How do I remove acid etch stains on my ceramic pool tiles?


I recently allowed a phosphoric acid based cleaner to set on my pool tiles a little too long while cleaning the calcium deposits. The acid etched the overall glaze and created some drip etchings as well. Might you recommend any product that would mask the dull etching effect, and that might also withstand immersion in pool water? Many many thanks for any insight you may provide.


Answer - Unfortunately when you acid etch the surface of a glazed tile it chemically alters the glaze and it can't be restored.

If the etched area is contrasting in color to the tile color, you could try to stain over it with an epoxy based grout colorant.  You have to experiment to see if it works to your satisfaction so test it out first.

The best thing to use to remove calcium build up is a pumice stone.   It is soft but abrasive.  best to clean the tile on a regular basis before it gets too bad and requires more effort to remove.

5 thoughts on “How do I remove acid etch stains on my ceramic pool tiles?

  1. John Blake says:

    Does this answer also apply to glazed porcelain tile around the commode. There have been numerous dots of urine etching. Can this be fixed.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the glazed porcelain tile has been etched by the acidic urine then it can’t be repaired. Normally if the glazed porcelain tile is cleaned timely and properly I would not expect it to etch the tile.

  2. Sophie says:

    Hi there – my daughter was recently ill and was sick on some tiles from c1900 leading up to the house. I didn’t clean them straight away, but when I came to clean them, I’ve notice there is a very visible stain left. I have used detergent and water, tried baking soda and vinegar and have scrubbed the area but it is still not changing at all. Has this caused acid etching? Is there anything that can be done to restore them as they are the original Victorian tiles, or even out the colour? I think they are unglazed ceramic tiles but could be wrong – thanks in advance

    • Donato Pompo says:

      What she threw up would be acidic. So it could have etched the tile. Normally unglazed tiles don’t etch, like glazed tiles. If it etched there should be a texture felt as it alters the tile surface. If it is a stain that absorbed into the unglazed tile then you might need to use a poultice that is normally used on stone to try to pull out the stain. You can experiment with an enhancing sealer that gives somewhat of a wet look and see if that even outs the stain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *