the mortar with the detergent and apply in even strokes.

  5. Allow the detergent to set on the tile surface for 10 to 15 minutes before you attempt to remove the mortar. Apply another layer of detergent and gently work the mortar loose with the sponge.

  6. Scrub the tile with a medium bristled brush to remove any stubborn mortar. Because mortar has a sand base, it should break up relatively easily.

  7. Warning

    Be careful with the surface of tile; It will scratch very easily.