How to Clean Joint Compound off a Tile Floor

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Spilled or smeared joint compound comes up easier when wet.
Spilled or smeared joint compound comes up easier when wet.

Joint compound is a thick white paste used for smoothing the joints between sections of wallboard and for texturing walls and ceilings. Occasionally, the homeowner or construction worker accidentally spills or smears joint compound onto tile floors. Joint compound cleans up much easier when it is still wet. Dried joint compound is a bit more of a challenge, but it comes off as well with a little patience and perseverance.

Things You'll Need

  • Dustpan
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Soft clean cloth
  • Putty knife
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Instructions

  1. Wet Joint Compound

    • 1

      Scoop up wet joint compound from the tile floor by pushing it into a dust pan. Use wet paper toweling and dispose of it in the trash.

    • 2

      Dip a sponge into clean warm water and squeeze it slightly. For small spills, use a hand sponge and for larger areas, use a sponge mop.

    • 3

      Move the sponge over the remaining joint compound. Allow the water from the sponge to wet the compound.

    • 4

      Wipe over the compound and rinse out the sponge.

    • 5

      Dip the sponge again into clean warm water and wipe up as much compound as you can. Repeat until you have the tile cleaned to your satisfaction.

    • 6

      Rinse the sponge and wipe the cleaned tile as dry as possible. Finish drying the spill with an old towel or paper towels, or let it air dry.

    Dried Joint Compound

    • 7

      Dampen the dried joint compound and attempt to soften it with warm water.

    • 8

      Wipe away any peripheral bits of softened compound that you can with paper towels. Small amounts of the compound will dissolve in the warm water.

    • 9

      Use a putty knife at a 45-degree angle to coax the dried joint compound from the tile. As the putty knife works to separate the compound from the tile, keep the area dampened.

    • 10

      Work the dried compound loose gently and sponge any remaining residue from the tile. Let the area dry naturally or wipe it down with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dry compound dust is cleaned from tile floors by sweeping gently to avoid kicking up the dust. Mop the tile with warm water.

  • While wet compound comes up very easily with water, dried compound will take longer. Give the compound time to soften. In some instances, the dried piece of compound will pop right off with the putty knife, but in other cases, the compound will have to be slowly softened with water and removed little by little.

  • Be very careful when using the putty knife so that you don't crack or scratch the tile. Resist the urge to scrape small, loose bits with it. Let the warm water do the work.

  • If the dried joint compound you want to remove pre-dates 1977, do not attempt to remove it yourself, as there might contain asbestos. Only professionals should deal with dried joint compound that contains asbestos.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

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