How to Remove Stains From a Stone Countertop

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Hard as they are, granite and marble are porous stones that can easily soak up oils and liquids. Spills that aren't quickly cleaned leave unsightly stains on an otherwise beautiful surface. Applying a simple poultice--a cloth dampened with an absorbing compound--will lift a stain without damaging the stone.

Things You'll Need

  • Ammonia
  • Clean Rags
  • Masking Tape
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Acetone
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plain White Paper Towels
  • Hydrogen peroxide, professional strength
  • To create a poultice, fold or stack plain white paper towels to make a thick pad of eight layers. It should be slightly wider than the stain.

  • Wear rubber gloves and make sure there's good ventilation in the kitchen.

  • To remove oil-based stains such as those from salad dressing, cream, peanut butter or hand lotion, first clean the area well with ammonia and a clean rag. Soak the paper-towel pad thoroughly with acetone. Oil stains are usually rounded in shape, have darker centers and penetrate more deeply.

  • To remove organic stains such as those from wine, ink, tobacco, coffee, paper or flowers, soak the paper-towel pad with hydrogen peroxide. These stains tend to be irregularly shaped, often following the form of the object causing the discoloring.

  • Cover the stain with the soaked pad. Tap out bubbles and press firmly to ensure full contact with the stone's surface.

  • Cover the pad with a piece of plastic wrap and tape its edges to the counter with masking tape.

  • Leave the treated surface undisturbed for 2 to 48 hours, depending on the age and depth of the stain.

  • Remove the plastic wrap carefully and leave the paper towel until it dries completely.

  • Discard the paper-towel pad. Wipe down the area with a clean, damp rag.

  • Repeat with a newly soaked pad if needed. The stain may require three to four applications to lift completely.

  • If the stain resists several applications of the poultice, contact a local business that specializes in fabricating or cleaning stone countertops to get advice on the type of stone in your counter.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can purchase acetone at hardware stores.
  • Obtain clear, professional-strength hydrogen peroxide (20 to 30 percent volume) from a beauty supply store. The form available at drugstores (3.5 percent) isn't strong enough.
  • Clean up any spills immediately. Acidic foods, such as fruit juices, will etch the stone's surface and require repolishing.
  • If you're in doubt about the material in your countertops, test your cleaning solution on an extra piece or in an inconspicuous area.

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