Professional Advice: Choosing Natural Stone

Caring for Natural Stone

Natural Stone Stain Removal

 

ACNE CREAMS

Type
Most acne creams on the market contain Benzol Peroxide, which is a bleaching agent.
Problem 
Most acne creams contain dyes which can cause staining. The dyes are usually flesh to dark brown in color.
Solution
Thoroughly clean the area with water and a soap (a mild detergent).
Once the area has dried, take some acetone on a clean white rag and rub the stained area.
If the acetone doesn't work poultice the area with a poultice powder and 35% hydrogen peroxide.

ADHESIVES

Type 
Masking, duct, electrical, tape residue.
Problem: 
Adhesive residue on surface of stone. Some tape residues are acidic and may cause etch marks.
Solution
Remove any remaining tape, use a very sharp razor blade and be careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.
The remaining residue can usually be removed with a rag and acetone. Pour the acetone on a clean white rag and rub the area until all of the sticky residue is gone.
If there is a stain, apply a poultice of diatomaceous earth powder and one of the following solvents:

Mineral spirits, Methylene chloride, Lacquer thinner, Toluene, Xylene.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BEER

Type
Dark beers.
Problem
Sugars and proteins in the beer can cause a dark stain.
Solution
Clean the entire area thoroughly with water and a mild detergent (dish washing soap like ‘Dawn’ or commercial stone soap). Allow the water and soap to soak into the stone for several minutes. Lightly rub the area to remove excess water with a dry towel. Rinse the area with clean water.
If the above cleaning procedure does not remove the beer stain then try a stronger cleaner such as ammonia and water.
If the stone is still stained, prepare a poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
Several poultices may need to be required.

BLEACH

Type
Common household and outdoor bleach.
Problem
Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which can etch soft marbles. It may also lighten the color in certain stones.
Solution
Wet the area with clean water to remove any excess bleach.
If the stone is etched then re-polish the area with a polishing powder. Apply a small amount of powder add some water and polish with a white buffing pad.
If the stone has lighten, try applying a color enhancer to darken the area to bring back the color.

BODY FLUIDS

Type
Urine and vomit.
Problem
Urine and vomit contain acids which can etch polished marble. The proteins can also stain the stone and have a bad odor.
Solution
Try to clean up the accident as quickly as possible .Blot the area with a clean white cloth.
Apply 1 part 35% hydrogen peroxide and 4 parts water. Let solution soak into stain for several minutes and mop up the area.
After the treatment, apply a solution of a commercial bacteria/ enzyme digest-er (janitor supply). Cover with a paper towel soaked with digest-er. Allow to sit overnight. It may require several applications to remove the odor.

BLOOD

Type
Human and animal blood.
Problem
Blood contains salts and proteins. If cleaned while still fresh it will usually not stain. If allowed to dry blood stains can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
Prepare a solution of 50% household ammonia 50% water. Apply this solution and allow it to dwell for several minutes. Gently scrub area and rinse with cold water.
If the stain remains, poultice with diatomaceous earth powder and ammonia. 

CANDY                                                                                                                                                                                           

Type                                                                                                                                
Hard and soft  
Problem                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Candy contains sugar and various dyes.
Most have dyes, and the red dyes can be very difficult to remove.                                              
Solution    
Scrap remaining candy from surface.Clean area with acetone and a clean white cloth.
If the stain remains, poultice with (lacquer thinner or toluene) and diatomaceous earth 
 
powder                                                                                                                                                    .

CHOCOLATE


Type
Candy, cocoa, ice cream.
Problem
B
rown stains on light color marbles.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap ).
If the stain remains, clean with 1 part ammonia to 4 parts water. Let the solution sit on the stained area for several minutes. Remove excess solution and rinse with cold water.
Remaining stains may need a poultice of diatomaceous earth or similar powder and ammonia. Difficult to remove chocolate stains may require a poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide.

COFFEE/TEA

Type
Instant coffee, hot tea and iced tea
Problem
Coffee and tea both contain tannins which can leave a yellow to brown stain if the concentration of coffee or tea is strong enough.
Solution
Pour 35% hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain.
If the stain remains, poultice with diatomaceous earth powder and 35% hydrogen peroxide.

