Marble countertops, coffee tables, and other stone furniture truly bring an elegant and aesthetic vibe to homes. However, we can’t deny that unwanted stains can ruin the vibe in a snap. Marble and stone pieces are durable but are also susceptible to scratches and stains.
They easily absorb liquids that cause stains and might damage the furniture pieces. Therefore, it is essential to know the best method that you can do to clean and sustain the elegance of your marble and stone furniture pieces.
What is Poulticing Method?
One of the common and best methods perfect for the stain problem you got is the poulticing method. The concept of poulticing is re-absorbing the stain out of the stone using a mixture of poultices. A poultice is a combined mixture of a very absorbent medium (more absorbent than the stone) mixed with another chemical. A chemical that will vary depending on the type of stain to be removed.
The method uses the right chemical to attack the stain inside the stone, while the absorbent pulls both of them out together. It is essential to note that you can use similar absorbents to various stains, but the chemical you should mix with should vary on the staining agent.
You can use the following to be the absorbent on the poultice mixture:
- Talcum powder (baby powder)
- diatomaceous earth
You can find ready-made poultice mixtures at a local tile and marble retailer, but there is a downside when buying a “professional poulticing kit.” Aside from being quite expensive, most of these kits are designed to remove only the type of stain removable by the chemical agent used to make it. Moreover, you can just make your own poulticing kit with the chemicals that can even be found in your household.
Types of Stains and Types of Chemicals to Use
Before knowing which chemicals to use for the stains, it’s intuitive to know what type of stain you got on your marble countertop because it might cause more damage to your marble if you use the wrong chemical. Here are the four major classifications of stains that you should note before making a poultice mixture:
1. Organic and Inorganic Stains
These are stains that are usually from:
- Spills from coffee, tea, dark sodas, juice, and other drinks
- Ink spills, color dies
- Spills from gravy, mustard
- Water spills from plant pots
In removing an organic or inorganic stain on your marble countertop, the best chemical option for both is hydrogen peroxide of 30 or 40 volumes at 11% to 14%. You can usually find this clear-type hydrogen peroxide at your local beauty salon. Avoid using the one you can find at the drugstore because it’s not that strong to remove the stain.
If you can’t find hydrogen peroxide, you can also use regular household bleach as an alternative chemical to mix with the absorbent. And in terms of ink and color dye stains, rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol is effective enough to remove them.
However, keep in mind that these chemicals might have a significant effect on polished stones. Therefore, there might be a need to re-polishing the stone after the stain removal.
2. Oily Stains
Based on its name, oily stains are formed from spills of:
- Melted animal fats
- Certain mineral oils
- Motor oil
- Butter/ margarine
Oily stains are most common on kitchen counters and tables, which can be annoying. Fortunately, you can remove these oily stains by using acetone as the chemical to mix with the absorbent for poulticing. You can usually buy acetone at your local hardware or paint store.
If you’re thinking of using nail polish remover, please don’t, because some of them do not actually contain acetone, while some include other chemicals that might even damage your stone furniture.
Moreover, using dish soap to mix with the absorbent to remove oily stains is another myth that you shouldn’t fall for. Yes, you can remove oily surface grease with dish soap, but it is not a suitable chemical to be part of a poultice mixture. In addition, some dish soap also contains fatty content and dye, which could also create a stain.
3. Biological Stains
When dealing with biological stains, you can try using household bleach. However, using bleach might have a significant effect on sensitive marbles. So, a better option is to use a natural stone specialty mildew stain remover. Most of these stain remover products are specifically designed to remove biological stains, which means that they contain the right and complete chemicals you need.
4. Metal Stains
As for metal stains, you can melt a white powder in the water to get rid of rust or other stains from metals. You can find it at fine hardware stores under the trade name of Iron Out.
How to Prepare a Poultice and Use It to Remove Stains
Once you’ve gathered and bought all the chemicals that you need, it’s time to make a poultice to finally get rid of the stains. Be sure to follow the steps and use masks and rubber gloves for handling the chemicals safely.
Using Talcum Powder (Baby Powder)
Step 1: Get a glass or metal bowl and a metal spoon or spatula
Step 2: Pour the chemicals into the glass or metal bowl. Keep in mind not to use plastic bowls.
Step 3: Mix the chemicals using the metal spoon to form a paste just a tad thinner than peanut butter.
Step 4: Once you have your poultice mixture, you can now apply the poultice to the stain. You can go by approximately applying one-half inch over it all around. In terms of thickness, you have to keep it to at least one-fourth.
Step 5: Then, after applying it to the stain, cover the poultice with plastic wrap. You can tape it down with masking tape.
Step 6: Leave the covered poultice for twenty-four hours before you remove the wrap.
Step 7: Let the poultice dry for one day or more. It will vary depending on the compound that you used.
Step 8: Check if the poultice has dried completely. Once it’s dried enough, using a plastic spatula, you can now scrape it off the surface of the stone. Then, you can spray the area with water or natural stone spray cleaner to clean the area. After which, you can dry it using a paper towel or rag.Using Iron-Out™ to Remove Metal Stains
If you’re removing a metal (rust) stain use the white powder. You can first melt the Iron-Out™; with the right amount of water. Check for the instruction on the product label for accurate measurements.
Then, you can now add talcum powder in an equal amount. You can add more water if it appears to be too thick or increase the amount of talcum powder if the opposite. After mixing the chemicals, you can follow the above steps from 4 to 8 to apply the poultice and remove the stain.
Using Paper Towels
In using paper towels, you can fold them eight to ten times, just a bit wider than the stain. Then, you have to soak the folded paper towels with the absorbent chemical just wet enough and not dripping.
After that, you can now apply it to the stain making sure that it’s touching the surface of the stone. Then you can follow steps 4 to 8 above.