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How do you clean a bathtub of tile grout, tile mortar, and/or drywall compound?

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No Construction Waste in Bathtub

No Construction Waste in Bathtub

Copyright/Courtesy American Standard
Question: How do you clean a bathtub of tile grout, tile mortar, and/or drywall compound?
A reader asks, "We just recently fired the contractors from hell and are trying to manage the mess of a half-done, half-effort job. While removing bags of garbage, open paint cans and empty coffee cups they had left to sit around all weekend in what is meant to be the bathroom of our dreams, we noticed large, dried clumps of what we imagine to be drywall mud of compound from tiling. This tub is brand new, and unfortunately, we have no way of getting this money back from the scammers. Is there a way for us to get this out without damaging the tub, preferably at all?"
Answer: Sorry to hear about your misfortune with the contractor.

If it's drywall "mud" (i.e., drywall compound), it is water-soluble. After removing the junk from your tub, fill it with water and let the water sit. Unfortunately, the "mud" will not magically dissolve, but it will loosen enough for you to use your fingernails or a soft scraper to scrape it away. It will be a slow process but it will not affect the tub's surface.

If it is tile grout or mortar, that's a different story. As you probably know, tile grout is very abrasive. American Standard Corp. recommends using a wooden popsicle stick or tongue depressor to remove tile grout. I would add that you want to remove it without scraping the material across the surface. When all is done, American Standard recommends granular Spic and Span® mixed with water to clean the remainder.

Finally, if you do end up with any dulled areas, they can be restored by rubbing with a white automotive-type polishing compound and waxing with a liquid wax.

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