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Removing Wine Stains From Natural Stone

The materials in natural stone may vary - marble and granite are common choices for the home. This means that the surfaces vary both in their reaction to stains and to methods for stain removal. The solutions here are designed to be as universal as possible, but may contain pointers for different compositions and colors of stone.

Before moving on to the most difficult, soaked in stains, it's worth noting that a well-sealed natural stone countertop is likely to be extremely resistant to wine stains. Although natural stone is itself porous, the sealants are often applied after installation and are recommended to be re-applied regularly to help maintain the stain resistance of the surface. For a natural stone surface that is well sealed, soak up and remove the stain with clean dry paper towels. Use a blotting, rather than wiping motion. Apply a small amount of neutral pH soap like Dove to a clean, soft sponge wet with water. Sponge the affected area to remove remaining wine residue. Once the entire area has been cleaned, remove the soap residue 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.

For an unsealed surface, or otherwise set-in stain, use a neutral poultice made from cornstarch. Use blotting, rather than wiping motions in the cleaning process to avoid spreading the stain. First soak up and remove any excess wine that has not yet soaked in with clean dry paper towels. Place between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of flour in a shallow dish according to the size of the stain. For light colored stones, use hydrogen peroxide (20% strength) as a liquid cleaning agent. For dark colored stones, use acetone as a liquid cleaning agent. Add the liquid cleaning agent to the cornstarch 1 tsp at a time, working into the cornstarch gradually to form a paste. Set aside. Gently press a clean sponge dampened with water to the oil affected area. Apply the flour poultice to the area with plastic spatula or spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and press firmly. Poke holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick or fork. Allow the poultice to dry for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove and discard the plastic wrap and allow the poultice to continue to dry. Once completely dry, remove and discard the poultice. If there is still an wine stain remaining, you may have to repeat the process. Once you are satisfied with the wine stain removal process, apply a small amount of neutral pH soap like Dove to a clean, soft sponge dampened with water. With a more porous natural stone surface, over-wetting should be avoided. Sponge the affected area to remove remaining oil residue. Once the entire area has been cleaned, remove the soap residue 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.

Stone materials of unknown origin, materials which have been dyed, materials which have been misrepresented by the vendor, etc. may react unpredictably or unfavorably to the poultice. Test the liquid cleaning agent on an inconspicuous location, including the sitting time, to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. 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.

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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