Rust stains can form on just about any type of surface, and they’re likely to occur on natural-stone tiles and slabs because of their chemical composition and molecular structure. For example, whenever you see rust-like coloring and veining on light slate or marble, there’s a strong chance iron deposits are present within the stone, and they’re just waiting to go through the chemical process of oxidization again. Homeowners whose floors, countertops, and surrounds are made of natural stone have more than just water stains to be concerned about. If the stone has a high concentration of iron deposits, rust stains could start from the inside. Here’s what you can do to prevent and remove rust stains on natural stone.
Preventing Rust Stains
The best way to approach rust stains on natural stone is to make every effort to avoid them in the first place, which means not exposing surfaces to water. In the case of bathroom and kitchen counters, this is virtually impossible, particularly around faucets, and for this reason the best preventative measure is to frequently apply granite sealer. By keeping natural-stone tiles and slabs properly sealed, you’ll only have to worry about surface rust, which is easy to remove if it develops.
What You Should Never Use to Handle Rust Stains
All the recommendations against using common household cleaners and acidic substances on natural stone still stand when dealing with rust stains. You may be tempted to use lemon juice or vinegar just as you would on solid surface or ceramic materials, but this is bound to make things worse, and the same goes for using steel wool or metallic scrubbing pads. Abrasive materials and acidic substances should always be kept away from natural stone.
Removing Surface Rust
As long as your natural-stone surfaces have a fresh seal, rust that forms is likely only superficial buildup rather than actual staining, and you should be able to remove it with granite cleaner and a soft nylon brush or a gentle scrubbing pad. A strong seal won’t allow oxidized liquids to seep through the stone’s pores, thus letting you take care of surface stains rather easily. To be on the safe side, make sure to apply a fresh coat of sealant after removing rust and any other kind of surface stains.
Dealing with Stubborn Rust Stains
There may come a time when the rust stains on your natural-stone surfaces won’t come off after scrubbing. If the stains look like they’re floating just beneath the surface, you’ll likely need to have a professional remove them. However, first you can try the following method. Spray or pour 3 or 4 percent hydrogen peroxide on the stained area, then agitate it with a stone-safe granite cleaning pad or nylon brush. Allow this to sit for 24 hours, then rinse it with water. If the stain remains, it may be time to call in the professionals for repairs.
To learn more about preventing and removing various types of stains on natural-stone surfaces, reach out to Granite Gold® today. All of our products are safe to use on all types of natural stone, including granite, marble, limestone, and slate. Give us a call at 1-800-475-STONE (7866), and sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly tips.