Bathhouse ruins in places such as Caracalla, Bath, and Wiesbaden are certainly magnificent, but they would look even better these days had ancient builders been able to develop a sealant formula. Marble and travertine, the most commonly found materials in ancient bathhouses, happen to be very porous and absorbent, which means they’re susceptible to water stains.
Water spots forming on natural-stone tiles or countertops indicates the seal is wearing out and dissipating. However, this isn’t a reason to panic. As long as you remove the spots in a timely manner to prevent etching, your stone surfaces can be restored to their previous appearance. Here are a few steps you should follow to remove water stains.
Choose the Right Cleaning Product
The first step is to avoid using common household cleaners. Products typically found on supermarket shelves tend to have a high pH level. The high acidity and alkaline content makes them ideal for removing stains on a variety of applications, but they can also damage natural-stone surfaces by stripping away the seal and causing unwanted chemical reactions. Natural-stone cleaners come in shower and all-purpose cleaning versions such as Granite Gold Shower Cleaner® and Granite Gold All-Surface Cleaner®.
Use the Right Scrubbing Pad
If the stains have been caused by hard water rich in minerals, you may have to do some scrubbing. Bathroom brushes and steel wool pads are too harsh to use on natural stone, particularly marble and sandstone. You’ll need something gentle to scrub with, such as a soft nylon brush or a safe-on-stone granite cleaning pad.
Remove the Water Deposits
The stains you see on your stone surfaces are minerals such as calcium and magnesium that have accumulated over time. First, use a new single-edge razor blade to gently scrape the surface of the stone. Next, soak the water spot with granite cleaner and start scrubbing away with your stone-safe pad or soft nylon brush. The edges of the spot should come off after a couple of minutes. If you run into stubborn mineral deposits, wipe down the entire surface with Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®, then let it sit for one minute and scrape it off with a straight razor blade. To prevent limescale and calcium buildup in the future, use Granite Gold Polish® on a weekly basis.
Prevent Future Water Stains
After the stains are gone and the surface is clean, the final step should include an application of granite sealer as well as adopting a strategy to prevent water stains. Shower walls, tub surrounds, and bathroom countertops should be kept dry, and sealant should be applied regularly. Applying natural-stone polish can also help, but never on a shower floor because it will become slippery and dangerous.
If you’d like additional tips on caring for granite, marble, travertine, and other types of natural stone, reach out to the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold® today. Call 1-800-475-STONE (7866) to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives.