How to Clean & Remove Permanent Marker From Marble

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Marble surfaces, whether they're countertops, tabletops or floors, are beautiful as well as hardwearing enough to last a lifetime. The only major downside to marble is that it's porous and therefore susceptible to staining and etching. Fortunately, most stains, including permanent marker stains, can be successfully removed from marble using common household products. To remove permanent marker from marble, start with the gentlest of several possible DIY techniques and move on to more aggressive options only when necessary.

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Products to Remove Permanent Marker From Marble

There are several common household products that can effectively remove permanent marker from marble surfaces. Rubbing alcohol is safe to use on all types of marble. For light-colored marble, experts recommend using bleach or hydrogen peroxide to remove permanent ink stains. For dark-colored marble, try lacquer thinner or acetone. Wear protective gloves when working with these chemicals.

Any soft, nonabrasive cleaning tools you have on hand will work for applying cleaning products to a marble stain. Options include cotton balls, soft rags and nonabrasive scrubbers, brushes and sponges. Have a dry towel or cloth on hand to dry the surface immediately after removing the permanent marker from marble, as marble should not be left wet.

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Basic Techniques for Removing Marker From Marble

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The easiest, most basic DIY technique for lifting permanent marker from marble is to apply your chosen product directly to the stain. Start with the gentlest option, which is to apply some of the product to a cloth, sponge or cotton ball, wipe the stain and repeat if needed. This is often sufficient to remove the marker stain completely.

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A slightly more aggressive option is to pour or spray enough of the cleaning product directly onto the permanent marker stain to cover it completely, let it sit for a minute or two and then wipe away the product with a cloth or sponge. If this doesn't lift the stain, do the same thing but scrub the product into the stain with a nonabrasive scrubber or brush. When the stain is gone, wipe away any excess product with plain water and then thoroughly dry the marble surface with a towel.

Poultice Technique for Removing Permanent Marker

If a permanent marker stain is still visible after trying the basic techniques, try the more aggressive technique of applying a poultice to the stain. With this technique, there is a small risk of etching the marble – causing small scratches or pockmarks to appear on its surface. Etching is fairly easy to fix, but risk-averse homeowners might prefer to hire a professional marble finisher.

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Mix a thick paste of bleach or hydrogen peroxide with baking soda for light-colored marble, or for dark-colored marble, use lacquer thinner or acetone with talcum powder. Spread a layer of the paste over the stain, covering it completely, and cover the paste with plastic – use plastic wrap or a plastic grocery bag. Tape down the edges to seal the poultice inside. Let the poultice sit on the stain for 24 to 48 hours, remove the plastic and wait until the paste has dried before wiping it away. Repeat if necessary and when the stain is gone, clean the marble with plain water and then buff it dry with a soft cloth or towel.

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Marble Stain Removal Tips

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  • Tackle permanent marker stains as well as any other types of stains on marble as quickly as possible. The longer the stain remains on the marble, the more difficult it will be to remove.

  • Help marble surfaces resist staining by applying a sealant every few months.

  • Do not use acidic cleaning products, such as vinegar or lemon juice, on marble. They will cause etching.

  • If etching occurs on marble surfaces, purchase a marble polishing powder or etching removal product and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

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