ETCH MARKS

Type
 

EGGS

Type
Chicken, Duck, Wild bird.
Problem
Eggs contains a protein called albumin which can leave a yellow stain.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
Do not use hot water, it can set the stain.
If the stain still remains poultice with poultice diatomaceous earth powder and 35% hydrogen peroxide.

FATTY OILS

Type
Butter, fried foods, salad dressings and (olive, vegetable, corn oil, etc).
Problem
Fats and oils can leave a dark stain which can be difficult to remove. Some salad dressings and foods contain dyes which can also cause staining.
Solution
Thoroughly clean stained area with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
Apply a commercial degrease r to the stained area and let sit for several minutes. Remove excess degrease r and rinse with clean water.
If the stain remains, poultice with a commercial degrease r and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with a solvent such as toluene and diatomaceous earth powder.

FRUIT-LIGHT

Type
Apples, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pear and oranges.
Problem
Acids in some fruits, especially lemon will etch polished marble.
Solution
If the surface is etched, re-polish using a  polishing powder. If the etch is very deep, re-honing may be necessary.
If the fruit stain remains, clean the area with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
If the stain still remains, apply a poultice of 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.

FRUIT-DARK 

Type
Blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, grape, raspberry, strawberry, etc.
Problem Fruits contain dyes which can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean area with cold water. Do not use soap, it can set the stain.
If the stain still remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with (lacquer thinner or toluene) and diatomaceous earth powder.

FURNITURE POLISH

Type
Spray and liquid furniture polishes
Problem
Oils, dyes, waxes and silicone can cause staining. The darker polishes may permanently stain the stone.
Solution
Clean with acetone and a clean white rag. Allow acetone to sit on stain area a few minutes and blot remaining acetone with a clean rag.
If the stain remains, poultice with one of the following solvents with diatomaceous earth  powder:                                         

Lacquer thinner, Mineral spirits, Toluene, Xylene, Methylene chloride.

GLUE SYNTHETIC

Type
Super glue, epoxy resin, hot glue, urethane.
Problem
Glues are usually hard to remove from the surface.
Solution
On smooth surfaces, scrap glue with a sharp razor blade.
Any remaining residue can be cleaned with acetone and a clean white rag.
If glue remains, soak the area with acetone for several minutes and try scraping with a razor blade followed by wiping with acetone.

GLUE-WATER BASED

Type
White and yellow, cow hide glue.
Problem
White and yellow glue rarely stain, however some of the darker glues can leave a stain that can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Scrap excess glue with a sharp razor blade .Be careful not to scratch the surface.
Scrub and clean with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
If the glue remains, use acetone and a clean white rag.
If the stain still remains, poultice with lacquer thinner and diatomaceous earth powder.

GUM

Type
Chewing gum
Problem
Gum can be difficult to remove from a honed or rough surfaces.
Solution Freeze the gum using an aerosol gum freeze, available at most (janitorial supply). Spray the gum for several seconds, then chip the gum with a plastic scrapper or putty knife.
For gum that still remains, apply methylene chloride for 20-30 min..

GRASS

Type
Lawn grass and pasture grass. 
Problem
Tannin and chlorophyll in the grass can leave a green or yellow stain.
Solution
Clean stained area with a clean white rag and denatured alcohol.
If the stain still remains poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
Do not use ammonia or any alkaline cleaners on grass stains as it can permanently set the stain.

GREASE

Type
Petroleum grease, grease from cooking.
Problem
Grease leaves a dark stain that can penetrate deeply into the stone. Grease can be  difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a dish soap or commercial stone soap.
If the stain remains, soak with a commercial degrease r (janitorial supply) for several minutes. If the degrease r solution dries, reapply, keep stone wet. Remove excess degrease r and rinse with clear water.
If the stain still remains, poultice with a commercial degrease rand and diatomaceous earth powder.

