How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone


stains - natural stone

Beyond being adored for its sublime beauty, natural stone is celebrated for its resilience. When proper maintenance and care guidelines are followed – including cleaning & sealing natural stone regularly – these surfaces offer magnificent durability. Even so, stains can happen as a natural consequence of frequent use. When it comes to how to get stains out of natural stone, a strategic approach is essential. In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to effectively address different sorts of stains which may appear on natural stone surfaces, both inside & outside the home.

How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone | Step 1: Identify the Staining Agent

Have you noticed a stained area on your natural stone countertop, vanity top, wall or floor? To successfully remove the blemish, your first step is to identify the type of stain you are dealing with. Ascertaining the culprit is key, as this will determine the most appropriate method to restore your stone surface. Staining agents commonly present in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where natural stone is used include:

  • Organic materials, such as wine, fruit juice, food scraps, tea/coffee and leaves
  • Oils, such as cooking oil, cosmetics, grease and oil-based paint
  • Ink, such as pen or marker
  • Metals, such as copper and iron
  • Biological agents, such as mildew and algae
  • Hard water

Not sure what stained your natural stone surface? By considering where the stain is located & the activities which are done in that area, you should be able to make an educated guess. Ask yourself: Is the surface indoors or out? Is it in a spot where food preparation or dining occurs? How about an area where cosmetics are applied? Finally, what color/shape is the stain? Asking these questions will help you determine what most likely caused the stain, allowing you to select the most fitting solution for how to get stains out of natural stone.

Step 2: Remove the Stain Using an Appropriate Cleaning Agent or Poultice

Once you’ve assessed the type of stain present on your natural stone surface, it’s time to acquire the right cleaning agent or chemical to remove it. To draw out certain types of stains, you may need to prepare a poultice, or a paste made by combining a liquid cleaner/chemical with a white absorbent material such as talc or diatomaceous earth. Here are the recommended cleaning solutions for various types of stains on natural stone:

  • For organic stains, combine 12% hydrogen peroxide OR acetone with a powdered poultice material
  • Oil-based stains can typically be removed using a poultice of baking soda and water
  • To remove ink stains from light colored stone, use hydrogen peroxide OR bleach; for dark stones, use acetone OR lacquer thinner
  • Rust stains can sometimes be removed using a poultice of diatomaceous earth and a commercial rust remover, although professional assistance may be needed for these notoriously stubborn stains
  • Copper stains may be lifted by a poultice of ammonia and a powdered absorbent material; but like rust, they might require professional help
  • Biological stains are effectively removed with a poultice of diluted ammonia OR hydrogen peroxide OR bleach (Remember: Do NOT mix ammonia and bleach – a toxic gas results from this combination!)
  • Water rings & spots will typically disappear after spraying with a neutral stone cleaner, then buffing with a soft cloth or non-abrasive scouring pad

Pro Tips for Using a Poultice

If the applicable method for removing the stain in question calls for preparation of a poultice, here are a few important things to know:

  • First, here’s a more comprehensive list of absorbent materials which can be used to prepare a poultice: powdered chalk, fuller’s earth, kaolin, diatomaceous earth, talc & white molding plaster. White gauze pads, cotton balls or paper towels may also be used.
  • Whiting clays such as fuller’s earth should not be used with acidic chemicals, as mixing the two will create a reaction that renders the poultice ineffective on stone.
  • When forming a poultice paste, aim for a consistency similar to peanut butter.
  • To apply a poultice, use a plastic or wooden spatula. Spread the poultice over the stained area, to a thickness of about 1/4” to 1/2” above the surface. Then, cover with plastic and leave the poultice on for 24 to 48 hours. The liquid cleaning agent or chemical will work to draw out the stain, absorbing it into the powdered material.
  • For deeply set stains, the poultice application process may need to be repeated several times in order to achieve full resolution. If you are having difficulty removing a stain, consult a professional for assistance.
  • Do NOT leave bleach on for too long on dark stone surfaces as it might discolor the surface itself.

Discover the Best & Broadest Natural Stone Selection at Cosmos SurfacesTM

Hopefully, you’ve found our explanation of how to get stains out of natural stone to be helpful. If you are currently contemplating whether a natural stone surface is right for your project, the Cosmos SurfacesTM team is here to offer our expert advice. As long-time specialists on all varieties of natural & engineered stone, we can help you select the most ideal surfacing material for your particular application, design style and budget. To get started, explore our dazzling selection & connect with us today!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Cianitus - Black Schist 3

Cianitus is a highly layered type of schist. Mainly a dark grey and black, the prominent layers of silver and gold create a more complex and dynamic appearance. A striking, artistic schist, Cianitus is ideal for bathroom and kitchen floors, countertops, and fireplaces, and pairs well with both silver and wood.

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