A Natural Stone Stain Remover

Hard surfaces like natural stone, concrete, terrazzo, and certain types of tile, as well as the grout lines in between tile, are porous, which means they will absorb liquids. If such liquids are staining agents, a stain will occur. Stain removal methods will vary, depending on the type of stain. Many stains can be removed using acetone. Here are the details.

About Acetone

Acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover, is a stone-safe organic compound. For the purpose of removing stains on natural stone, however, forget your nail polish remover. Some nail polish removers contain other chemicals, and non-acetone nail polish remover has no acetone whatsoever. Acetone for stone stain removal should be available at any hardware or paint store.

About Stain Removal

The key to success in stain removal is cleaning up any spills and treating any resulting stains as soon as you can. Understanding the source of the stain will help in determining the best treatment. Many options are available for treating stains on natural stone from creating your own poultice to using convenient ready-made poultices. Ask us for help if you need it.


Acetone is very dangerous to the skin and nervous system. Wear latex or rubber gloves when handling acetone. For your protection, as well as the protection of others, always read the warning labels, follow directions, and be cautious when working with chemicals. Remember to follow your local health and safety regulations for proper chemical disposal.

Stain Removal Methods

Acetone can be used to remove adhesives, candy (non-chocolate), furniture polish, glue (both water soluble and synthetic), heel marks, ink, ink toner, leather, lipstick, nail polish, paper, shoe polish, soap film, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tar, vomit, wines, wood stain, and many unknown stains.

Stain removal methods will vary, depending on the type of stain. For example, substances with heavy texture may require the excess to be carefully scraped from the surface of the stone with a straight razor, while thinner substances will not require this first step. Clean the area thoroughly with acetone and a clean white cloth. Be sure to blot only. Some stains may require one or more poultice applications. Poultices absorb and wick stains out of stone over a period of time from hours to days, depending on the severity of the stain. For specific instructions, please refer to our Stain Removal Application under Resources on our website menu.

Unknown Stains

If you have no idea what caused your stain, you may still be able to remove the stain. Be sure to test out your stain removal methods in an inconspicuous area before you proceed with your stain removal.

  1. Carefully use a sharp straight razor to scrape excess texture, if needed.
  2. Use a clean white cloth to blot the stain. Do not wipe or rub, as this may cause spread the stain outward. Hopefully you will see the stain beginning to transfer to the white cloth. If not, proceed to step (3). Use clean sections of your white cloth each time, and use a second or third white cloth, if needed. Continue until you see that the stain is no longer transferring from the stone to the cloth. Proceed to step (6).
  3. Use stone soap or a stone-safe, pH-neutral cleaner to thoroughly clean the stained area. Use a clean, white cloth to dry the area. Have a look at your cloth. If you see that some of the stain has transferred to it, proceed to step (7), if not, move on to steop (4).
  4. Use 20% hydrogen peroxide and a clean white cloth to blot (not wipe or rub) the stained area. Have a look at your cloth. If you see that some of the stain has transferred to it, continue working until the stain no longer transfers to the cloth, and then proceed to step (8). If no stain is transferring to your cloth, then proceed to step (5).
  5. Use an iron-removing cleaner and a soft brush to agitate and clean the stained area. Use a clean, white cloth to dry the area. WARNING: This step may cause acid etch damage to your stone. Use caution. If lightening of the stain occurs, proceed to step (9). If you do not see any improvement, proceed to step (10).
  6. Use poultice powder and one of the following solvents: mineral spirits or commercial paint remover, to create a poultice. To be clear, do not mix the solvents. Apply the poultice to the stain. See our poultice How-To video on the Stain Removal App for further poultice instructions. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (7).
  7. Use a poultice powder and an alkaline stone cleaner to create a poultice. Apply the poultice to the stain. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  8. Use a poultice powder and 20% hydrogen peroxide to create a poultice. Check the ingredients on clay or fuller earth powders. If they contain hydrogen peroxide, do not use them. Apply the poultice to the stain. If you do not see improvement in the stain, try creating a new poultice mixture using 50% hydrogen peroxide instead of 20%. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  9. Use a poultice powder and an iron-removing chemical to create a poultice. Apply the poultice to the stain. You may need to allow the poultice to dry out, remove it, and reapply it several times. Continue to poultice until you successfully remove the stain. Marble or other calcium-based stones may require honing and polishing to restore the finish. If, after five attempts, the poultice has no effect, proceed to step (10).
  10. Most stains on natural stone can be removed. Some are more difficult than others. Persistence is key. However, some stains do become permanently set. In other words, they become part of the stone. You may need to have your stone replaced. Another option would be to cover the stain with a rug or furniture rearrangement.

