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Stain Management App

Stain Management App

For stone and other hard porous surfaces

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About Stains

STAINS COME FROM MANY SOURCES BUT MOST ARE REMOVABLE

The key to success 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.

WE ALL KNOW WHAT A STAIN IS.... OR DO WE?

Let's start by saying that a stain is a discoloration. So far, so good. The fact is, however, that not all discolorations are stains. To illustrate the point, let's take, for example, a piece of common fabric. Fabric is typically absorbent. Therefore, if we spill some liquid onto it, the material will absorb it. If it is only water, it will leave a temporary stain. In fact, once it dries the fabric will go back to its original color, but if coffee or cooking oil is spilled on it a stain will occur because the fabric will absorb the staining agent and change its color in a permanent way —unless we do something to remove the agent from the fabric.

On the other hand, if bleach is spilled on that same fabric a discoloration will occur, but it can hardly be defined as a stain because it is actually a permanent damage to the dye that originally made the color of the fabric.

As with the fabric example, when it comes to natural stone there are stains that are true stains and there are "stains" that are actually discolorations caused by something else.

A true stain is always darker than the stained material. If it appears as a lighter color it is not a stain, but either a mark of corrosion (etching) made by an acid, or a caustic mark (bleaching) made by a strong base (alkali). In other words, a lighter color "stain" is always surface damage and has no relation whatsoever with the absorbency rate of the damaged material-stone or otherwise. There is not a single exception to this rule.

A stain is a discoloration of the stone produced by a staining agent that was actually absorbed by the stone. Other "discolorations" have nothing to do with the porosity (absorbency) of the stone, but rather are a result of damage to the stone surface. All those "stains" that look like "water spots" or "water rings" are actually marks of corrosion (etches) created by some chemically active liquid (mostly-but not necessarily limited to-acids), which had a chance to come in contact with the stone. All calcite-based stones such as marble, limestone, onyx, travertine, etc., are sensitive to acids. Therefore, they will etch readily (within a few seconds). Many slates will also etch and so will a few "granites" (those that instead of being a 100% silicate rock are mixed with a certain percentage of calcite).

All stones are, more or less, absorbent. One may say that diamonds or gemstones are not absorbent. That's right, but a gemstone is not actually a stone. It is actually made of one crystal of one single mineral.

All other (less noble) stones are the composition of many crystals, either of the same mineral, or of different minerals bonded together. The "space" in between these molecules of minerals is mostly what determines the porosity of a stone. The porosity of stone varies greatly, and so does, of course, their absorbency. Some of them are extremely dense, therefore their porosity is minimal. What this translates into is the fact that the absorbency of such types of stone is so marginal that-by all practical intents and purposes-it can be considered irrelevant. Some other stones present a medium porosity, and others at the very end of the spectrum are extremely porous. Because of their inherent porosity, many stones will absorb liquids, and if such liquids are staining agents a true stain will occur. Now let's discuss how to remove stains!

HOW TO REMOVE A STAIN

A poultice is the best way to break down and draw out a stain on stone or other hard porous surfaces.

WHAT IS A POULTICE?

A poultice is the combination of a very absorbent medium (it must be more absorbent than the stone) mixed with a chemical, which is to be selected in accordance with the type of stain to be removed. The concept is to re-absorb the stain out of the stone. The chemical will attack the stain inside the stone, and the absorbent agent will pull them both out together. The absorbent agent can be the same all the time, regardless of the nature of the stain to be removed, but the chemical will be different in accordance with the nature of the staining agent since it will have to interact with it. The absorbent part of a poultice could be (in order of preference): talcum powder (baby powder), paper towel or diatomaceous earth (the white stuff inside your swimming pool filter) for larger projects. NOTE: There are convenient poulticing kits that make the task of stain removal easier. You may want to ask your stone care PRO for some specific recommendations.

As we said before, the chemical must be selected in accordance with the nature of the staining agent.

5 CLASSIFICATIONS OF STAINS

1. Organic stains (i.e. coffee, tea, coloring agents of dark sodas and other drinks, gravy, mustard, etc.)

2. Inorganic stains (i.e. ink, color dies, dirt-water spilling over from flower or plant pots, etc.)

3. Oily stains (i.e. any type of vegetable oil, certain mineral oils-motor oil, butter, margarine, melted animal fat, etc.)

4. Biological stains (i.e. mildew, mold, etc.)

5. Metal stains (i.e. rust, copper, etc.)

The chemical of choice for both organic and inorganic stains is hydrogen peroxide (30/40 volume, the clear type-available at your local beauty salon. The one from the drugstore is too weak, at 3.5 volume).

Sometimes, in the case of ink stains, denatured alcohol (or rubbing alcohol) may turn out to be more effective.

For oily stains, our favorite is acetone, which is available at any hardware or paint store. (Forget your nail polish remover. Some of them contain other chemicals, and others contain no acetone whatsoever.)

