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A Natural Stone Stain Remover

Hard surfaces like natural stone, concrete, terrazzo, and certain types of tile, as well as the grout lines in between tile, are porous, which means they will absorb liquids. If such liquids are staining agents, a stain will occur. Stain removal methods will vary, depending on the type of stain. Many stains can be removed using acetone. Here are the details.

About Acetone

Acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover, is a stone-safe organic compound. For the purpose of removing stains on natural stone, however, forget your nail polish remover. Some nail polish removers contain other chemicals, and non-acetone nail polish remover has no acetone whatsoever. Acetone for stone stain removal should be available at any hardware or paint store.

About Stain Removal

The key to success in stain removal is cleaning up any spills and treating any resulting stains as soon as you can. Understanding the source of the stain will help in determining the best treatment. Many options are available for treating stains on natural stone from creating your own poultice to using convenient ready-made poultices. Ask us for help if you need it.

IMPORTANT!

Acetone is very dangerous to the skin and nervous system. Wear latex or rubber gloves when handling acetone. For your protection, as well as the protection of others, always read the warning labels, follow directions, and be cautious when working with chemicals. Remember to follow your local health and safety regulations for proper chemical disposal.

Stain Removal Methods

Acetone can be used to remove adhesives, candy (non-chocolate), furniture polish, glue (both water soluble and synthetic), heel marks, ink, ink toner, leather, lipstick, nail polish, paper, shoe polish, soap film, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tar, vomit, wines, wood stain, and many unknown stains.

Stain removal methods will vary, depending on the type of stain. For example, substances with heavy texture may require the excess to be carefully scraped from the surface of the stone with a straight razor, while thinner substances will not require this first step. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth. Be sure to blot only. Some stains may require one or more poultice applications. Poultices absorb and wick stains out of stone over a period of time from hours to days, depending on the severity of the stain. For specific instructions, please refer to our Stain Removal Application under Resources on our website menu.

Unknown Stains

If you have no idea what caused your stain, you may still be able to remove the stain. Be sure to test out your stain removal methods in an inconspicuous area before you proceed with your stain removal.

  1. Carefully use a sharp straight razor to scrape excess texture, if needed.
  2. Use a clean white cloth to blot the stain. Do not wipe or rub, as this may cause spread the stain outward. Hopefully you will see the stain beginning to transfer to the white cloth. If not, proceed to step (3). Use clean sections of your white cloth each time, and use a second or third white cloth, if needed. Continue until you see that the stain is no longer transferring from the stone to the cloth. Proceed to step (6).
  3. Use stone soap or a stone-safe, pH-neutral cleaner to thoroughly clean the stained area. Use a clean, white cloth to dry the area. Have a look at your cloth. If you see that some of the stain has transferred to it, proceed to step (7), if not, move on to steop (4).
  4. Use 20% hydrogen peroxide and a clean white cloth to blot (not wipe or rub) the stained area. Have a look at your cloth. If you see that some of the stain has transferred to it, continue working until the stain no longer transfers to the cloth, and then proceed to step (8). If no stain is transferring to your cloth, then proceed to step (5).
  5. Use an iron-removing cleaner and a soft brush to agitate and clean the stained area. Use a clean, white cloth to dry the area. WARNING: This step may cause acid etch damage to your stone. Use caution. If lightening of the stain occurs, proceed to step (9). If you do not see any improvement, proceed to step (10).
  6. Use poultice powder and one of the following solvents: mineral spirits or commercial paint remover, to create a poultice. To be clear, do not mix the solvents. Apply the poultice to the stain. See our poultice How-To video on the Stain Removal App for further poultice instructions. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (7).
  7. Use a poultice powder and an alkaline stone cleaner to create a poultice. Apply the poultice to the stain. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  8. Use a poultice powder and 20% hydrogen peroxide to create a poultice. Check the ingredients on clay or fuller earth powders. If they contain hydrogen peroxide, do not use them. Apply the poultice to the stain. If you do not see improvement in the stain, try creating a new poultice mixture using 50% hydrogen peroxide instead of 20%. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  9. Use a poultice powder and an iron-removing chemical to create a poultice. Apply the poultice to the stain. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. Marble or other calcium-based stones may require honing and polishing to restore the finish. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  10. Most stains on natural stone can be removed. Some are more difficult than others. Persistence is key. However, some stains do become permanently set. In other words, they become part of the stone. You may need to have your stone replaced. Another option would be to cover the stain with a rug or furniture rearrangement.

Potential Complications

If you are unable to remove the stain, you may actually be dealing with etch damage caused by an acidic substance. Etch removal methods differ from stain removal methods. If you applied a poultice as part of your stain removal process, lingering
discoloration may be due to moisture in the stone, which will disappear once the stone is completely dry. Most stains can be removed, but sometimes stains are permanent. Before investing in a costly replacement, consult with your professional stone restoration contractor.

This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.