How to Remove Stains on Marble Tables and/or Countertops?
If you’ve purchased marble products before you may be wondering what you can do to prevent stains, and if you have had the unfortunate experience of having a persisting one on your marble countertop or coffee mug, you may be wondering what you can do to get rid of it? In the previous article regarding marble care 101 we talk about the specific products that cause stains, such as those of acidic nature and general sealants you can use to prevent stains. However, this article will focus on what to do when you’ve got one.
According to Marble.com, there are several types of stains you commonly get with marble which are the following: Oil Based stains, organic stains, rust stains, water stains, mold stains, ink stains, etch marks and paint stains. Furthermore, the Marble Institute of America (MIA), the leading resource for education and information for the natural stone industry addresses how to take care of these various types of stains in an online report which will be discussed here:
Oil based stains can come from your typical grease stains from cooking oil or cosmetics can lead to darkening of your marble (more applicable to lighter types); however, it can be chemically dissolved to come off. It was recommended by the institute to use a liquid cleanser, ammonia or household detergent, acetone or mineral spirits to wash off the stain.
This type of stain can come from coffee, tea or even fruit which could lead to pink/brown stain. The marble institute recommends using 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia to get rid of these organic stains.
Rust stains can come from iron, copper or bronze objects such as nails, bolts, screws or various other metal items. Bronze and copper rust stains can come out to be brown or green. MIA suggests that metal stains can be removed with a poultice paste which was mentioned in the previous article; however it is also mentioned that if the rusty stain is deep-seated means that it may be very difficult to remove and could be a permanent stain. MIA defines poultice as: a liquid cleaner or chemical mixed with a white absorbent material to form a thick, stain removing paste. If you would like further information on this see page 12 of this report.
Not to get too technical, but still interesting to know: A study conducted by Cushman & Wolbers discusses how these poultices often are strong chelators so that they can dissolve and break down minerals in water and typically have a higher ionic content. Since most stones are made of minerals, such as marble it could cause some streaks over prolonged use and it is suggested that this type of removal involves undercutting the stain which attacks the marble rather than the stain. Therefore further research is going on to find a chelating agent that does not do this and furthermore types of sealants, which were also discussed in the previous article that can prevent this damage altogether.
A home-remedy commonly used according to PMac, which could be less harsh on the marble than store bought poultice is baking soda and water. Using this solution they suggest wiping up the spill as soon as possible and spray the surface with water. Then they recommend covering the entire stained area with baking soda to mix it with the water to form a thick, cream-like texture which should be covered with plastic and covered for around 24 hours. After this time has passed the surface should be buffed dry with a cloth - this process can be repeated if the stain isn’t fully removed.
This may occur due to the accumulation of hard water - however this can be easily fixed by buffing out the stain with some steel wool!
Etch marks can typically be caused by acids like milk or alcohol, similar to various organic stains that could be left on the surface of your marble. After removing the stain a buffing pad can be used to polish and remove the stain; however, if deep etching occurs then honing may be required to be performed by a professional.
Small amounts of paint can be removed by a lacquer thinner or scraped off with a razor blade however; Key thing to remember: do not use any acids or flame tools to strip paint from the stone.
Stains from a marker, pen or other sources of ink can be cleaned using bleach or hydrogen peroxide on lightcoloured stones whereas for darker marble - acetone or a lacquer thinner may just be your best bet!
Lastly, these stains are less common for indoor marble furniture which can be caused by algae, mildew, moss or fungi - however we shall discuss how to clean it nonetheless. MIA recommends diluting a ½ cup of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide with a gallon of water to clean these types of stains. However one must remember to NOT mix BLEACH and AMMONIA as this combination creates a toxic gas.
Referring to the previous article should help you avoid needing any of these tips - however if you do encounter any of these problems, we hope these tips will come in useful for you!