For biological stains, one can try using regular household bleach or a mildew stain remover designated safe for stone.

For metal/rust stains, our favorite is a white powder (to be dissolved in water) called Iron-out™, which can be found in any hardware store.

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ABOUT THIS APP

Created by SurpHaces, the surface care experts, with Chief Technical Director Fred Hueston

SurpHaces, the experts in surface care, in collaboration with Chief Technical Director, Fred Hueston, internationally renowned expert in natural stone restoration, has developed this comprehensive, but simple to use, stain management app. The program features a database of the most common types of stains you will encounter on natural stone or other hard porous surfaces with step-by-step instructions for treating them, as well as a how-to video for making and applying a poultice.

For stains or other surface damage you cannot resolve, contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.


www.surphaces.com

Copyright 2021 SurpHaces, LLC DeBary, FL. All Rights Reserved.

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How to Create and Apply a Poultice

STEPS FOR CREATING AND APPLYING A POULTICE

1. Identify the stain.

2. Clean the stained area to remove excess from the surface.

3. Wet the stained area with distilled water. Pre-wetting 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, pre-mix the powder and the chemical of choice into a thick paste the consistency of peanut butter. 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 un-stained areas. Apply poultice approximately one-quarter-inch thick, overlapping the stain area by about one inch.

6. Cover the poultice with plastic (food wrap works very well). 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 five applications or more for difficult stains.

9. Some chemicals may etch the marble surface. If this occurs, apply a polishing powder and buff to restore the shine.

For further assistance, contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.

Search stain database

Instructions

STEPS TO TREATING STAINS

  1. The most important step is to identify the stain. Once the stain is identified look it up in the Stain Database
  2. Once the proper chemical is selected, prepare your poultice. Refer to the How-To Video. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when using any chemical.
  3. Once a stain is clearly identified, the steps to remove it can begin. These should be followed in numerical order, and close attention should be paid to the cautions for certain situations. 

Caution: 

  1. Always read the label on any chemical bottle. 
  2. Always follow the directions and precautions listed on the lablel.
  3. Never use a chemical if you are unsure what it is or how to protect yourself.
  4. Always take the time to protect yourself and those working around you. 
  5. Always dispose of chemicals properly. Every municipality has a household hazardous waste drop-off location. For safe disposal of chemical product at work, contact your health and safety representative. 
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ACNE CREAM

Solution:

  1. Thoroughly clean the area with water and a mild detergent.
  2. Once the area has dried, pour some 40 volume hydrogen peroxide on a clean white rag and rub the stained area.
  3. If stain remains, use a poultice with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide.
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ADHESIVES

Types: Tape residue, cellophane, stickers, etc.

Problem: Sticky residue on surface of stone. Some tape residues, especially duct tape can penetrate below the surface of the stone and can be very difficult to remove.

Solution:

  1. Peel off any remaining tape. Use a very sharp razor blade and be careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.
  2. The remaining sticky residue can usually be removed with a rag and acetone. Pour the chemical on a clean white rag and rub the area until all of the sticky residue is gone.
  3. If the adhesive has left a stain, prepare a poultice of mineral spirits and poultice powder, being careful to follow directions for all user and label precautions.

 

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ALKALINE ETCHING

Type: Etching from alkaline strippers, ammonia, or 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 such as vinegar. 
  2. If dealing with a polished marble, re-honing and re-polishing may be necessary. Contact your stone restoration PRO.
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ALUMINUM

Type: All aluminum, usually from windows, awnings, etc.

Problem: Can leave a crusty, whitish residue.

Solution:

  1. Remove any crusty residue from surface. On polished surfaces, use a sharp razor blade. On textured surfaces use a hard brush. 
  2. On polished surfaces, dilute hydrochloric acid in 40 parts water. Apply the solution and agitate with a soft nylon brush. 
  3. On textured surfaces, mix hydrochloric acid in 20 parts water. Apply the solution and agitate with a soft nylon brush.

(Be extremely careful with acids on or near marbles; they will severely etch the surface requiring professional honing and re-polishing.)  

 

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BEER

Solution:

  1. Clean the entire area thoroughly with water and a mild detergent. Allow the water and soap to soak into the stone for several minutes. Lightly agitate the area and remove excess water with a dry towel. Rinse the area with clear water.
  2. If the above cleaning procedure does not remove the beer stain, try a 50/50 mix of ammonia and water. 
  3. If the stone is still stained, prepare a poultice with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide.
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BIRD DROPPINGS

Solutions:

  1. After you remove any solid material, wash the area with a neutral cleaner and a clean rag.
  2. If stains exist after this, make a poultice with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide.

Bird droppings contain uric acid and may result in etching on some stones. If this happens, you may need to have the finish professionally restored.