HARD WATER STAINS

Type
Water stains from irrigation systems, faucets, bathroom fixtures, shower walls, etc.
Problem
Minerals in water can leave deposits that appear as a white haze or a crust of minerals.
Solution
If deposits are large try scrapping off excess deposits with a sharp razor blade.
Next apply a solution of weak phosphoric acid and scrub the area with more acid as needed. Beware, as marble, limestone, and travertine will be attacked by the acid as well, and may require re-finishing.
Some mineral deposits will be imbedded below the surface of the stone and may be permanent.

ICE CREAM

Type
All the flavors.
Problem Food coloring and fruits can cause staining.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
If the stain remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with toluene or lacquer thinner and diatomaceous earth powder.

INK

Type
Ink pens, magic markers, carbon paper, newspaper print, etc.
Problem
Most inks penetrate deep into the stone and can be difficult to remove
Solution
Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white rag.
Poultice the stain with a solvent such as toluene or methylene chloride.
Repeat poultice to remove stain.

IODINE

Type
Iodine, Mercurochrome and dyes found in medicines.
Problem
Iodine can leave a stain that can be difficult to remove
Solution
Blot any wet iodine with a clean white rag.
Clean the area with denatured alcohol and a clean white rag. Be sure to blot the area. Do not wipe, this will only make the stain larger. Blot until you see no more dye on the white rag.
If the stain remains, poultice with denatured alcohol and diatomaceous earth powder.

JAM OR JELLY

Type
All flavors, artificial and natural preserves etc.
Problem
Dyes and fruits can cause staining, especially grape and berry jams and jellies.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or stone soap).
If the stain still remains poultice with a toluene or equivalent solvent and diatomaceous earth powder.

KOOLAID

Type
KoolAid fruit drinks and Popsicle, etc..
Problem
All colors can be difficult to remove, especially the red and orange types.
Solution
Clean the stain with a solution with ammonia and water. This will help neutralize the dye.
Poultice with commercial KoolAid remover (janitorial supply) and poultice powder and KoolAid removers such as Kool Off, Red Out and Stain Away may work.

LIPSTICK

Type
Many colors and types.
Problem
Oil waxes and dyes can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Scrap excess lipstick with a sharp razor blade, Lipstick is very concentrated, attempting to clean without scraping excess will only spread the lipstick around.
Once all excess is removed clean with acetone and a clean white rag.
If the stain is still present poultice with a solvent such as toluene and poultice powder.

LIQUOR

Type
Mixed drinks and liqueurs.    
Problem   
Dyes in mixed drinks and liqueurs scan cause staining.
Solution
Stains will need to poulticed with a solvent such as toluene and diatomaceous earth powder.                                                                                                                                                           

LOTION

Type
Skin, body, and suntan lotion.
Problem
Lotions contain various oils which can cause dark stains. This can be difficult to remove if left on too long.
Solution
Thoroughly clean area with water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
Prepare a solution of a degrease r (janitors supply) and water. Apply solution to the stained area and allow to dwell for several minutes. Scrub and remove excess solution and rinse with cold water. Repeat as necessary.
If the stain is deep, apply a poultice of degrease r and diatomaceous earth powder.
                                     

MAKE-UP

Type
Mascara, blush, eye shadow, liquid foundation, etc.
Problem
Dyes, waxes and oils can stain stone.
Solution
Remove any excess makeup, by blotting with a clean white rag. Do not wipe
Clean the stained area with d-nature d alcohol and a clean white cloth. Blot. Do not wipe.
If the stain remains, poultice with a solvent (lacquer thinner or toluene) and diatomaceous earth powder.

MILDEW-FUNGUS

Type
Mildew, fungus, algae and lichen.
Problem                                                                                                                                                                                                               
They can leave a black, green, pink or orange stain on stone surfaces. Mildew/fungus can grow and spread in showers and other wet areas.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with a good detergent (Dawn dis sop or commercial stone soap)
To remove the mildew/fungus, spray the area with a solution of 2 parts household bleach one part water. Allow to dwell on surface until all the mildew/fungus disappears and rinse area with clean water and dry.