Potential Complications

If you are unable to remove the stain, you may actually be dealing with etch damage caused by an acidic substance. Etch removal methods differ from stain removal methods. If you applied a poultice as part of your stain removal process, lingering
discoloration may be due to moisture in the stone, which will disappear once the stone is completely dry. Most stains can be removed, but sometimes stains are permanent. Before investing in a costly replacement, consult with your professional stone restoration contractor.

This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

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JMC did an outstanding job sealing the grout for the floor tiles and shower tiles. JMC also sealed the granite counter tops. The price was competitive and reasonable. The owner, Justin, personally performed the work. The good experience started with him showing up at the scheduled time. He was diligently focused on performing a good job. He applied several coats of sealer to the granite tops to insure a quality job. He spent hours sealing the grout for over 2,000 sq ft of floor tile. His enthusiasm and attention to quality never waivered. I highly recommend using their services.

Steve Temecula CA

Justin helped my husband and I repair a large crack in our granite slab. He not only repaired the crack but resealed all of our other countertops too. His price was very competitive and he kept his word on when he was available and showed up on time. What more could you have asked for! Thank you Justin!!

Misty Temecula CA

Justin did an amazing job color enhancing and sealing our slate floors. I called and met with several tile cleaning companies, but chose Justin because I felt he was the most honest, knowledgeable, and experienced. He took the time to explain different options and even showed me a small area before he continued with the entire floor. He spent hours prepping, cleaning, enhancing, and sealing our slate. His work paid off...our floors are finally gorgeous! He changed our dull, chalky looking slate by giving it a brilliant luster that enhances our home. I could not be more thrilled with the results. Bottom line, Justin did exactly what he said he would at the cost we agreed to and even changed his personal schedule to accommodate my schedule. He went above and beyond. In a time when I feel it is difficult to find good, honest, hardworking people to hire, Justin at JMC Tile and Grout has changed my mind. Thank you Justin!

Laura Temecula CA

Justin is very professional. He has done 2 separate marble polishing jobs for us and each time we have been very pleased. He is very thorough and careful, doing a great prep job to prevent any damage. His prices are very fair. So glad we found Justin. There are very few marble and stone care professionals in this area. Highly recommend Justin!

Diane Murrieta CA

Justin came in and cleaned and resealed the grout on our floors. He was a very professional and easy person to talk to. He was also very helpful with other things around the house. Great guy and great job. Well done!!! Thank you!!!

Helene Temecula CA

Justin did an excellent job of repairing a large crack in our kitchen granite. It was quite deep and covered a large area. Needless to say it was very noticeable and would have caused us to replace an entire slab of granite if we had not had it repaired. He spent almost an entire morning in the restoration. He was meticulous in his work, was able to match the color of the granite and it looks 100% better. In addition he resealed and polished all the rest of our granite countertops. We certainly would recommend him. He was professional, very neat and thorough. He arrived exactly on time, even though he had to drive an hour to reach us. He will certainly be someone we contact again if we need any more restoration or maintenance on our granite. We were delighted with his work. Cyndi M. Coronado