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BLOOD

Types: Human and animal blood and raw meats prepared on a marble countertop can cause blood staining

Problem: Blood contains salts and proteins; if it is cleaned while still fresh it will usually not stain. If allowed to dry, blood stains can be very difficult to remove.

Solution:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly with cold water and a mild dish detergent.
  2. Prepare a 50/50 solution of household ammonia and water. Apply this solution and allow to sit for several minutes. Gently scrub the area and rinse with cold clear water.
  3. If stain is still present, poultice with poultice powder and ammonia.
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BURNS

Types: Cigarette, hot irons, propane, etc.

Problem: Cigarette and cigar burns will leave a yellow nicotine stain which can be difficult to remove. Cigarette burns can also melt the stone and in the case of granite may cause spalling. 

Solution:

  1. If the stone is melted or spalled, professional re-honing and polishing will be necessary.
  2. If a yellow nicotine stain is the problem, poultice with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.
  3. If several poultice applications do not work, try a poultice with mineral spirits.
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CANDLE WAX

Problem: Candle wax can present a few issues. The candle wax may have melted onto the surface and into the pores of the stone and will need to be removed. If the candle has dye in it any staining has been left behind, that will need to be treated.

Solution:

  1. Begin by scraping any solid wax material from the surface of the stone with a plastic scraper. Avoid using metal or any tool that can scratch the stone.
  2. To remove candle wax that melted into the pores of the stone: Use a hot clothing iron (preferably one you don’t mind getting wax on) and white paper towels to melt and lift any remaining wax. Place the paper towel over the stain and iron it with the hot iron. As the wax softens, it will be absorbed by the paper towels. Be sure to use new paper towels as needed.
  3. Removing residual stains: After you have scraped the wax off and used the iron and paper to absorb embedded wax, soak a clean cloth in water, wring it out and apply a few drops of Reagent #2 (or degreaser or ammonia).
  4. Wipe the stone with the cloth to eliminate the remaining candle residue. Finish by rinsing the surface with water and air dry. 
  5. . If any staining remains you will need to use a poultice to break down and draw out the stain. Try a poultice with Reagent #1 (or 40 volume hydrogen peroxide).
  6. If that doesn’t work after a couple of tries, try a poultice using Reagent #2 (or paint thinner) as your chemical.
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CANDY (NON-CHOCOLATE)

Types: Myriad types of candies, all containing sugar and various dyes.

Problem: Several candies contain dyes; red dye especially can be very difficult to remove.

Solution:

  1. Scrape remaining candy from surface.
  2. Clean area with Reagent#2 (or acetone) and a clean white cloth.
  3. If Reagent #2 (or acetone) doesn’t work, poultice with poultice powder with Reagent #2 (or mineral spirits)
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CHOCOLATE

Types: Candy, cocoa, ice cream

Problem: Can leave brown stains on light colored marbles

Solution:

  1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent. 
  2. If stain is still present, clean with ammonia and water. Let solution sit on stained area for several minutes. Remove excess solution and rinse with clear cold water. 
  3. If above procedure fails, poultice with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.
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COFFEE AND TEA

Types: All coffee including instant coffee, hot tea and iced tea

Problem: Coffee and tea both contain tannin which can leave a yellow to brown stain. If left on stone long enough the stain can penetrate deeply and be nearly impossible to remove. If the concentration of coffee or tea is strong enough it can also etch the surface of polished marble. When this happens you will need to have your stone restoration PRO restore the finish.

Solution:

  1. Pour 40 volume hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and add a few drops of ammonia. Leave until any bubbling stops.
    Caution: Do not use ammonia only. Ammonia can permanently set the stain.
  2. If the above procedure does not remove the stain, poultice with a poultice powder and 40 volume hydrogen peroxide.
  3. If all else fails, poultice with mineral spirits and poultice powder.
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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 1 part ammonia and 3 parts warm water. Apply this solution to the surface and agitate with a soft bristle brush. Rinse with clean water.
  3. If the stain is still present, poultice with ammonia and poultice powder.
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EGG

Types: Chicken or duck

Problem: Eggs contain a protein called albumin which can leave a yellow stain.

Solution:

  1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent or stone soap. Caution: Do not use hot water as it can set the stain.
  2. If stain still remains, poultice with poultice powder and Reagent #1 (or 40 volume hydrogen peroxide)
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FATTY OILS

Types: Butter, margarine, fried foods, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravy, 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:

  1. Thoroughly clean stained area with cold water and a mild detergent or stone soap.
  2. Apply a commercial degreaser to the stained area and let sit for several minutes. Remove excess and rinse with clean, clear water.
  3. If stain is still present, poultice with a commercial degreaser and poultice powder.
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FRUIT JUICE (LIGHT COLORED)

Types: Apples, pears, oranges, lemon, lime, grapefruit and their juices

Problem: The acids in some fruits, especially lemon will etch polished marble. The sugars in these fruits will turn yellow or brown if allowed to sit too long.