MILK

Type
Milk, ice cream and other milk products.
Problem
Animal fat contained in milk can leave a yellow stain and smell bad.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
Apply a solution of 2 parts bleach to one part water. Let stand for several minutes than rinse with clean water.

MUD

Type                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Mud, red clay, etc.
Problem
Red clay can leave stains that can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap) and cold water.
If the stain remains, poultice with household ammonia and diatomaceous earth powder.

MUSTARD

Type
Yellow
Problem
Mustard contains turmeric, a yellow spice that causes the yellow stains. Old stains can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Thoroughly clean the stained area with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap). Blot only.
If the stain remains, apply 35% hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and allow to dwell or cover with white paper towel.
If the stain still remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
Do not use ammonia or alkaline type cleaners on mustard stains because this can set the stain.

NAIL POLISH

Type
Enamel or lacquer types.
Problem
Nail polishes will dry very quickly. Rough textured or honed stones can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Immediately blot with a clean white cloth.
Apply acetone to the stain and blot with a clean white cloth. Continue to apply acetone and blot until stain disappears.
If the stain remains, poultice with lacquer thinner and diatomaceous earth powder.

OIL

Type
Automotive, cooking and lubricating, etc.
Problem
Oil can be difficult to remove on most stone. Oils can penetrate deep into the stone and can spread. Clean up the oil spill as soon as possible.
Solution
Blot up any excess oil with a clean white cloth.
If oil has penetrated into the stone, apply a dry poultice powder directly oil for 24 hours.
Remove poultice powder and apply a commercial degrease r (janitor supply) and water. Apply this solution to the stain and keep it wet for 30-60 minutes. Wipe up and blot the remainder with a clean white cloth.
If the stain still remains, poultice with (methylene chloride) and diatomaceous earth powder.

PAINT-OIL

Type
Oil/solvent based paints..
Problem
Oil based paints are the most difficult paints to remove. Oils and solvents contained in these paints can carry deep into the stone.
Solution
Immediately blot any excess paint from the surface with a clean white cloth and
apply mineral spirits (paint thinner) to the spill and continue to blot until no color is
transferred to the cloth.   
                                                                                            
If the stain remains, apply poultice of methylene chloride diatomaceous earth
powder.

PAINT-WATER BASED

Type
All water based paints and polymer resins.
Problem
attaches to rough surfaces and honed stones.
Solution
Clean area with water and a good detergent (Dawn dish or commercial stone soap).
If the stain is on smooth or polished surface, scrap paint with a sharp razor blade. If stain is on a rough or honed surface, apply a solution of soap and water to the stain and scrub with brush while wet.
If the stain still remains, poultice with methylene chloride and diatomaceous earth powder.

PENCIL

Type
Graphite and indelible pencil.
Problem
Pencil marks can penetrate into the stone.
Solution
Use a pencil eraser and erase the pencil mark.
If pencil mark has set, poultice with d-nature d alcohol and diatomaceous earth powder

PERFUME

Type
Oils, alcohol and fragrances.
Problem
Oils can penetrate the stone and cause a light oil spot. Alcohols can also react with certain stones and turn a brown color.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with d-nature d alcohol and a clean white cloth.
If the stain remains, poultice with d-nature d alcohol and diatomaceous earth powder.

RUST

Type
Iron oxide
Problem
Rust is a difficult stain to remove. It causes a reddish-brown to yellow stain that can be permanent.
Solution
Apply a solution of "Iron-Out" (home centers) and water. Mix into a slurry and lightly scrub the area with a soft bristle brush. Rinse with  water.
If the stain is old and deep, poultice oxalic acid powder and diatomaceous earth
powder.
These products may cause etching.
For polished and honed stones, there is a paste product 'Alpha RSR2000' (professional stone products) that may be used. This method does not etch the stone as easily.


Don't use bleach, it will only make the stain worst.

SHOE/BOOT MARKS

Type
Black rubber and neoprene.
Problem
Shoe/boots leave black marks on surface of stone.
Solution
Clean with acetone and a white rag. On porous stones, try using a scrub brush and acetone.
If acetone doesn't work, try another solvent such as lacquer thinner or methylene chloride.