Cyndi Coronado CA

Justin is the man. My wife and I recently moved into our new home in Lake Elsinore, we thought that we would seal the grout on our floors and shower by ourselves. After realizing the size and scope of the grout sealing project we decided to contact an expert to get an estimate. I had read online that most tile companies charge about $1.00 per square foot so I had an idea how much the estimate would be. Justin came out the same day and gave my wife the estimate. Since we did not have any furniture in the house yet we asked if he could start the same day. It was already 2pm at that point and Justin was not sure if he had enough sealer with him to do the whole job. He agreed to start sealing the grout near the walls where the heavy furniture would be placed and come back later to finish the job another day. After he started sealing our grout he found more sealer in his work van and decided that he would just power through and finish the job for us the same day! We were thrilled with the entire experience. Justin is truly a tile and stone professional. When he was finished sealing the grout he also sealed our new granite counter tops. All I can say is, if we ever have a tile or stone job in the future, Justin is "our guy." Great service with top quality products and fair pricing, what more could you ask for? Also, at no point during the job did he attempt to up-sell us anything, as a matter of fact, he tried to lower his price once the job was finished but we wouldn't hear of it. We agreed to a set price and that is what he deserved. Thanks Justin, you saved us a lot of time and energy. I can sleep better at night knowing that our expensive new flooring is protected for many years to come. I would highly recommend JMC Stone & Tile to friends and family.

Lake Elsinore CA

Justin thank you so much for the wonderful job you did restoring my marble floor. Very professional and I will recommend your service to all our friends. Thank you Elizabeth, Riverside County

Elizabeth , Riverside County

Thank you Justin at JMC Stone and Tile Care. He re colored our grout with color seal and it looks amazing. His attention to detail to customer service is top notch and I have no problem referring your services. If your in Temecula CA JMC Stone and Tile Care is my recommendation for all your tile, stone, and color sealing needs. Thank you so much

Cathi Cameron, Temecula CA

We are so happy with the service from Justin at JMC stone and tile care. He re colored are old nasty stained grout on our countertops with color seal. The grout looks brand new he will be referred to all our friends in Murrieta CA.

Julie Johnson Murrieta CA

Justin (JMC Stone and Tile Care) cleaned the tile and grout of my floors in April 2013. On the day he was at my home to provide a quote and also on the day of service, Justin was prompt, courteous and professional. Once involved in the job and realizing that part of my floors was not as badly in need of cleaning as the rest of the tile, he reduced the cost of the service. I very much appreciated his fairness and integrity! Not only did my floors looks sparkling clean when he was done, but I also knew much more about how to keep my floors clean on my own. He was quick to share secrets of his trade! I recommend Justin’s service without reservation. His service is unparalleled, and he is a friendly and honest professional! Gail Miller Temecula CA

Gail Miller Temecula CA

Justin, I would like to thank you again for the excellent job you did repairing and retiling our marble tile table. I would definitely use your services again and recommend you to anyone needing stone or tile work done in Murrieta CA. Thank you, Heather Lumsden

Heather Lumsden Murrieta CA

We have been very pleased with the service that Justin has given us. The overall quality of his work was excellent. In one small area we had a slightly rough feel to the sealant he had applied to our granite countertops. Justin returned on the very day that we called him and quickly repaired it. This is a very courteous, professional, and above all, competent service in Murrieta CA. Thanks so much John Welniak

John Welniak. Murrieta CA

February 14, 2013 Justin We are absolutely thrilled with our new floor!!!! Yes, I say new floor because that is the way the whole house looks! It looks like brand new tile. Justin, you did a fabulous job! Thank You, Judy Nitti

Judy Nitti Temecula CA

I accidentally spilled some cleaner on our marble vanity and made those awful etch marks. I called Justin at JMC Stone and Tile Care and he assured me that I didn't ruin my bathroom vanity. Thanks so much for removing those etch marks, we will definitely refer you to anyone in Wildomar CA.

J. Escarsega, Wildomar CA

I would like to thank Justin of JMC Stone and Tile care for bringing back the beautiful shine to our granite countertops. Very professsional and courteous and on time. It's hard to find all those qualities in one place. Thanks Justin again and we are clients for life and we will definitely refer you to anyone in Oeanside Ca.

Lacey Linek, Oceanside CA

We had a last minute emergency and we had a surprise visit from an important client. We called a few tile and stone companies and not one would help us. We called JMC Stone and Tile Care and Justin rescued us. He was very professional and accommodating to our last minute request to have the tile cleaned. For that we can't thank you enough and will refer you to anyone in Carlsbad CA.

Kyle Batsford, Palomar Reprographics, Carlsbad CA