Solution:

1. If the surface is etched, re-polish using a quality  marble polishing compound. If the etching is very deep, re-honing may be necessary.

2. If the fruit has left a stain then clean the area with cold water and a mild detergent.

3. If stain still remains poultice with poultice powder and 20-50% hydrogen peroxide.

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FURNITURE POLISH

Types: Spray and liquid furniture polishes

Problem: Oils, dyes, waxes and silicones can cause staining. The darker polishes (e.g., walnut) can permanently stain the stone.

Solution:

1. 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.

2. If stain is still present, poultice with poultice powder and mineral spirits or commercial paint remover.

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GLUE (WATER SOLUBLE)

Types: Casein, mucilage, paste and hide glue

Problem: The white and clear glue rarely stain. However, some of the darker glues can leave a stain that can be difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. Scrape excess glue with a sharp razor blade. Be careful not to scratch the surface.

2. Clean with cold water and a mild detergent. Try using a green scouring pad.

3. If glue is stubborn, use acetone and a clean white rag.

4. If the glue has left a stain, poultice with poultice powder and mineral spirits.

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GLUE (SYNTHETIC)

Types: Super glue, hot glue, epoxy resin, plastic model cement

Problem: These types of glues will rarely stain. The glues are usually hard to remove from the surface.

Solution:

1. On smooth surface, scrape glue with a sharp razor blade. Be careful not to scratch the surface.

2. Any remaining residue can be cleaned with acetone and a clean white rag.

3. If the glue is really stubborn, soak the area in acetone for several minutes then try scraping with a razor blade, followed by wiping with acetone.

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GRASS

Type: Grass Stain

Problem: Tannin and chlorophyll in the grass can leave a nasty green or yellow stain.

Solution:

1. Clean stained area with a clean white rag and denatured alcohol.

2. If stain still remains, poultice with poultice powder and 20-50% hydrogen peroxide.

Caution: DO NOT use ammonia, or any alkaline cleaners on grass stains – it can permanently set the stain.

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GREASE

Types: Petroleum type grease such as wheel bearing grease, cooking grease, vegetable oils, etc.

Problem: Can leave a nasty dark stain that can penetrate deeply into the stone. Can be very difficult to remove. Try to remove as soon as grease is spilled.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent.

2. Soak stained area with a commercial degreaser for several minutes. If degreaser solution dries, reapply, keeping it wet. Remove excess degreaser and rinse with clean water.

3. If stain is still present, poultice with poultice powder and commercial degreaser.

4. For stubborn grease stains, poultice with poultice powder and mineral spirits or commercial paint remover.

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GUM

Types: Chewing gum, tree gum (sap), etc.

Problem: Gum rarely stains polished stone surfaces but can be very difficult to remove from honed and rough textures surfaces.

Solution:

1. Do not try to scrape gum off surface; this only makes more of a mess. Freeze the gum using an aerosol gum freeze, available at most janitorial supply houses. Spray the gum for several seconds, then chip the gum with a scraper or putty knife. This should remove most of the gum.

2. If there is any gum residue still remaining, apply a solvent cleaner such as a dry spotter, also available at most janitorial supply houses.

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HARD WATER STAINS

Types: Water stains from irrigation systems, faucets, bathroom fixtures, shower walls, etc.

Problem: The minerals in water will leave mineral deposits which can appear as a white haze or even large deposits of crust like minerals.

Solution:

1. If deposits are large, try scraping off excess deposits with a sharp razor blade.

2. Clean with a heavy duty soap film remover.

3. If deposits still remain, apply a solution of weak phosphoric acid and agitate the area applying more acid as needed. NOTE: This will etch all marble surfaces, so plan on having to professionally refinish the marble.

4. Re-hone and polish the stone if necessary.

Some mineral deposits will be imbedded below the surface of the stone and may cause spalling. If this is the case, replacement of the damaged stone is the only alternative.

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HEEL MARKS

Types: Black rubber, neoprene

Problem: Rubber can leave a black streak mark on surface of stone. These marks rarely stain but can be difficult to remove from rough textured stones and concrete.

Solution:

1. Clean with acetone and a clean white rag. On textured stone try using a green scrub pad with acetone.

2. If acetone doesn't work, then try another solvent such as dry spotter, available at a janitorial supply.

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ICE CREAM (NON-CHOCOLATE)

Types: All flavors except chocolate (also see chocolate)

Problem: Food coloring and fruits can cause staining.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent or stone soap.

2. If stain still remains, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

3. If the stain is very stubborn, try a poultice with mineral spirits or similar solvent and poultice powder.

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INK

Types: Ball Point pen, magic marker, carbon paper, newspaper print, etc.

Problem: Most inks penetrate deep into the stone and can be very difficult to nearly impossible to remove, depending on the age of the stain. It is very important to remove the stain as quickly as possible.

