How To Clean & Remove Stains From Marble & Granite

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Marble and granite counter tops are gorgeous but they are porous and will soak in liquids that can leave stains (even sitting water!). Here are some poultice recipes & diy solutions that can help tackle them, I’ve also tucked in a recipe you can use for everyday cleaning.

WipingMany types of liquids and sauces can leave their mark including fruit juices, wine, coffee, tea, water, vinegar, vegetable and olive oils, ketchup, bbq sauce, grease splatters–etc., it’s important to wipe up spills as they happen.

Baking Soda Poultice:

  • First blot the spot to lift as much of the substance as possible.
  • Next, spray it with water.
  • Now slather it completely with a paste made from baking soda and water (to the consistency of sour cream). Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Leave covered for at least 24 hours, the baking soda will dry and pull up much of the stain.
  • After 24 hours, remove the poultice and wash area with mild soap and water. Apply a fresh poultice if needed.

Flour & Liquid Soap Poultice:

1 cup unbleached flour
3 TBS liquid dishwashing detergent (no bleach, use a gentle soap like Ivory or Dawn)
Water

  • Mix the flour and soap together then add water until you have the consistency of sour cream.
  • Cover the spot with the poultice so it’s about 1/4″ inch thick and overlaps it by about 1/4″.
  • Cover with plastic wrap for 24 hours.
  • Wash off poultice and surrounding area with soap and water. If spot is still there, reapply poultice.

Rubbing Alcohol Spray:

  • Pour 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol into a 16 oz. spray bottle. Add a couple drops of liquid dish detergent then fill the bottle with water. Shake before use. Spray area then wash.

Hydrogen Peroxide Pad:

*Careful with this on dark colored stone, it “may” lighten the color a bit. Test a small area first.

  • Fold a wad of cotton gauze to approximately the size of the troublesome spot, saturate it with hydrogen peroxide and squeeze out excess (you want the wad to be wet but not dripping wet).
  • Apply the pad to the problem area then cover it with plastic wrap, tape around all edges of the plastic to seal the wad. Put a saucer or some object on top of the pad to add some weight/pressure to the area.
  • Leave this on for 24 hours, check then reapply as needed.

Corn Starch Remedy:

  • Spray spot lightly with distilled water then sprinkle a thick layer of corn starch over the area. Leave for 24 hours or longer. Wipe up then reapply if needed.
  • For grease splatters, sprinkle area immediately with corn starch and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Wash surface with mild soap and water, the corn starch should lift the grease effortlessly.

Tips:

  • Remember to cover your countertops regularly with a sealant to prevent problems from happening in the first place.
  • The quicker you wipe up and blot spills the easier it is to prevent or remove stains.
  • Before applying a method of treatment, do a test spot first to make sure the color or finish won’t be affected. These should be safe to use but better safe than sorry.
  • Before applying a treatment, examine the stain closely. If the mark is still there but is lighter or reduced, you know the treatment is working. Keep applying until it’s completely gone.

Here’s a recipe for an earth-friendly “green” cleaner suitable for many household surfaces (First published February 16, 2009 and moved here for better organization)…

2 cups water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp pure castile soap (peppermint, etc.)
3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender or lemongrass essential oil.

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients in a 32-ounce plastic spray bottle.

Can be used on surfaces of acrylic, ceramic tile, wood, marble and granite.

Source: Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life

Update: A few comments were lost when I merged the two articles, I went digging through my old backups and found one in particular that I wanted to keep:

GraniteGuy: I’m in the stone industry. There are unfortunately many misconceptions about what can and can’t be used on stone surfaces. This mis-education is usually started by competing products of stone surfaces, and is often propagated unto a broader audiences by DIY programs and blogs like this one.

The only (and I mean ONLY) stones that might be sensitive to acids like vinegar or citrus would be calcium-based stones (limestone, travertine, and many marbles).

For kitchen countertops, granite is the surface leader by a long shot over other types of stone. Few granites contain much (if any) calcium and are NOT affected by vinegar or any normal household acids. For those who are still unsure, they can always test any “alternative” cleaners (or even straight vinegar) in an inconspicuous location before using it everywhere.

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Published: September 14, 2009
Updated: August 18, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
49 Comments to “How To Clean & Remove Stains From Marble & Granite”
  1. Karen says:

    I have a Moen Stone sink that I cannot bet clean. I was wondering if there is anything I can paint it with if I do get the stains out with the soda and water process that will make it easier to clean after it is clean.

    I took very good care of it but it still will not get clean or stay clean. I will try the soda and water though and am hopeful that will clean it.

  2. Charlie says:

    My wife spilled WISK laundry detergent on the granite countertop. What is the best way to remove that stain?