SHOE POLISH

Type
All liquid polishes including white.
Problem
Dyes in shoe polish can penetrate the stone leaving a nasty stain.
Solution
Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.
If the stain remains, poultice with (lacquer thinner or toluene) and a diatomaceous earth powder.

SMOKE/SOOT

Type
Smoke and soot from fireplaces or fire damage.
Problem
Smoke and soot contain particles of oil and carbon that can be difficult to remove.
Solution
If the stone is polished, wipe excess soot with a clean, dry white cloth.
Clean area thoroughly with a solution of stone soap or dish washing soap in warm water. Use a stiff brittle brush for rough rough or honed stone.
If smoke is heavy, clean with a degrease r (janitor supply) and warm water.
If smoke is still remaining, poultice with a degrease r (janitor supply) and diatomaceous earth powder.

SOFT DRINKS

Type                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Coke, Pepsi and other carbonated sodas.
Problem
The coloring and sugars in sodas can cause severe staining.
Solution
If the spill is fresh blot with a clean white cloth.
Scrub the area with a detergent ('Dawn' dish soap or commercial stone soap) and warm water.
If the stain remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.

SOUP

Type
Soups and stew containing meat and vegetables.
Problem
Soup can leave oil stains that can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean the area thoroughly with a solution of ammonia and water.
If the stain remains, poultice with ammonia and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.

SOY/WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Type
Soy and Worcestershire sauces.
Problem
Coloring and proteins in these sauces can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean with acetone and a clean white cloth. Blot only.
If stain remains, poultice with (lacquer thinner or toluene ) and diatomaceous earth powder.

SYRUP

Type
Corn syrup, honey, maple and molasses.
Problem
Sugar and coloring added to these syrups can cause staining.
Solution
Thoroughly clean stained area with cold water and a good detergent ('Dawn' dish soap or commercial stone soap).
If the stain remains, clean with ammonia and water. Let solution sit for several minutes, scrub and rinse with clean water.
If the stain still remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.

TAR

Type
Asphalt, roofing and beach tar, etc.
Problem
Tar can cause black stains on stone.
Solution
Scrap away any excess tar with a clean dry razor blade.
Clean the remaining tar with acetone and a clean white cloth.
If the stain remains, poultice with mineral spirits (paint thinner) and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with 'De-Solve-it' (home stores) and diatomaceous earth powder.

TOBACCO

Type
Smoke stains from cigarettes and cigars.
Problem:
Nicotine can cause a light yellow stain that can be difficult to remove.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap) and cold water.
Heavier tobacco stains may be cleaned with a degrease r (janitor supply) and cold water.
If the stain still remains, poultice with a degrease r (janitor supply) and diatomaceous earth powder.

TOMATO

Type
Catsup, barbecue, steak, and spaghetti sauce.
Problem
Tomato sauces contain tannins,  oils and dyes. The dyes can leave a red to brown stain. The oil will penetrate the stone and darken.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a good detergent (Dawn dish soap or commercial stone soap).
If the stain remains, clean the area with an alkaline degrease r (janitorial supply). Mix with water according to directions and let solution stand on stained area for several minutes. Rub with a white cloth and rinse with clean water.
If the stain still remains, poultice with diatomaceous earth powder and a degrease r (janitor supply).    

VEGETABLE

Type
Green and yellow vegetables.
Problem
Vegetables can leave a green yellow stain.
Solution
Clean area thoroughly with detergent ('Dawn' dish or commercial stone soap) and cold water.
If the stain remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.

VOMIT

Type
Human and animal vomit.
Problem
Stomach acids are very strong and can etch the surface of polished marble. There may be some staining.
Solution
Clean area through with a good detergent ('Dawn' dish soap or commercial stone soap) and cold water.
Clean are with a solution of household ammonia and cold water. Contain to clean until all stain is gone.
If the stain remains, apply a poultice of ammonia and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the odor still remains, apply a solution of enzyme digest er (janitor supply). Keep wet for several hours. Covering wet paper towels will help keep enzyme solution wet.
If stone is etched, polish with polishing powder.

