What a beautiful investment natural stone is. Whether in your home or in your office, the following cleaning tips developed by the Marble Institute of America, and brought to you by the Jubilee Company, will help preserve your stone’s beauty while giving you many wonderful years of service.
Quick Tip #1: Dust mop floors frequently, and clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap. Protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats and rugs, and countertops with coasters, trivets and placemats.
Quick Tip #2: Thoroughly rinse and dry surfaces after washing and immediately blot up spills.
Quick Tip#3: Never use vinegar, lemon juice or cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces. The same goes for abrasive, dry or soft cleaners.
The key to successfully removing a stain from your natural stone surface is knowing what caused the stain in the first place. If you don’t know, use your sleuthing skills to determine the most likely cause, then refer to the proper cleaning technique based on your best guess. Most surface stains can be removed with the appropriate cleaning product, while deep-seated stains will most likely require the use of a poultice, or the expertise of a professional. The following guide will help you decide which product to use based on staining agent.
Oil Based Stain – Grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics
Oil-based stains cause a darkened area and will require chemical dissolution in order to flush and rinse the stain away. Try a gentle cleansing with a soft, liquid cleanser with bleach. Other choices to consider include a household detergent, ammonia, mineral spirits, or acetone. Choose one or the other, but do not use any of the above together. A poultice of baking soda and water, or one of powdered poultice material and mineral spirits might also do the trick.
Organic Stain – Coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, pet stains, leaves, bark, bird droppings
This type of stain may appear pinkish-brown, and might disappear once stain source is removed. With outdoor stone, nature will usually take care and do the heavy lifting for you, as sunlight, and rain will naturally bleach the affected area. Inside however, try cleaning with 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. For tougher stains mix 12% hydrogen OR acetone to a commercial available powdered poultice material.
Metal – Iron, rust, copper, bronze
Most can recognize the tale-tell orangey-brown color of iron or rust stains, while copper and bronze stains are more green or dark brown in appearance. Remove metal stains with a commercially available rust remover. For iron stains, a poultice with diatomaceous earth may work, while for copper stains, a poultice with a commercially available powdered poultice and ammonia might do the trick. Metal stains are difficult to remove, so contacting a professional may be necessary.
Biological Stains – algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi
SAFETY WARNING: DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA, AS THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND LETHAL GAS!
Choose ONE of the following cleaning solutions, but NEVER TOGETHER: Clean with ½ cup ammonia in 1 gallon of water, OR, clean with ½ cup bleach in 1 gallon of water, OR clean with ½ cup hydrogen peroxide in 1 gallon of water.
For light stone only, clean marker or pen ink stains with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. For dark stone only, use lacquer thinner or acetone.
Lacquer thinner removes small amounts of paint. Carefully scraping with a razor may also do the trick. However, large areas of paint require commercial grade “heavy liquid” paint strippers. Be aware these strippers usually contain caustic soda or lye, that can etch the surface, so repolishing may be necessary. Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. As always, protect yourself with the proper eye protection, rubber gloves and ample ventilation when taking on this type of work.
Water Spots and Rings
Buff and dry with 0000 steel wool.
Fire and Smoke Damage
Look for commercial grade “smoke removers” for this type of stain removal.
For more information about this or any of your questions concerning natural stone care, feel free to contact the Jubilee Company for more information. The Jubilee Company, located at 455 Country Road 984 in McKinney, stocks, fabricates, and installs, beautiful granite and marble countertops. With more than 40 varieties to choose from, The Jubilee Company offers one of the largest on-site slab inventories in the area. Additionally, Jubilee Company customers can also enjoy one-stop convenience when seeking shower enclosures, frameless shower doors, glass shower doors, and mirrors. For your free estimate, call 972-529-2140.