  3. Kari says:

    I have a purple ring stain from the top of a colored nail polish remover bottle. the marble is while with a little pink. I have tried colorless acetone, peroxide and bleach at different times but no luck. any ideas?

  4. Ruth Cornish says:

    We brought bar with marble top had no idea to seal . Entertained and now rings from shot glasses which had vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice. Not knowing what to do I wiped with water and then cleaned with winded. Help

  5. Ruth Cornish says:

    Sorry cleaned it with windex

    • Vera says:

      Ruth, I must have the same bar. Water stains. Did you find a remedy? My bar counter is black marble with some swirls

    • Jane says:

      I have put a folded paper towel soaked with fantastic and put press and seal over it. I left it overnight, and the pink stain from a hot pink piece of paper wicked into the paper towel. I then left it open to dry.
      Hope this helps!

  6. BEMAINEIAC says:

    Using ammonia on granite is the worst thing you can do…make sure that Windex is not ammonia based.

  7. Kim says:

    I left a splatter of asian hot sauce on my white marble counter top overnight…any chance of lifting the stain with any of the afore mentioned methods after sitting so long???

    • jimmy waddington says:

      I bought a beautiful handmade unique marble topped coffee table from a local auction, the down fall was there were deep stains from cups etc. on it, I tried several attempts with remedies from the internet to no success, so I tried several removers including peroxide, and then I remembered a aerosol my late wife had in the back of the cupboard it’s a graffiti remover K14 made by SELDEN.I sprayed it on direct and after 15 minutes rubbed it off? 80% had been lifted a further application to the more stubborn mark resulted in a fantastic result. I wish I had do this early weeks ago it would have saved hours of mixing concoctions pasting it on coverage with cling film, try it my results were great. Take care jimmy..

  8. sky says:

    I thought using vinegar on granite was a big no-no! The acidity eats away at the stone. :(

    • Tania says:

      Hi My husband is a stonemason and vinegar is fine on granite as it is quartz based but not on marble as marble is basically a limestone that is in the hardest state of lime but is very porous. If you feel you need to use an acid to clean marble CAREFULLY try a little lemon juice.

  9. Michelle says:

    Yes I am also wondering about the vinegar??

  10. Becky says:

    Vinegar on granite weakens the seams over time. It is acid, and should not be used on stone. But there are TONS of cleaners out there that say they are for stone/granite and have vinegar or other acids in them, claiming to be “green”. There is a nice profit margin in fancy-ing up vinegar and claiming it can clean just about anything. Vinegar is an amazing cleaner but VERY bad for stone.

  11. Shweta says:

    The stone used for flooring had a very thin trasparent polythene type cover on it. I had to get the entire floor rubbed and polished to get that film removed as it was too hard to get it out manually. However the skirting still has that film and gets very dirty. Anyone knows what can be used to remove that film from the stone once and for all.

  12. Jenn says:

    My daughter was eating a kiwi at our new marble coffee table. Kiwi juice left spots and a ring from the bowl. You only notice it when the light is reflecting off it and it’s really rough in those spots. As if the juice ate through the polish. We just bought a sealant but noticed these marks before we got to use it. Can this be removed? If so, what’s the best method?

  13. mimsy says:

    Very interested in the comments about stain removal on marble/granite BUT does anyone have any ideas on how to remove urine/spraying of cats on brick which is also very porous. Have it in the family room and it has stained the brick.

  14. angela says:

    new to granite just installed, sprayed granite cleaner then sealer now i have water looking spots
    feels kinda ruff. can that be fixed

  15. Shannon says:

    my daughter spilled homemade lemonade on my marble floor, and it took off the shine. My cleaning lady did something that removed the shine from my marble counter in the laundry room, what do I do to bring back the shine?

  16. Shafi says:

    You can’t do anything. Restoration every 3 month only, plus to wash murble with special murble liquid daily, good hoovering required to do so , plus good mop spanga with plenty water and dry off immediately. Murble only for people who can afford only, specially white murble floor

  17. Ollie says:

    I have marble on my vanity in the bathroom. I have tried marble cleaner and paste to restore the shine. Nothing helps. My area has very hard water. Is there anything I can used to get the sheen back?

  18. SANDRA says:

    you can’t do anything, only polishing can fix those stains, and one should be very carefull when using items containing acidity.

  19. Alice Pasqualetti says:

    Cry! Cry! I have a white marble cat statue on a black marble base. My cats apparently interpreted it as competition and urinated on the black base. Now white stains on black base; will not wash off. Which formula is best to use to handle the stains? Thanks, thanks.

