Lustro Italiano > Natural Stone Care > Caring For Marble Stone > Marble Stain Removal

Like Marble Itself, Marble Stains Come in a Variety

Marble's magnificence is due in part to the shiny, wondrous gleam that elegantly radiates from its deep lustrous appearance. But what is it that causes the glowing sheen that marble lovers value? In large part, it is a mineral called calcite. This mineral exists in the form of crystal which is very shiny. Another trait that people appreciate about marble is the color variations and the way the colors blend and exist side by side in a unified way. These two properties of marble's beauty are what get "attacked" when stains form in a marble stone. This article will discuss 4 variations of marble stains and how to treat each of them effectively. The stains we will discuss are:

  • Etching on Marble
  • "Color Only" Marble Stains
  • Stained Etches in Marble
  • Marble Rust Stains
Etched Marble Countertop

Marble Etching, More Than Just a Stain

Often times, what individuals refer to as a "marble stain" is really something more. In reality, many discolorations that affect marble counter tops and marble flooring are not a result of liquid staining the stone. Rather, often times the abnormal color of the marble is caused by a reaction between the stone and an acidic liquid or food that results in a dull or hazy looking spot on what appears to be the surface of the marble. What is etching and is it treatable?

The answer to the second question is yes, it is treatable. We'll get to that in a moment but first let's talk about why etching is not the same thing as a stain. An etch in marble can be viewed as the opposite of a stain since it is subtractive and not additive. Earlier in this article we discussed the mineral calcite and how it is by nature a crystal. Since crystal has a glistening appearance, calcite is what makes marble look so "polished". However, acidic substances - which are common in households - dissolve calcite, the sheen causing mineral in marble. So, when an acidic liquid like vinegar or lemon juice gets into the pores of your marble counter or floor it eats away the calcite in the marble and the resulting mark is a dull, hazy looking spot that resembles a stain. Since it was caused by a subtractive process (the removing of the calcite) the treatment process is different from that of a stain. You will need a substance that is designed to repair or restore the marble's original appearance.

Restoring your marble after it is etched is not difficult if you have the proper etch removing powder for marble and you can follow directions. Depending on the length of time that the acid was in contact with the marble, the etch will be quickly removed or it may take some additional patience and elbow grease. However, the etch can be removed. So etching, although it discolors, it is not a stain and can be treated.

Oily or Colored Substances Can Stain Marble

These are perhaps the kind of "stains" that most people are thinking of when they think of a stain. It is the additive process mentioned earlier in this article. This kind of stain happens when a colored substance is absorbed into a marble stone and then the liquid dries, leaving the color behind in the pores of the marble. These stains are not necessarily etch marks, they may only stains. These types of stains can be removed from marble by using a specially formulated poultice powder designed to reverse the staining process.

Stained Etching Can Occur in Marble

So what happens when a colored substance contains acid? You guessed it. It will stain the marble and cause an etch. So, it basically eats the calcite and delivers a colored substance that remains in the pores of the marble after the liquid dries. This requires the removal of the stain first. Then after you have reduced the blemish down to only and etch, you remove the etch. And that brings us to our final kind of stain.

Rust, the Stubborn Stain

If you have ever tried to wash surface rust off a piece of metal then you understand just how stubborn of a stain rust can be. You might even say that rust is a stain to the extreme because it is an extreme stain. Most marble rust stains are caused by a piece of metal sitting on the marble while contacting water. The metal rusts and the water helps to deliver the rust to the pores of the marble.

Your first reaction to this scenario might be to try the stain remover poultice to remove the rust from the marble. However, it more than likely will not work. The most effective way to treat a rust stain is to use a rust remover for marble to remove it. You should know though that you will also have to use etch remover after you have gotten the rust out because the marble will be etched during the rust removal process.

There you have it; a basic description of each variant of the kinds of stains that marble can be affected by and how to treat each one properly for best results. However, perhaps the most effective way to treat a stain on marble is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While it might be impossible to prevent every marble stain from happening. A good maintenance routine will give your marble counters and vanities the best protection from all four of these blemish types. To find out more about how to protect your marble from staining and discoloration check out our marble maintenance kits. They will regularly add a protective barrier to your marble stone to help keep liquid out so it is less likely to destroy the calcite or deliver unwanted color to the pores.

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