Solution:

1. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white rag.

2. Poultice the stain with a solvent such as mineral spirits or commercial paint remover and poultice powder.

3. Several attempts may be necessary to remove stain. If no improvement is noticed after 5 attempts, the stain is most likely permanent.

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INK-TONER

Type: Copy machine toner and similar inks

Problem: This is one of the most difficult ink stains to remove. If the stain is allowed to sit it may become permanent.

Solution:

1. Thoroughly clean the area with acetone and a clean white cloth. Continue to clean until no ink is transferred to the cloth.

2. If dye has penetrated the stone, poultice with commercial paint remover and poultice powder.

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IODINE

Types: Iodine, mercurochrome, and similar dyes found in medicines

Problem: Can leave a stain that can be nearly impossible to remove.

Solution:

1. Blot any wet iodine with a clean white rag.

2. 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.

3. If stain still remains, poultice with denatured alcohol and poultice powder.

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JAM OR JELLY

Types: All types and flavors, artificial and natural preserves, etc.

Problem: Dyes and fruits can cause staining, especially grape and berry jams and jellies.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a good mild detergent.

2. If stain still remains, poultice with a mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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KOOLAID

Types: Kool-aid-type drinks, popsicles, etc.

Problem: Dyes can be extremely difficult to remove, especially the red and orange colors.

Solution:

1. Clean with a solution of ammonia and water. This will help neutralize the dye.

2. Poultice with commercial Kool-aid remover (available at janitorial supply) and poultice powder.

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LEATHER

Type: Shoe and clothing leather

Problem: Leather contains oils and dyes which can penetrate into stone and cause staining.

Solution:

1. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.

2. If stain is deep, poultice with a solvent such as mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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LIPSTICK

Types: All colors and types

Problem: Oil waxes and dyes can be difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. Scrape excess lipstick with a sharp razor blade. Lipstick is very concentrated; attempting to clean without scraping excess will only spread the lipstick around.

2. Once all excess is removed, clean with acetone and a clean white rag.

3. If stain is still present, poultice with a solvent such as mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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LIQUOR

Types: Mixed drinks and white wine (for red wine, see wine; for beer, see beer)

Problem:

Alcohols can melt agglomerate-type stones. Dyes can cause staining.

Solution:

1. Agglomerate stones that are damaged can sometimes be filled with a polyester resin. Seek professional help if this is the case or replace the stone.

2. Stains will need to be poulticed with a solvent such as mineral spirits and a poultice powder.

 

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LOTION

Types: Baby lotion, body, suntan and hair oil, etc.

Problem: Lotions contain various oils which can cause dark staining. Can be difficult to remove if left on too long.

Solution:

1. Thoroughly clean area with water and a mild detergent.

2. Prepare a solution of a degreaser and water. Apply solution to the stained area and let sit for several minutes. Agitate and remove excess solution and rinse with cold clear water. Repeat several times.

3. If stain is deep, apply a poultice of degreaser and poultice powder.

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MAKE-UP

Types: Mascara, blush, eye shadow, liquid foundation, etc.

Problem: Dyes, waxes and oils can stain stone. Many types of makeup have a high concentration of dye, which can be tricky to remove.

Solution:

1. Remove any excess makeup by blotting with a clean white rag. DO NOT wipe; this will only spread the stain.

2. Clean the stained area with denatured alcohol and a clean white cloth. Blot; DO NOT wipe.

3. If stain still remains, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

4. If stain still remains, poultice with a solvent like mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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MILDEW STAINS

Types: Mildew, fungus, algae and other living plant stains

Problem: Can leave a black, green, blue, orange or white blotchy type stain on stone surfaces. Since this is a living fungus it can grow and spread at a rapid rate. Usually requires a moist environment to grow, such as showers, etc.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with a mild detergent.

2. If there is any soap film on a shower wall, be sure to remove the soap film by scraping and then wiping with a clean rag and acetone.

3. To remove the mildew stains, spray the area with a solution of 3 parts household bleach to one part water, with several drops of dish detergent. Continue to mist the area until all the mildew stains disappear.

4. Rinse the entire area with clean water and dry it.

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MILK

Types: Milk, cream and other milk products

Problem: The animal fat contained in milk can sour and leave a yellow stain and it also can smell very badly.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with a mild detergent.

2. Apply a solution of 3 parts bleach to one part water. Let stand for several minutes, then rinse with clean water.

3. If stain is still present, poultice with 20% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

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MUD

Types: Mud, dirt, red clay, etc.

Problem: Most dirt is not a big problem. However red clay can leave some nasty stains that can be difficult to remove

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with a mild detergent of stone soap and plenty of cold water to remove all surface dirt.

2. If dirt has left any stains, poultice with household ammonia and poultice powder.

3. If the stain was caused by red clay and the ammonia does not remove it, poultice with a mixture of one part laundry detergent and 2 parts poultice powder.

