How do you tell if you have a stain or surface damage on your natural stone surfaces? Generally, if a discoloration is darker than the stone, you do indeed have a stain. If however, the discoloration is lighter; you have surface damage and no stain removal technique is going to remove that! If you have surface damage, you need a professional floor restoration company like Silver State Floor Restoration to rehone and polish your stone to remove the damaged layer. Again, if you have determined that the discoloration is darker than the surrounding stone, you have a stain. The best method for spot treating stains in between visits from Silver State Floor Restoration is the poulticing method outlined below. But first, it really helps to know exactly what type of stain you are dealing with so that you can best treat it.
Types of Stains
There are five major classifications of stains:
– Organic stains (i.e. tea, coffee, coloring agents of dark sodas and other drinks, mustard, gravy etc.)
– Inorganic stains (i.e. ink, color dies, dirt (this could even be caused by something as simple as water spilling over from a plant pot etc.)
– Oily stains (i.e. any type of vegetable oil, certain mineral oils—motor oil, margarine, butter, melted animal fat etc.)
– Biological stains (i.e. blood, vomit, mildew, mold etc.)
– Metal stains (i.e. rust, copper etc.)
Poultice Definition and Method
So what exactly is a poultice? It is the combination of a very absorbent medium (it must be more absorbent than the stone) mixed with a chemical; which is to be selected depending on the type of stain to be removed. The concept of the poulticing method is to re-absorb the stain out of the stone. The idea is that the chemical will attack the stain inside the stone, and the absorbent agent will pull them both out together.
Best Chemical for Stain Removal
As stated earlier, the chemical must be chosen in accordance with the nature of the staining agent. The chemical of choice for both organic and inorganic stains is hydrogen peroxide (the clear type with 30/40 volumes that you can purchase from your local beauty salon). The hydrogen peroxide you can purchase at the supermarket is only 3.5 volumes and therefore too weak to be an effective poultice. Sometimes, in the case of ink stains, denatured alcohol (or rubbing alcohol) may turn out to be more effective. For oily stains, acetone is a good choice, which you can purchase at any hardware or paint store. Some people make the mistake of trying to use nail polish remover. Some nail polish removers contain other chemicals as well and some do not contain even a trace of acetone! For biological stains, you can try using regular household bleach or a mildew stain remover that is designated safe for stone. For metal and rust stains, our favorite chemical is a white powder to be dissolved in water called Iron-out™, which can be found in any hardware store and a product called RSR-2000 made by Alpha Tools that can be purchased online.
In order of preference, the absorbent agent can be any of the following: talcum powder (baby powder), paper towel or diatomaceous earth (the white stuff inside your swimming pool filter) for larger projects. You can use the same absorbent agent for any type of stain but the chemical you use with it will be different depending on the stain as the chemical will have to interact with it.
Natural Stone Care in Aliante, Desert Shores, Centennial, Eldorado, Enterprise, Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Lone Mountain Village, North LV, Peccole Ranch, Paradise, Silverado Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, Sunrise Manor, Tuscany Village, Whitney, Winchester & Las Vegas Nevada
No one wants unsightly stains but if you are not a do it yourself kind of person and just the thought of determining what type of stain you have and what chemical and absorbent agent you should use to try to clean it is too intimidating, call Silver State Floor Restoration. Our cleaning and restoration experts know how best to care for all of your stone and tile surfaces and can get them back to looking like new again!