The best way to protect your marble countertops and floors from stains and damage is prevention. Use a quality marble sealer and clean highly acidic spills immediately to avoid etches in your marble
Invest in coasters and chopping boards to reduce the risk of contact with acidic foods and drinks like lemons or juice coming into contact with the marble. While it’s possible to remove etches, it can be incredibly difficult and may require professional help.
The most effective DIY marble cleaner is a poultice. Use the following guide to help you clean your marble surfaces yourself.
Removing Oil-Based Stains
Oily products can easily penetrate marble’s porous surface and even darken its surface. Since oil seeps into the marble’s surface, you need a cleaning method that draws out the oil from the natural stone.
Cleaning method: The first line of defence is to clean the surface with a soft liquid cleanser that’s mixed with a few drops of ammonia or acetone.
For stubborn stains: If the first previous step was unsuccessful, apply a poultice over the stain and allow it to soak for 1-2 days before rinsing with warm water. Dry the marble’s surface and repeat until the stain is removed.
Removing Rust Stains
The following can potentially cause rust buildup on marble surfaces:
- Screws & nails
- Flower pots
- Other metal objects
- Bronze/copper/brass items that have been embedded into the surface
Rust stains are the most difficult to get out of marble surfaces, which is why It’s important to catch rust stains early on. If you spot a rust stain, remove it with a soft wire brush. Soft wire brushes can get into the nooks and crannies without damaging the polish.
If the metal stain has been sitting too long and seeped into the marble, it can still be removed with the use of a poultice and rust remover that doesn’t contain acid. To restore the marble’s smooth surface or if none of these methods has worked, contact a professional marble cleaner.
Removing Etch Marks
Etch marks are signs of damage to the marble caused by a buildup of acidic substances that have come into contact with the marble. This is often caused by acidic foods or drinks like coffee, wine, or juices being spilled on the floor or from using highly acidic chemical cleaners on your marble.
Etch marks appear lighter in colour than the original stone and this is how you can differentiate between them and stains. Water stains are considered etches instead of stains because the water degrades the finish and surface of the stone.
Etch marks are qualitatively different from stains because etches have caused corrosion in the marble and have removed a surface layer of the marble. Acidic spills like juices often cause etching and staining simultaneously.
Light scratches and water spots can be buffed out of marble with dry 0000 steel wool. For spilled acidic juices, first, use a poultice to remove the stain. Use clear water to wet the surface. Then, dust some marble polishing powder on the stained area and rub it into the stone with a damp cloth. It may take some patience and a firm hand to remove etch marks.
While the most efficient method of removing stains is using a poultice, you could also use corn starch, hydrogen peroxide pads, or rubbing alcohol spray. Only use hydrogen peroxide on lighter coloured stones because it can bleach dark coloured marble. Corn starch is particularly effective for grease stains.
When to contact a professional: Any scratches that are deeper than surface level require the work of a professional. If the surface area of the etching is large or hasn’t been properly remedied, a professional will be needed to refinish or re-polish.
How to Make a Marble Poultice
A marble poultice is a homemade paste used as a marble stain remover. It’s composed of a liquid cleaner/chemical that’s mixed with white absorbent material, forming a thicker paste.
Recommended materials for the white absorbent material:
- Fuller’s Earth
- Powdered Chalk
- White Cotton Balls
- White Paper Towels
- Moulding Plaster
Recommended liquid solvent:
- 6% Hydrogen Peroxide
- Mineral Spirits
- Liquid Commercial Rust Remover
Using a Marble Poultice
To make the poultice, mix the solvent with water or baking soda (or 6% hydrogen peroxide, mineral spirits, acetone depending on the type of stain). Mix these until it forms a paste the consistency of peanut butter.
Powdered poultice: mix with a cleaning agent or chemical
Paper poultice: soak in the chemical to prevent dripping
Follow the following steps:
- Ensure the surface is slightly wet before applying a poultice
- Spread a thin layer of poultice about ¼ to ½ inch of the poultice on the stain
- Use a wooden or plastic spatula to spread the poultice
- Cover with plastic wrap and tape down
- Allow it to sit for 24 to 48 hours
The liquid cleaner/chemical will draw the stain into the absorbent material while it dries.
Removing the poultice: Once the paste has dried, soak a soft cloth in warm, soapy water and use it to wipe away the paste gently. Rinse with clean water and buff dry with a soft cloth such as a chamois. Repeat if necessary.
There’s nothing more stunning than the shining surface of clean marble. While the best way to take care of your marble’s integrity is to prevent spills and damage from happening in the first place, we understand that things happen. If the damage or staining to your marble is severe and these tips don’t work for you, contact us at Sydney Tile & Stone Care for professional marble polishing Sydney.