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It is helpful to think of white stains as "white stuff" and undefined until some testing takes place. That will keep you from buying products and spending time on an incorrect diagnosis.
Here are some things to identify first as this information may be needed later:
An easy way to tell if the "white stuff" is mineral deposits or efflorescence is the "acid test". If the white stuff "fizzes" on contact with a drop of Aldon "Grout Residue Remover" or muriatic acid (swimming pool acid), than it can be mineral deposits (see below) or efflorescence (see its page in Problem Solving) and cleaned accordingly. Do not use muriatic acid to clean or you could cause some damage.
Tip about sealed surfaces: typically efflorescence would be below the sealer (not in it) because it comes up from inside. Mineral deposits would be on top of the sealer as residue of drying water. If on top, it will wipe off. If below the surface, the sealer needs to be removed to access the white stuff for treatment unless Efflorescence Treatment is able to penetrate through the sealer.
The lack of a fizzing reaction says it is something else entirely, or the minerals involved in this type of situation are not the usual type that do fizz, or something is coating the white stuff and keeping the acid from contacting it. Therefore, mineral deposits and/or efflorescence are not ruled out - but the cleaning might involve other cleaning techniques. Try lacquer thinner , abrasion with a cleanser, sanding.
Hard water mineral deposits - see below
This can be hard water mineral deposits from your rinse water. To find out, take a little of the same water from the exact same source tap as used on the project. Let 1/8" evaporate from a glass until dry. The minerals will be left behind in the same way they were left on your floor.Hazy, Cloudy Looking Under Sealer
See "FAQ Sealers".
Powdery Looking, Coming From Below The Surface
See efflorescence page.
White Deposits On Top Of:
(Including from flower pots, roof water shedding, garden runoff)
White Deposits, But Your Not Sure If They Are On Top, Inside, Or Below The Sealer
Test an area with "Grout Residue Remover".
If the deposits are gone, then it is only surface mineral deposits. If they remain, then they may be inside or below the sealer.
Use Aldon "Premium Stripper" to remove a test section of sealer.
Try to determine where the white stains are in this process. If they disappear before you get to the tile surface, then something was trapped inside the sealer.
If the white is left on the surface after the sealer is removed, it is obviously coming from beneath the surface and was trapped below the sealer. To confirm, apply some "Grout Residue Remover" to the remaining white staining. If it "fizzes" and is eaten away, it is efflorescence.
White Areas That Are Not Any Of The Above
It could be a non-Aldon sealer peeling. See "FAQ Sealers".
Sometimes cleaning is a trial and error process. The cause of the problem might be different than thought, or have multiple causes and results that must be handled in steps. In rare cases, it cannot be cleaned. Proceed as though it is an experiment whose results must be evaluated.
Any Aldon cleaner has more than one purpose. It is not limited to only this cleaning project.