Properly cared-for stone can last a lifetime. Here is a guide to the care and cleaning of your stone, courtesy of the Marble Institute of America.
Cleaning materials to keep available:
Diatomaceous earth rust remover
Dr Fred’s Blue Be Gone
Types of Stains and First-Step Cleaning Actions
OIL-BASED STAINS – (grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics) Poultice with baking soda and water OR one of the powdered poultice materials and mineral spirits for 24 hours.
ORGANIC STAINS – (coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings) Poultice with one of the powdered poultice materials and 12% hydrogen peroxide solution (hair bleaching strength) OR use acetone instead of the hydrogen peroxide.
IRON/RUST STAINS (ORANGE AND/OR BROWN IN COLOR) – Poultice with diatomaceous earth and a commercially available rust remover for 24 hours. Rust stains are particularly difficult to remove. You may need to call a professional.
COPPER/BRASS STAINS – (appear as green or muddy-brown) Poultice with one of the powdered poultice materials and ammonia for 24 hours. These stains are difficult to remove. You may need to call a professional.
BIOLOGICAL STAINS – (algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Poultice with dilute ammonia OR diluted bleach OR diluted hydrogen peroxide for 24 hours. Dilution ratio for all three is 4 oz. with a gallon of water. DO NOT MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND LETHAL GAS!
INK STAINS (for dark stones) – Poultice with diatomaceous earth and hydrogen peroxide for 24 hours …. for light stones…Poultice with diatomaceous earth and either lacquer thinner or acetone for 24 hours
WATER SPOTS AND RINGS – (surface accumulation of hard water – usually by sinks/faucets) Buff with dry 0000 steel wool. For stubborn buildups, shave the surface with a straight edge razor blade at 45 degrees (use a paint scraper with a razor blade attached to be safe).
ETCH MARKS – Etch marks are caused by acids left on the surface of the stone. Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain. Once the stain has been removed, wet the surface with clear water and sprinkle on marble polishing powder, available from a hardware or lapidary store, or your local stone dealer. Rub the powder onto the stone with a damp cloth or by using a buffing pad with a low-speed power drill. Continue buffing until the etch mark disappears and the marble surface shines. Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for refinishing or re-polishing etched areas that you cannot remove.
SCRATCHES – For granite, slight metallic looking surface scratches (caused by metal rubbing against the surface) may be buffed out with a rag and pumiced based hand cleaner. Light scratches in the surface can be hidden with a stone color enhancer (like Tenax Ager) for light stones and hidden with black permanent marker on dark stones. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional. For Marble, Slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry 0000 steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional.
GREEN BLOOM SPOTS – (caused by super glue accelerator) (problem stones – sienna Bordeaux, typhoon Bordeaux, splendor gold, etc.) Use Dr. Fred’s Blue B Gone.
1. STEP 1 – Poultice with diatomaceous earth and equal amounts of reagent#1 and reagent#2 for 24 hours- desired result: green will turn to gold
2. STEP 2 – Poultice with diatomaceous earth and bleach for 24 hours. If gold is still there, do step 3 below:
3. STEP 3 – Right after the bleach poultice (while the stone is still wet from the bleach), heat the stone with a propane torch to boil the bleach. This will remove the gold. If the bleach has dried out, put a bleach drenched paper towel on it right after the torch.
For more information, please visit the Marble Institute of America Stain Removal Guide.