WAX COATINGS

Type
Waxes, acrylics, etc.
Problem
Waxes can yellow and give a plastic like appearance. They will also attract dirt.
Solution
If the costing is water based (acrylics), strip the stone with a commercial floor stripper (janitor supply). Rinse thoroughly.
If the coating is solvent based (waxes, urethane, epoxy) Strip with a commercial paint stripper with methylene chloride. There are also safe stripper that work effectively on these materials.

WINES

Type
Red wines.
Problem
Red wines contain tannin that can stain and etch stone.
Solution
Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.
Do Not use detergent and water-this may set stain.
If the stain remains, poultice with 35% hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth powder.
If the stain still remains, poultice with a (lacquer thinner or toluene) and diatomaceous earth powder.

WOOD STAIN

Type
Solvent based stains and dyes.
Problem
The dyes in wood stains can be difficult to remove.
Solution                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Clean area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth. Continue to clean until no stain is visible on rag.

If the stain remains, poultice with methylene chloride (paint stripper) and diatomaceous earth powder.                                                         
If the stain still remains, reapply poultice.

YELLOWING

Type
General yellowing across the surface of most stones, especially white marbles:
Problem
Inexpensive coatings can cause yellowing.
Solution
If the yellowing is caused by waxes or coatings they have removed by stripping, using a commercial floor stripper (janitor supply).

EFFLORESCENCE

Type
Dry white powder on the surface of the stone. True efflorescence is loose and will wipe off easily.
Problem
Most conditions that cause efflorescence are water related. Efflorescence will continue to be a problem unless the moisture is eliminated.
Solution
1. Do not use any water, cleaners etc in an attempt to remove efflorescence. This will only cause more efflorescence.
2. Remove the efflorescence with a dry white cloth or buff using 0000# steel wool. Wait to see if efflorescence returns. If it does return, repeat dry buffing.
3. If the efflorescence condition is indoors it sometimes helps to install dehumidifiers or turn the air conditioner down to about 72 degrees F.
It can take several months for the stone to dry to completely eliminate the problem.

COPPER

Type
Copper piping, sculptures, etc.
Problem
Copper can cause a green stain that can sometimes penetrate deep into stone if allowed to age.
Solution
1. Remove any excess crust by scraping with a sharp razor blade. If the surface is polished wet the surface with soap and water to prevent scratching the stone.
2. Prepare a solution of one part ammonium and 3 parts warm water. Apply this solution to the surface and agitate with a soft bristle brush. Rinse with clean water.
3. If stain is still present poultice with Ammonium Chloride and poultice powder. Ammonium Chloride based cleaners are available from chemical supply co.

ALUMINUM

Type
All aluminum usually from windows, awnings etc.
Problem Leave a crusty, whitish residue.
Solution
1. Scrap any crusty residue from surface with a sharp razor blade on polished surface. On textured surfaces use a hard brush.
2. On textured surfaces mix one part hydrochloric acid in 20 parts water and apply solution and agitate with a soft nylon brush.
3. On polished surfaces dilute one part hydrochloric acid in 40 parts water. Apply solution and agitate with a soft nylon brush. Re-hone and polish the surface to return the luster. Be extremely careful with hydrochloric acids near marbles they will severely etch the surface.

CRYSTALLIZATION

Type
Crystallization is a process used to polish marble. Includes all brands
Problem
When this process is overused it can buildup and turn yellow on light colored stones. It also may give the stone a plastic like look.
Currently this process is under great controversy and is being investigated and tested by the marble and stone care industry.
Solution
1. Crystallization can be stripped chemically using a solution of Oxalic acid and water. Start by using one cup of Oxalic acid to one gallon of water. Apply this solution to the stone and agitate with a hog hair pad.
2. Once coating is removed chemically, re-honing and polishing will be necessary.
3. The alternative method to chemical stripping is to simply grind the crystallization off, re-hone and re-polish.