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MUSTARD

Types: All types

Problem: Mustard contains turmeric, which is a yellow spice that causes the yellow staining. Mustard stains can be very difficult to remove, especially if the stain is old.

Solution:

1. Thoroughly clean the stained area with cold water and a mild detergent (blot only).

2. Pour 20-50% hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and add a few drops of ammonia. Leave until bubbling stops.

3. If the stain is still present poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

CAUTION: Do not use ammonia or alkaline type cleaners on mustard stains as this may permanently stain the stone.

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NAIL POLISH

Type: Enamel or lacquer types

Problem: Nail polishes will dry very quickly. For this reason the dyes they contains will rarely penetrate into polished stone. Rough texture stone is another problem. The nail polish will penetrate immediately causing a difficult to remove stain.

Solution:

1. Immediately blot with a clean white cloth.

2. Apply acetone to the stain and blot with a clean white cloth. Continue to apply acetone and blot until stain disappears.

3. If stain is old, poultice with a solvent (mineral spirits, alcohol, etc) and poultice powder.

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OIL

Type: Automotive, cooking, lubricating, etc.

Problem: Oil can be very difficult to remove on most stone. Oils will penetrate deep into the stone and will spread out throughout the stone. Try to clean up the oil spill as soon as it happens.

Solution:

1. Blot up any excess oil with a clean white cloth. If oil has dried on the surface, scrape with a sharp razor.

2. If oil is still fresh and has penetrated into the stone, sprinkle a generous portion of poultice powder on the spill and let stand for 12-24 hours.

3. Remove the dry poultice and prepare a solution of degreaser and water. Apply this solution to the spill and keep it wet for 30 minutes. Vacuum the solution up and blot the remainder with a clean white cloth.

4. If stain is still present, poultice with a solvent (commercial paint remover works well) and poultice powder.

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PAINT (OIL BASED)

Type: All oil based paints and alkyd resins and solvents

Problem: Oil based paints are the most difficult paints to remove. The oils and solvents contained in these paints will carry the dyes deep into the stone.

Solution:

1. Immediately blot any excess paint from the surface with a clean white cloth.

2. Apply liberal amounts of mineral spirits (paint thinner) to the spill and blot. Continue to blot until no color is observed on the cloth.

3. Apply a poultice of commercial paint remover and poultice powder.

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PAINT (WATER BASED)

Type: All water based paints and polymer resins

Problem: Very difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. If the spill is fresh, blot immediately with a clean white cloth.

2. Clean area with water and a mild detergent.

3. If stain is dry, scrape paint with a sharp razor blade. If scraping is difficult, apply a solution of soap and water to the spill and scrape while wet.

4. If stain has penetrated the stone, poultice with a commercial water-rinseable paint remover and poultice powder.

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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 such as mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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PENCIL

Type: Graphite and indelible pencil

Problem: Pencil can be tricky to remove as the graphite may penetrate into the stone. Most commonly the graphite is only on the surface of the stone.

Solution:

1. Try using a pencil eraser to erase the graphite. This procedure will work most of the time.

2. If graphite has penetrated the stone, poultice with denatured alcohol and poultice powder.

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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:

1. Clean area thoroughly with denatured alcohol and a clean white cloth.

2. If stain is deep, poultice with denatured alcohol and poultice powder.

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PERSPIRATION AND BODY OILS

Type: Body oils, salts and enzymes

Problem: Oils from perspiration are a big problem on walls, countertops, etc. where hands are constantly touching the surface of the stone.

Solution:

1. Blot the area with denatured alcohol and a clean white cloth.

2. If stain is still present, poultice with denatured alcohol and poultice powder.

 

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RED FRUIT

Types: Cherry, grape, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry (and their juices)

Problem: All these fruits contain dyes which can be very difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. Clean area with cold water. Caution: Do not use soap; it can set the stain.

2. If stain still remains, poultice with poultice powder and 20% hydrogen peroxide.

3. If stain is still not removed, poultice with poultice powder and mineral spirits.

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RUBBER

Type: All types of tire marks created by cars, trucks, carts, etc.

Problem: Can leave a rubber track on surface. They can be difficult to remove on porous surfaces like concrete, brick and rough stone.

Solution:

1. Clean thoroughly with a degreaser and warm water. Scrub with stiff bristle brush.

2. If marks are stubborn, clean with a solvent such as mineral spirits. Use a stiff bristle brush.

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RUST

Type: Iron oxide

Problem: Rust is one of the most difficult stains to remove. It can cause a reddish-brown to yellow stain that can permanently set into the stone.

Solution:

1. If the rust stain is new, try applying a solution of rust remover and water. Mix into a slurry and lightly agitate the area with a soft bristle brush. Rinse with clean water.

Caution: Rust removers may cause etching which will require professional honing and polishing. 

