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How To Remove Paint from Natural Stone

For fresh paint spills, there are two main steps: containing the spill and removing the residue. For dried paint spills, first scrape away the drips and then address the residue. The main concerns with natural stone surfaces and paint spills are pigment transfer, oily marks from oil-based paints, and accidentally gouging the surface when scraping away dried residue. Familiarize yourself with the materials in and near the area you wish to clean to avoid damaging the material. Keep clean dry paper towels or soft rags at hand to promptly wipe up stray cleaner that has landed on an incompatible material. Natural stone countertops are best cared for with mild pH neutral products, and may periodically benefit from being re-sealed so that they can continue to resist stains and other substances that may corrode the counter's surface.

Contain large, wet paint spills with clumping cat litter. If you don't have clumping cat litter on hand, shredded paper or flour can also be used to help prevent large spills from spreading. Collect, remove and discard the containment material and paint. \
Make a dilute lightly sudsy solution with water and either borax or powdered detergent. Use a clean sponge to apply the solution and remove the remaining paint residue. If there are stains left behind from oil-based paints, refer to the article on removing oily greasy stains from natural stone surfaces for precise directions on how to apply a cornstarch poultice to draw the oily stain out. Follow the paint removal with a light overall cleaning with a clean soft sponge, free of soap, wet with water. Use a squeegee to wick away extra moisture and avoid over-wetting and pooling that may damage your countertop and encourage build-up. If you are concerned about hard water marks on marble, try substituting distilled water for your tap water

If there is dried paint residue, apply lacquer thinner sparingly with a soft rag. Follow by scraping carefully with a new razor blade, holding it at a 45 degree angle to the surface. It may be helpful to use the corner of the blade in small, rotating motions from the wrist. It is important to use new blades because older blades may have nicks and other inconsistencies that cause unpredictable responses. Remember, the paint is already dry, so working slowly and carefully will result in better results with less risk of accidental injury or damage to the natural stone surface. If there is a large amount of dried paint residue, you may have to use a more aggressive solution, like a liquid paint stripper. If this is the case, use the product according to the manufacturer's directions and remember to remove the stripping product residue as soon as possible. To help avoid having paint stripper sit unnecessarily on the surface, work one small area at a time first applying the paint stripper as necessary, then following by a light overall cleaning with plain water, or a dilute sudsy solution of water and a pH neutral soap like Dove. Spills that require aggressive detergents may result in stripping and the natural stone may need to be resurfaced.In particularly difficult cases, in may be necessary to call in professional assistance. Promptly contain and remove as much of the wet paint as you can, and try to avoid allowing the stain to sit before choosing your removal method. You may be able to camouflage small scratches and inconsistencies yourself with a paint stick that matches the color of your countertop.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area.

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