MORTAR

Type
Concrete, thin set, mud sets, grout films and other concrete based residues.
Problem
Can leave a film on surface of stone that can be hard to remove.Very rarely will concrete stain unless they are colored.
Solution
1.If the film is light, clean the surface of the stone with a heavy duty stone cleaner and water (Heavy Duty cleaners are available from stone care suppliers-see supplier list in appendix).
2. If film is stubborn clean the surface with a solution of one part hydrochloric acid to 20 parts water on textured stone and one part hydrochloric acid to 40 parts water on polished stone. Agitate until mortar is removed.
3.Re-hone and re-polish marble surfaces.
Caution: Hydrochloric acid can severely etch polished marble use extreme caution.

RUBBER

Type
Tire marks created by cars, trucks, carts, etc.
Problem
Tires can leave a rubber track on surface. Rarely will tire marks stain but they can be difficult to remove on porous surfaces like concrete, brick and rough stone.
Solution
1. Clean thoroughly with a commercial degrease r (available at janitorial supply) and warm water. Scrub with stiff bristle brush.
2. If marks are stubborn clean with a solvent(mineral spirits or toluene). Use a stiff bristle brush.

STREAKING

Type
All types of streaking, appearing as a cloudy uneven pattern on the surface.
Problem
Streaking can be caused from the following:
- Dirty mops used to mop floor.
- Improper application of waxes and coatings.
- Improper cleaners.
- Too much cleaner.
Solution
1.Determine what is causing the streaking and eliminate the cause.
2.If streaking is caused by wax build-up, strip the surface with a commercial wax stripper(available at janitorial supply).
3. If streaking is caused by too much cleaner, dirty mop or improper cleaner, re-mop the floor with stone soap and buff with a white nylon pad.

ALKALINE

Type
Etching from alkaline strippers, ammonia and heavy duty stone cleaners.
Problem
Alkaline etching is caused by alkaline salts contained in cleaners that are deposited below the surface of the stone. The etch marks appear similar to an acid etch mark.
Solution
1. Attempt to remove the etching with a mild acid. If the stone is a polished marble do not use acid.
2. If dealing with a polished marble re-hone and re-polish the etch.
If the etch appears light try re-polishing only. 

STUN MARKS

Type
Stun marks caused by heavy objects doped on a marble floor, also high heel marks. Usually white in color.
Problem
Stun marks are very common on some marbles, usually caused from woman walking across floor with high heels leaving a white spot on the marble. Stun marks can telegraph to the bottom of the stone. They are caused from the crystals in the stone exploding.
Solution
Try grinding, honing and polishing the floor. This may eliminate some light stuns but chances are they can not be removed. Stun marks can be minimized in appearance by using color matching artist pens (art supply).

SWIRL MARKS

Type
Circular pattern swirls.
Problem
Swirls marks are usually caused by a floor or hand machine using abrasive pads or polishing pads that have trapped sand or grit under them.
Solution
Light swirls can be removed by re-polishing. Deep swirls will require re-honing and re-polishing.
Caution: When using any type of rotating machine (floor buffer or hand machine) never hold the machine still while running , keep it moving. Keeping the machine still may cause swirl marks.

LEATHER

Type
Shoe and clothing leather.
Problem
Leather contains oils and dyes which can penetrate into stone and cause staining.
Solution
Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.
If stain is deep poultice with a solvent (toluene) and poultice powder.

CARPET PADDING

Type
Carpet padding made of jute.
Problem
Carpet that have jute backing can leave a difficult to remove brown to yellow stain on stone surfaces. The jute is made of a burlap type material.
Solution
1. Scrap any excess carpet padding from the surface.
2 .Clean area thoroughly with a good detergent(Ivory or stone soap) and clean cold water.
3 .Poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.
Jute backing can cause some very deep stains that can penetrate throughout the stone.

PAPER

Type
Brown paper bags and construction paper.
Problem
It is very common for contractors to cover a new stone floor with brown construction paper. If this paper gets wet or slightly wet it will bleed into to stone leaving an ugly brown stain.
Solution
1. Clean area with acetone and a clean white cloth.
2. Poultice area with a solvent (Mineral Spirits or toluene) and poultice powder.

