How to remove stains from marble
Natural marble is beautiful, but it’s vulnerable to staining. Follow these tips to remove stains from marble.
If the product spilled on marble is wet, blot it immediately with a dry paper towel.Don’t wipe the area, which can spread the stain. Clean the area with a mild soap and water solution, and rinse several times. Blot dry with a clean towel.
If you are dealing with a stain that has dried, it is important to know what type of stain you are dealing with, as oil-based stains require different cleaning methods than ink or paint. If you don’t know what caused the stain, you’ll have to do some investigating.
Is it near a plant, food service area or where cosmetics are used? Can you tell from the color or shape of the stain if it was caused by a slow drip from above? What color is the stain? Can you find out how old it is?
Oil-based stains, such as grease, cooking oil or cosmetics
Oil-based stains darken the marble and usually require chemicals to dissolve them. Clean the stain gently with a soft, non-abrasive cleaner with bleach, ammonia, mineral spirits or acetone.
Organic stains, such as coffee, paper, food, or and leaves
Organic stains often appear pinkish-brown and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Clean with a solution of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia.
Metal stains, such as iron, rust or copper
Metal stains must be removed with a poultice, and deep-seated rust stains may be impossible to remove. A poultice consists of a liquid cleaner mixed with a white absorbent material to form a paste with a peanut butter consistency. Spread the mixture over the stain ½-inch thick.
Leave it for 24 to 48 hours. The stain should be drawn out of the marble and soak into the absorbent material. You can use diatomaceous earth, powdered chalk, kaolin, whiting, molding plaster or talc.
Approximately 1 pound of poultice material will cover 1 square foot. You can create poultices for small stains using cotton balls, paper towels or gauze pads and liquid cleaner.
Biological stains, such as algae, mildew or fungus
Clean biological stains with a diluted bleach, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide mixture. Use 1/2 cup of cleaner to 1 gallon of water.
Ink stains, such as magic marker, pen or art ink
For light-colored marble, use bleach or hydrogen peroxide on ink stains. For darker marble, use lacquer thinner or acetone to clean the ink stain.
Small paint drops can be cleaned with lacquer thinner or carefully scraped off with a razor blade. Heavy paint stains may require a commercial liquid paint stripper; however, use with caution as these strippers are caustic and can etch the marble, which will require re-polishing to remove. Never use acidic paint strippers on marble.
Water spots and rings
Buff water spots with dry 0000 steel wool.
Smoke damage, typically around fireplaces and stoves
Commercially available smoke removers are available for use on marble. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Typically caused by acid left on the surface of the marble, some acids will etch and stain while others will only etch. If there is a stain, remove it before fixing the etching. To remove the etching, first wet the surface with clean water and then sprinkle some marble polishing powder over the area. Rub with a damp cloth or buff with a low-speed power drill and buffing pad.
Scratches and nicks
Scratches and nicks can usually be buffed out with 0000 steel wool. If the damage is deeper, it may have to be professionally repaired and re-polished.
Maintenance tips for marble
For daily cleaning, use a damp mop or cloth only – no cleaner. For regular deeper cleaning, use a dedicated mop and marble cleaner. Don’t use the mop on other surfaces. Every 3-6 months, apply a marble sealer made of polymer resin to cleaned marble surfaces.