2. If stain is old and has penetrated into the stone, poultice with rust remover and  poultice powder.

Caution: Do not use clay powders; use poultice powder.

3. If #2 above does not work, poultice with hydrofluoric acid and poultice powder.

Caution: Never use bleach; it will only make stain worst.

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SHOE POLISH

Type: All liquid polishes, including white

Problem: Dyes in shoe polish can penetrate the stone leaving a nasty stain.

Solution:

1. If dry, scrape excess polish with a clean sharp razor. Apply a solution of a quality daily cleaner/conditioner to help lubricate the blade and prevent scratching.

2. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.

3. If stain still appears, poultice with a solvent (e.g. mineral spirits) and poultice powder.

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SILICONE

Type: Silicone caulking used for grouting and anchoring stone

Problem: This can be a serious 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 where the anchors are. It may take several months before the silicone becomes visible.

Solution:

The only known technique that will remove this silicone staining is the following:

Prepare a poultice with commercial paint remover and poultice powder. May require a dozen applications.

If the silicone has not completely cured, the staining may return again.

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SMOKE/SOOT

Type: Smoke and soot from fireplaces and fire damage. (For tobacco smoke see Tobacco.)

Problem: Smoke and soot contain particles of oil and carbon which can leave a black ugly stain.

Solution:

1.Wipe excess soot with a clean, dry white cloth.

2.Clean area thoroughly with a solution of stone soap or dishwashing soap in warm water. Use a stiff bristle brush for rough textured stone or concrete.

3. If smoke damage is heavy, clean with a solution of degreaser and warm water.

4. If smoke damage is still present, poultice with the degreaser and poultice powder.

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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, scrape with a razor blade. Wet the surface to avoid scratching.

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 make sure that they do not contain acids which can etch polished marble.

Several poultices may need to be applied to completely remove all staining.

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SOFT DRINKS/COLA

Type: Coke, Pepsi and all other carbonated sodas

Problem: The coloring and sugars in sodas can cause severe staining.

Solution:

1. If the spill is fresh, blot with a clean white cloth.

2. Clean the area thoroughly with a mild detergent and warm water. Flood the stained area thoroughly.

3. If stain is still present, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

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SOUP

Type: All soups and stew containing meat and vegetables

Problem: Can leave some greasy looking stains that can be difficult to remove, especially if the stain is old.

Solution:

1.Clean the area thoroughly with a solution of ammonia and water.

2. If stained after clean-up poultice with ammonia and poultice powder.

3. If the stain is present, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

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SOY-WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Type: All brands of soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Problem: Coloring and proteins in these sauces can be difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth. Be sure to blot only.

2. Poultice with a solvent such as mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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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 or coatings.

- Improper cleaners.

- Using too much cleaner.

- Sealers not properly applied

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.

3. If streaking is caused by using too much cleaner, dirty mop or improper cleaner, re-mop the floor with stone soap and buff with a white nylon pad.

4. If streaking is caused from sealer not properly applied, contact your SurpHaces, PRO Partner.

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STUNS

Type: Stun marks caused by heavy objects dropped on a marble floor, also high heel marks

Problem: Stun marks are very common on some marbles. They are usually caused by walking across the floor with high heels, and they leave a white spot on the marble. Stun marks can be telegraphed to the bottom of the stone. They are caused by the individual crystals in the stone exploding.

Solution:

Professional grinding, honing and polishing the floor may eliminate some light stains but frequently they cannot be removed. Contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.

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SWIRLS

Type: Circular pattern swirls.

Problem: Swirls marks appear as circular patterns on the surface of the stone. This is usually caused by a floor machine using abrasive pads like steel wool or pads that have trapped sand and grit under them.

Solution:

1. Light swirls can be removed by re-polishing. Heavy swirls will require re-honing and re-polishing. Contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.

Caution: When using any type of rotating machine (floor buffer, automatic scrubber, hand machine, etc.) never hold the machine stationary while operating. Keep it moving. Keeping machine stationary may cause severe swirling.

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SYRUP

Types: Honey, molasses, maple, and corn

Problem: The sugar and coloring added to these syrups can cause staining.

Solution:

1. Thoroughly clean stained area with cold water and a mild detergent of stone soap.

2. If stain still remains, clean with ammonia and water. Let solution sit for several minutes, then agitate and rinse with clean water.

3. If stain is still present, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

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TAR

Type: Asphalt, roofing tar, beach tar, etc.

Problem: Dyes in tar can cause deep staining in stone and concrete.

Solution:

1. Scrape away any excess tar with a clean dry razor blade.

2. Clean the remaining tar with acetone and a clean white cloth.

3. If stain still remains poultice with mineral spirits and poultice powder.

4. If stain is stubborn, poultice with De-Solv-it® (available at hardware stores) and poultice powder.

Caution: DO NOT use water with tar. It will harden the tar and set the stain.

