How to Remove Stains from Bathroom Countertops Made of Natural Stone
Installing marble, granite, quartzite, or other natural stone countertops in your bathroom is a great way to elevate the luxury and sophistication of your interior design. This versatile and durable addition can also serve to increase your property value, delivering an incredible return on investment.
Of course, you have to perform regular upkeep to make sure that your natural stone countertops look just as good in five or ten years as they do on the day they’re installed. In addition to frequent cleaning and regular maintenance like resealing stone surfaces, you’ll want to address any stains that may result from toiletries, soaps and makeup scattered on the bathroom countertop.
How can you remove stains from bathroom countertops in a safe and effective way to preserve their beauty and value? Here are a few guidelines to follow.
Cleaning Tip #1: Avoid Harsh Cleansers
It can be tempting to reach for the bleach when you discover that spilled makeup or nail polish has created a hard-to-clean stain on your pristine Bianco Carrara marble or your Wisconsin White granite. However, this could do more harm than good. Harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia might treat stains, but they can still result in discoloration of the stone or harm surrounding sealed areas by etching into the protective sealant.
Acids and harsh or abrasive solvents should never be used on a natural stone countertop to clean or address staining. Even natural cleansers like vinegar and lemon juice should be avoided, as they can dull shine and damage the glassy finish you love. Preserving the integrity of your countertops requires the right tools, and harsh cleansers are more likely to exacerbate the problem.
Cleaning Tip #2: Address Stains ASAP
Although your natural stone countertops are sealed to prevent damage from stains, sealant will succumb to wear and tear over time, resulting in the deterioration of the finish. This is why we recommend regularly sealing your countertops. How often you reseal your countertops will depend on a number of factors, including the type and color of your stone, the quality of the sealant, and how much use and abuse the area suffers.
However, it is possible that as sealant begins to wear, staining could occur. Unfortunately, stone is porous, which means that stains that reach the surface of the stone will likely be absorbed. One of the best things you can do to prevent further harm is to treat stains immediately.
Start with regular cleaning, using a mixture of gentle dish soap and warm water to see if you can wipe away the stain. Make sure to rinse the area with clean water and wipe with a microfiber cloth to prevent filmy residue and water spots.
You can also turn to a natural stone cleanser designed specifically for use on marble and granite to reduce the number of steps to clean the surface. If your sealant is still intact, this should be enough to remove a surface stain. If not, the next step is to apply a poultice.
Cleaning Tip #3: Pulling Out Stains with a Poultice
You can purchase ready-made, commercial stone poultice for the purpose of stain removal, but it’s also easy to make your own using common household ingredients. A mixture of baking soda and water is ideal for oil-based stains, like cooking grease, while baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are preferred for water-based stains. You’ll want to add liquid to the baking soda until it forms a thick paste. If it’s runny or spreads on a surface, it’s too thin and more baking soda should be added.
Once your poultice is ready, apply it liberally to the stained area. Next, cover it with plastic cling wrap and tape down the edges, ideally with painter’s tape or masking tape to avoid leaving a sticky residue behind when the tape is removed. Leave the poultice in place for 24 hours before removing the plastic wrap and allowing the poultice to dry.
Once dry, you can remove the poultice, either scraping it carefully with a plastic putty knife or simply rinsing the area with water and wiping away any leftover traces with a microfiber cloth. If you apply a poultice soon after staining, one pass may be enough to completely lift the stain. If you find that some staining remains, you can repeat the poultice application process. You may want to leave the poultice in place for a few days for particularly stubborn stains.
Cleaning Tip #4: Polishing and Sealing
To be honest, this isn’t a step the average homeowner may feel comfortable taking, and in most cases, we recommend leaving this to the professionals. With a high-quality sealant, natural stone countertops become almost impervious to damage from stains. At Academy Marble, after every countertop project is complete, we seal the countertops after installation so you can enjoy them for years to come. When stains occur, it’s a sign that it’s time to reseal your countertops. We recommend calling a professional to perform this essential maintenance on the entire countertop surface.
We’re here to help
Choosing the right countertops for your kitchen or bath can be overwhelming without the right assistance. Academy Marble & Granite’s team is ready to help. Visit one of our locations, or contact us today to set up a consultation.