Whether you’ve chosen marble counters, have stone floors or maybe inherited a marble tabletop, cleaning it properly will help it last a lifetime or longer. Marble and any other calcite-based stones such as limestone and travertine require special cleaning products to reduce the chance of etching. The use of incorrect products such as vinegar, Windex, or any cleaning products containing acidic substances (lemon, citrus, etc) can etch calcite-based stones. If this occurs, a stone restoration professional will be required to restore the stone. It is very important to use a pH neutral cleaner formulated for use especially on natural stone.
Marble Stain Removal
Poultices for removing marble stains are fairly available and many hardware stores sell kits that make stain removal easier. Sometimes a DIY solution is all you need, that said, it’s our business to restore marble and natural stone professionally, so when in doubt always call a stone care professional. Knowing when to try a DIY poultice will save you time and aggravation, and a little knowledge will go a long way to that end.
Know the difference between a Stain and Etching
Stains or discolorations on marble or natural stones can take two different forms.
1) If the discoloration is darker than the stone then it is a stain.
2) If the discoloration in lighter than the stone, then this is surface damage which has nothing to do with the absorbency rate of the stone. This is called etching and is most often caused when an acidic product or substance, comes into contact with the stone.
Etching differs from staining. Staining is when a product such as coffee, wine, ink, oil or dirt is spilled on the stone. Another common stain is rust.
The best way to remove a stain is to use a poultice. Here is our poultice recipe. A poultice is a combination of a very absorbent medium mixed with a chemical that is selected based on what type of stain you are trying to remove. The concept is to “reabsorb” the stain out of the stone. The chemical will attack the stain, the agent will pull them both out together. The most common ingredients in a poultice are baby powder and hydrogen peroxide (the clear kind available at a beauty supply store, the drug store type is too weak). Sometimes in the case of ink, denatured alcohol is more effective. And with oily stains, acetone is the best. It is available at any hardware store.
Marble Surface Restoration
Marble is often honed, which means the surface of the stone has been ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface. For stones with a natural shine such as granite or marble, the polish or shine is removed leaving a matte (unpolished) surface with little to no reflection and no bumps or ridges. Honed finishes give a very natural appearance, the color will be visibly lighter than a polished finish. A honed or semi-gloss finish may be preferred for floors, stairs and other areas with high foot traffic, as they will offer better slip resistance than their high gloss counterparts.
A polished finish has a highly reflective surface which achieved through the use of diamond polishing pads. A polished finish gives a very elegant presentation, highlighting the stone’s colors as well as the character of the stone. The texture is also very smooth but the polished finish reduces to stones porosity. The full color, depth, and the crystal structure is visible with a polished finish. It’s also easier to keep a polished stone clean and free of stains because its polish surface closes the pores of the stone’s surface and repels moisture.