SILICON

Type
Silicon caulking used for grouting and anchoring stone.
Problem
This can be a series problem when caulking is used to help hold anchors in place on stone wall panels. The silicone will start to bleed through the stone in the area were the anchors are. It may take several months before the silicon becomes viable.
Solution
The only known technique that will remove this silicon staining is the following:
Prepare a poultice with methylene chloride(Commercial paint remover) and a powdered poultice. May require a dozen applications.
If the silicon has not completely cured the staining may return again.

SOAP FILM

Type
Soap film on shower walls and vanity tops.
Problem
Soap from showers can build up on shower walls leaving a film that will not wash off with regular cleaning.
Solution
1. If soap film is thick, scrap with a razor blade. Wet the surface to avoid scratching the surface.
2. Once all heavy build-up is removed clean with acetone and a green scrub pad.
3. There are also commercial soap film removers on the market which work well, but be careful that they do not contain acids which can etch polished marble.
Several poultices may need to be applied to completely remove all stain

APPLYING THE POULTICE

Once the stain is identified, the following steps can be followed.
1. Identify the stain.
2. Clean the stained area to remove excess from the surface.
3. Wet the stained area with distilled water. This fills the pores of the stone with water, isolating the stain and accelerating the removal by the chemical.
4. Prepare the poultice. If a powder is to be used, premix the powder and the chemical of choice into a thick paste, the consistency of peanut butter. In other words, wet it enough so that it does not run. If a paper poultice is to be used, soak the paper in the chemical. Lift the paper out of the chemical until it stops dripping.
5. Apply the poultice to the stain being careful not to spill any on the non-stained areas. Apply approximately one-quarter-inch thick overlapping the stain area by about one inch.
6. Cover the poultice with plastic (food wrap works great). Tape the plastic down to seal the edges. Allow the poultice to dry thoroughly. This is a very important step. The drying of the poultice is what pulls the stain from the stone into the poultice material. If the poultice is not allowed to dry, the stain may not be removed. Drying usually takes from 24 to 48 hours.
7. After 24 to 48 hours, remove the plastic.
8. Remove the poultice from the stain. Rinse with distilled water and buff dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is not removed, apply the poultice again. It may take up to five applications for difficult stains.
9. Some chemicals may etch the marble surface. If this occurs, then apply polishing powder and buff with a piece of burlap to restore the shine.

WHAT IS A POULTICE?

A poultice is an absorbent material applied to a surface to draw out a stain. It can be a powder, paper or a gel. The most common poultices in use today are powders. A number of powders are very absorbent and are ideal for stain removal. Some typical powders used in poultices are the following:

Clays and fullers earth
Talc
Chalk (whiting)
Sepiolite (hydrous magnesium silicate)
Diatomaceous earth (pool supply)
Methyl cellulose
Flour(baking flour)

Clays and diatomaceous earth are usually the best. Do not use whiting or clays containing iron. When using acidic chemicals, the acids will react with the iron and may cause yellowing of certain stone surfaces. It is best to purchase poultice powder materials from a reputable supplier of products for this purpose. Some typical paper poultices are:

Cotton balls
Paper towels
Gauze pads

Paper poultices can be quite effective on mild stains. They are easier to apply than powder poultices and are also easier to remove. Gel poultices are usually thick chemical gels that are designed to be applied to a stain with the use of powders or papers. They work effectively with certain stains. When purchasing poultice materials, ask if they contain stain removing chemicals or if they need chemicals added. Some powder and gel poultices contain chemicals, and all you need to do is add water. Never mix additional chemicals with a poultice that contains its own chemical formulation.

NATURAL STONE SEALERS

Sealing of natural stone such as marble, travertine, limestone, slate, granite, sandstone, quarzite, onyx, cantera and other surfaces including brick, concrete may hold back and protect from water and oil born stains that cause the need for stain removal and reduce cleaning of these surfaces.

Stain damage is less likely to occur when a sealer is applied and reduce the repair of these surfaces.

Natural Stone History & Trivia