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Types Of Stain That Affect Natural Stones
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A natural stone is categorized into three basic classifications with respect to their formation processes: Sedimentary, Metamorphic and Igneous. Additionally, the stones in each category can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.

The beauty of a natural stone is susceptible to get affected by various stains. However, there are numerous stone care products available for the maintenance and care of natural stones. Following are the types of stains that you may have to deal with and the appropriate household chemicals that can be used to remove the stain:

  • Oil-based: These include grease, tar, plumbers’ putty, milk, cooking oil, cosmetics etc. An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so that the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Gently clean with a soft, liquid cleanser with one of the following: mineral spirits, household detergent, or acetone.

  • Metal: These include iron, copper, rust, bronze etc. Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object such as bolts, nails, cans, screws, flower pots, metal furniture. Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items. Metal stains must be removed with a poultice.

  • Organic: These include coffee, wine, tea, fruit, paper, tobacco, leaves, bark etc. These may cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed.

  • Biological: These stains are from algae, lichens, mildew, moss and fungi. You can clean these stains with diluted cleaning solution. Use a ½ cup of the following: ammonia, bleach or hydrogen peroxide and a gallon of water.

  • Paint: Small amounts of paint stains can be removed with lacquer thinner or scrapped off carefully using a razor blade. Heavy paint should be removed only with a commercial “heavy liquid” paint stripper which is available at hardware stores and paint centers. These strippers usually contain caustic soda. Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. Paint strippers, however, can etch the surface of the stone and thus, repolishing may be necessary.

  • Ink: On light colored stones, clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. On dark colored stones, clean with lacquer thinner or acetone.

  • Fire and Smoke Damage: Older stones and smoke or fire-stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning. When the smoke is removed, there may also be some etching due to carbonic and other acids in smoke.

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