  20. Linda says:

    We have marble walls around out bath tubs. We have had sliding glass doors on them but wanted to take them down and just use shower rods. Where the metal was placed against the marble,and attached with scres. This side panel has left and not sure what to use to remove this stain. It was not glued into place so maybe some of the gold from the metal was absorbed by the marble. Can you help?

  21. Olivia Campbell says:

    we have white marble floor and spilled carpet cleaner on removing shine in small spot what can we do

  22. michael says:

    help…red wine spatters on lovely marble fireplace…(not mine)… any quick solutions welcome!

  23. Julie says:

    I baked muffins, and left them on our marble pub table to cool for a few hours, and they left grease stains on the table. (Not sure why, I’ve made the same muffins before and left them on the table, no problem at all.) Any tips to get the stains out?? Regular soap and scrubbing isn’t doing anything…

  24. Kevin says:

    My wife left banana’s on the granite counter top,tried my cleaner didn’t work (left a stain) what to do??????

    • new granite owner says:

      Did you ever find out out to remove the banana stain. I just did the same thing and it had been there for around four days i am sick about it. 3000 top had it two weeks now.

  25. Kris says:

    Hi,

    Last night I got a ring of bleach and a few other noticeable bleach stains on my absolute black granite countertop. It already discolored the counter leaving a light grey color. Is there anyway I can restore the color without getting the who thing replaced?

    Thanks

  26. MYRA says:

    I CLEANED MY ELECTRIC TEAPOT WITH A SOLUTION OH LEMON JUICE AND WATER TO GET RID OF THE CALCIUM BUILD-UP. UNFORTUNATELY WHEN THE TEAPOT OVER BOILED, THE SOLUTION MADE A WHITE MARK ON MY GRANITE COUNTER. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

  27. Dean says:

    Sugar soap for red wine on stone- 100%
    Spray on to stain, leave for 3 minutes and wipe!!

  28. Sandy says:

    I know we are talking about stains but I have cultured marble in my shower and very hard water in this area. All the remedies you are referring to are the same ones I have seen before. However, what can I use on cultured marble to remove hard water? Someone please help. Was new house 12yrs ago, so we are NOT dealing with what to do BEFORE there is any build-up. HELP!!!!!

    Thanks

  29. Lisa Huron says:

    I have a soaked in stain of super glue on my granite counter top. How do get it out? The glue isn’t standing up for me to use a razor blade on it. It’s stained in the granite now. THANKS AND help !!

  30. pp says:

    I use vinegar based household cleaners and straight white vinegar to clean ‘furred up’ kettles and coffee makers – a vinegar based household cleaning spray has done wonders for my outdoor marble table too

  31. Janet says:

    One of the reasons I chose this apartment is the beautiful light gray granite countertops. Saturday night a stopper on a red wine bottle faiedl. When I woke up Sunday morning there was red wine all over my light gray granite countertop, leaving huge stains! After freaking out a little bit I checked the web for a possible solution. I used a paste made of baking soda and water, spread it over the huge area that was stained, and covered with plastic wrap. I left it on for about 16 hours. When I cleaned up the dry baking soda, most of the stain was gone!!!. Relief! Maybe I won’t lose my deposit on this apartment! Then this morning when replacing the wine rack, the other bottle of red wine fell and broke. But it fell on my laminate flooring. Cleaning it up immediately left no stains, thank goodness! I’m staying away from bottles with red fluid in them for the rest of the week!

  32. Blanche says:

    I have stone tiles in my kitchen which I put a put a matte sealer & finish on it. Now it is starting to wear off, how can I remove the rest of the finish?

    Thank you

  33. Irene murphy says:

    I have bought a marble occasional table and it has candle wax stains on it
    How can I remove them please

  34. Ed Ebreo says:

    Our lavatory inside our restroom is made from marble. And we position our soap dispenser above the said fixture. The problem was all drippings of soap at the dispenser affects the marble, and resulted to stain. What is the best agent to remove the said stain? Thanks

  35. Kevin O Callaghan says:

    I recently used brick acid on a granite surface to clean sand and cement off it but the brush I used has left a green line, how do I remove this mark?

  36. Kim says:

    I have a black granite counter top that is approx. five years old. The entire counter has a dull film over the surface, no shine whatsoever. How is the best way to restore the shine?

  37. Jamie says:

    I have an antique white marble top table that has brownish orange stains that i think are from my grandfather’s cigarettes. How can i remove the stains?

  38. Harry says:

    After changing the faucets on our sink, we noticed a black ring that came from a rubber O ring on the original faucet. We can’t seem to remove the stain. We would appreciate any help anyone can give us.

  39. pat says:

    I have candle wax marks on my granite fireplace how can I remove.


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