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TOBACCO

Type: Smoke stains from cigarettes and cigars

Problem: Nicotine can cause a light yellow stain that can be difficult to remove.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with a mild detergent or stone soap and cold water.

2. For heavy tobacco stains, clean with a degreaser and cold water.

3. If stain still remains, poultice with degreaser and poultice powder.

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TOMATO

Type: Canned, fresh tomatoes, tomato pastes, juice, etc.

Problem: Acids in tomato products can etch the surface of polished marble. Can also leave a red stain in porous stones.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent or stone soap. Rinse with clear water.

2. If stone is stained, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

3. If stone is etched, professional repolishing will be necessary.

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TOMATO SAUCE

Types: Barbecue, steak, spaghetti, ketchup, etc.

Problem: These sauces contain tomato, tannin, oil and dyes. The dyes may leave a red to brown stain. The oil can penetrate the stone and darken it.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with cold water and a mild detergent.

2. If stain is still present, clean the area with an alkaline degreaser. Mix with water according to directions and let solution stand on stained area for several minutes. Agitate with a cloth and rinse with clean water.

3. If stain is still not removed, use poultice powder and an alkaline degreaser. A second poultice may be required using poultice powder and a solvent such as mineral spirits or commercial paint remover if there is dye present.

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VEGETABLE

Type: Green and yellow vegetables

Problem: May leave a green or yellow stain.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with a mild detergent of stone soap and cold water.

2. If stain is still present, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

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VOMIT

Type: Human or animal vomit

Problem: The acids in the stomach have a very low acidic pH and can etch the surface of polished marble. Can also leave a stain depending on what was eaten.

Solution:

1. Clean area through with a mild detergent of stone soap and cold water.

2. Clean area with a solution of household ammonia and cold water. Continue to clean until all stain is gone.

3. If stain is still present, apply a poultice of ammonia and poultice powder.

4. If odor is still present apply a solution of enzyme digester (available at a janitorial supply). Keep wet for several hours. Covering with a wet paper towel will help keep enzyme solution wet.

5. If stone is etched, re-polish with a quality marble polishing compound or have it professionally polished.

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WATER RINGS - SPOTS

Type: Rings from drinking glasses and hard water spots from drips.

Problem: Water will not usually stain but will leave a white ring or spot. This ring or spot is deposits of minerals from the water. If the drink contains acid (e.g., lemon in ice tea) it will etch polished marble in the shape of a ring or spot.

Solution:

1. Try buffing ring or spot with dry #000 steel wool.

2. If ring or spot still remains, re-polish with a quality marble polishing compound.

3. If ring or spot is very deep, re-honing may be necessary. Contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.

Caution: If the stone has been waxed or colored with dyes the ring may have removed the wax or dyes from the surface. To test for waxes or dyes take some acetone and clean an inconspicuous area. If the stone lightens there is a wax or dye on the stone. If this is the case you will need to re-wax or re-dye.

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WAX COATINGS

Type: Waxes, acrylics, urethane, epoxy, etc.

Problem: Waxes can yellow and give a plastic-like appearance. They will also attract dirt.

Solution:

1. If the coating is water based (e.g., acrylics), strip the stone with a commercial wax stripper. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

2. If the coating is solvent based (waxes, urethane, epoxy), strip with a commercial paint stripper.

3. Once all coatings have been stripped, professional re-honing and re-polishing may be necessary. Contact your SurpHaces PRO Partner.

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WINES

Type: All red wines

Problem: The tannin contained in red wine can severely stain stone.

Solution:

1. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth.

Caution: DO NOT use detergent and water; this may set the stain.

2. If stain is still present, poultice with 20-50% hydrogen peroxide and poultice powder.

3. If stain is stubborn, try poulticing with a solvent such as mineral spirits and poultice powder.

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WOOD STAIN

Type: All solvent based stains and dyes.

Problem: The dyes contained in these stain can be nearly impossible to remove, as they are designed to stain wood. The older the stain gets, the harder it is to remove.

Solution:

1. Clean area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth. Continue to clean until no stain is visible on the cloth.

2. Prepare a poultice with commercial paint remover and poultice powder. It may take several attempts to pull these difficult stains out.

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YELLOWING

Type: General yellowing across the surface of most stones, especially white marbles.

Problem: There are many causes for yellowing of stone. UV light can cause yellowing over time. Iron contained naturally in stone can oxidize and cause yellowing. Inexpensive coatings can cause yellowing. Mastic used to set stone can yellow.

Solution:

1. If the yellowing is caused by iron contained naturally in the stone or if the stone is aging, you will likely never get the yellowing out.

2. If the yellowing is caused by waxes or coating, strip them off according to stripping directions (see Wax Coatings).

Yellowing of white marble, particularly the Carrara types, is very common and cannot be reversed at this time.