Stone, Tile & Grout Stain Removal

Stain Removal Steps:

The following stain removal steps are to be used at your own risk. Always pre-test these products before application over large areas, look for further staining or etching which can look like a cloudy or flat spot in the material. It would be a good idea to Re-seal the areas that have been treated. Always wear gloves and follow appropriate safety precautions.

When a spill occurs:

Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don’t wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary. Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product.

Stain Identification Tips:

Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. Stains can be oil based, organic, metallic, biological, ink based, paint based, or acid based. If you don’t know what caused the stain, consider likely staining agents that may have been present. Here are some questions to consider:

Oil-based- grease, plumbers’ putty, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics

An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with a soft, liquid cleanser with one of the following: household detergent, mineral spirits, or acetone.

Organic- coffee, tea, wine, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings

May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% clear hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.

Biological- algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi

Clean with diluted cleaning solution. Use a 1/2 cup of any of the following: ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide and a gallon of water. Reminder: do not mix bleach and ammonia.

Ink- magic marker, pen, ink

On light colored stones, clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. On dark colored stones, clean with lacquer thinner or acetone.

Fire and smoke damage

Older stones and smoke or fire stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning. When the smoke is removed, there may also be some etching (due to carbonic & other acids in smoke). Commercially available “smoke removers” may save time and effort.

Etch marks 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. Correction of etch marks should best be performed by a professional.

Efflorescence- a white powder that may appear on the surface of the stone

It is caused by the deposition of mineral salts carried by water from below the surface of the stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance. If the installation is new, dust mop or vacuum the powder. You may have to do this several times as the stone dries out. Do not use water to remove the powder; it will only temporarily disappear. If the problem persists, contact your installer to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.

Countertops and Vanities

Use stone cleaner on a regular basis to remove residues from cooking oils and everyday food spills as well as hairspray or other cosmetics. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that may etch or dull the stone surface. Also, some common toiletries (e.g., perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash) contain acids and other ingredients that may damage the stone surface or degrade sealer.

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