When you visit Rome and other historic cities where many ancient marble monuments and sculptures can be appreciated, their magnificent appearance has a lot to do with the restoration work performed by archaeologists. Some of the most stubborn stains on marble sculptures are caused by contact with objects containing iron. Curators are able to remove these rust spots by means of a Laponite poultice, and a similar method can be used to remove stains caused by oily or greasy substances.
Removal of oily stains from natural stone is something ancient sculptors had to deal with because Statuario marble, the preferred stone for many sculptors, tends to absorb the biological oil secreted by human skin, thus resulting in yellow staining. If you have natural stone in your home, here’s what you need to know about how to clean granite and natural stone floor, and most specifically how to remove oil stains from your stone tiles and slabs.
What Makes Oil-Based Stains So Stubborn
All types of natural stone are porous, and some feature greater porosity compared to others. For example, granite isn’t as porous as marble, but sculptors tend to prefer the latter stone because it’s easier to work with. Virtually all stones have metamorphic properties, which makes them susceptible to chemical reactions that can change surface appearance. The staining you see on stone flooring is part of a process of absorption through the pores followed by molecular binding with the substance.
Want to know how to clean flooring made of granite or other natural stone? Watch this quick video:
Substances that Can Cause Oily Stains on Natural Stone
Aside from cooking oil, dairy products can also leave a dark stain that may not go away after wiping down the surface. Lipstick, foundation cream, and other cosmetics may also leave stains, and the same goes for candles, wax, and wood staining treatments. Crayons, paint, and other coloring agents for arts and crafts should be kept away from stone tiles and countertops.
Removing Oil Stains
If you’re there at the moment the spill happens, you can absorb it with paper towels or a sponge. Once the substance is absorbed, you can wipe down the surface with a specially formulated granite stone and tile floor cleaner. If a stain forms despite your best efforts, gather some baking soda and acetone to mix into a paste. You should use enough of the powder to cover the stain, then add a few drops of acetone and start mixing until you have a poultice that resembles pancake batter. Cover the entire stain with this mixture and leave it in place for 24 hours before rinsing it off with water.
Preventing Oil Stains with Proper Sealing
Oil spills that can be absorbed without staining indicate the tiles or slabs are protected by a strong seal. When you see oil stains form despite quick action, this will let you know the seal has weakened and it’s time to apply a fresh coat of sealer, which should be done right after the stain is removed.
If you have any additional questions about caring for flooring made of granite, marble, slate, or another type of natural stone, reach out to the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold®. Call us at 1-800-475-STONE (7866), and find our products at a store near you by using our Store Locator.
Lenny Sciarrino (aka Lenny S) and Lenny Pellegrino (aka Lenny P) grew up in the family business and are co-founders of Granite Gold®.