How to Remove Grout from Kitchen Backsplash

Removing old, stained, or damaged grout from your kitchen backsplash can seem like a daunting task. However, with the right tools and techniques, it doesn’t have to be. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to effectively remove grout from your kitchen backsplash.

What You’ll Need

Before starting any grout removal project, make sure you have the proper supplies and tools on hand. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Grout saw or oscillating multi-tool – This specialized saw blade or attachment is designed to cut through grout lines.
  • Hammer and chisel – For areas the grout saw can’t reach, a hammer and chisel can be used to chip away old grout.
  • Grout rake – This hand tool has carbide tips perfect for scraping out grout.
  • Vacuum with brush attachment – To suck up grout dust and debris as you work.
  • Safety gear – Wear safety goggles and a dust mask/respirator to protect yourself.
  • Grout sealant (optional) – Resealing the grout lines after cleaning prevents future stains.

Prepare the Workspace

Before starting grout removal, take some time to prepare your workspace:

  • Clear the area around the backsplash of any dishes, appliances, etc. This gives you room to work.
  • Cover nearby surfaces with plastic sheets or tarps to protect from debris.
  • Have a vacuum ready to continuously clean up grout dust.
  • Wear safety goggles and a dust mask/respirator during the entire process.
  • Turn on all available ventilation like range hoods or open windows.

Cutting Out Grout Lines

With your workspace prepped, it’s time to cut out the old grout:

Use a Grout Saw

A grout saw is the quickest and easiest way to remove old grout. Here’s how to use it:

  • Fit the diamond grit blade into your oscillating multi-tool or use a stand-alone grout saw.
  • Holding the saw at a 45° angle, run the blade along the grout lines to cut and scrape out the old grout. Apply light pressure.
  • Use smooth, even strokes, working in small sections. Clean grout dust with a vacuum after each pass.
  • For corners or tight spots, turn the blade to cut parallel or perpendicular to the line.

Chisel Out Grout

For areas a grout saw can’t reach, switch to a hammer and chisel:

  • Hold the chisel at a 45° angle against the grout line and lightly tap it with the hammer.
  • Tap down the line to break up the old grout before scraping it out with the chisel.
  • Be careful not to chip or crack surrounding tiles. Use light and controlled strikes.

Clean Out Grout Lines

Once the grout is cut out, there will still be debris in the seams. Clean them out:

  • Use a stiff grout rake, old toothbrush, or screwdriver to scrape any remaining grout out of the lines.
  • Run a vacuum nozzle attachment along the seams to suck out dust and smaller debris.
  • Wipe clean any remaining dirt or haze with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Inspect that lines are completely clean before re-grouting.

Re-Grouting the Backsplash

With all old grout successfully removed, the backsplash is ready for fresh grout:

  • Consider resealing porous tiles first to prevent grout absorption and staining.
  • Mix up a batch of grout in a bucket using the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Holding a rubber grout float at a 45° angle, work new grout into the clean lines, pressing firmly to fill gaps.
  • Wipe diagonally across tiles with a damp sponge to remove excess grout and shape lines. Rinse the sponge frequently.
  • Once grout has dried a haze will form – buff off gently with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Seal grout lines with a water-based sealant for added protection.

Follow these steps and you can successfully renew your kitchen backsplash grout lines. Be sure to allow adequate drying time before using the backsplash again. With proper sealing and maintenance, your fresh grout should stay clean and intact for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Grout from Backsplash

What’s the easiest way to remove old grout?

The quickest and easiest method is using an oscillating multi-tool or specialized grout saw blade to cut out and scrape away old grout. Going along the lines at a 45° angle provides smooth removal.

Can I use an ordinary saw blade?

It’s not recommended. The grit on grout saw blades is designed not to damage softer tiles. A wood blade could chip tiles. Stick to specialized grout removal tools.

What about using an acidic grout cleaner?

Chemical grout removers aren’t usually effective on epoxy-based grouts. They work better for cement-based grout but require more prep and cleanup. Grout saws are still faster.

How do I prep the area to remove old grout?

Clear countertop appliances/items away from the backsplash area and cover nearby surfaces with plastic sheeting or tarps to protect from debris. Have a vacuum ready to continuously clean up dust.

What’s the best way to clean out the grout lines after cutting?

Use a combination of tools – a grout rake, old toothbrush, or screwdriver to scrape out remaining debris. Follow up by vacuuming the lines and wiping with a damp cloth to remove any last dust or haze.

Can I use sanded grout for a backsplash?

Sanded grout is too coarse for narrow joints like backsplash tile. Always use unsanded grout, which contains no sand and is smooth enough for thin grout lines. Make sure to seal properly.


Removing and replacing grout on a kitchen backsplash revitalizes its appearance and prevents staining. With the right tools like a grout saw, chisel, grout rake and vacuum, you can cut out old grout and properly re-grout the backsplash. Just be sure to prep your workspace, work in small sections, thoroughly clean the grout lines, and allow adequate drying time. Follow these tips and you can successfully tackle grout removal for your kitchen backsplash.