Solutions for Cleaning Marble Juice Stains, Glass-Rings & Dull Spots
Help! My son spilled orange juice on the marble countertop surface, and it stained...what can I do??? Thank you!
Cleaning marble juice stains and spots isn't too tough. "Stains" come in two varieties, though, so diagnosis is key to the solution.
A true marble stain happens when something (orange juice... or any colored or oily liquid) is absorbed into the marble creating a darker colored spot.
A second type of stain that is not really a "stain" is called "etching."
Etching happens when an acidic substance (like orange juice... or many others including most household cleaners) corrodes the shiny surface layer leaving a dull and lighter colored spot behind. Nothing is absorbed and nothing is on the marble countertop or floor tile.
A third possibility is that you have both a stain and an etch mark caused by the orange juice corroding the marble and then absorbing into the stone.
And FYI... Either a marble stain or etching (or both in the same spot) can occur with just about any type of juice.... grape juice, apple juice, lemon juice, lemonade, lime juice, tomato juice, etc... since most juices have a color and are also acidic.
The remedies for each problem (cleaning marble stains vs. repairing marble etch mark) are completely different.
If you have a stain, then you won't be able to clean it in traditional fashion... spray a cleaner on it, etc.
How do you clean & protect marble kitchen counter tops?
I have several stains from pineapple juice & much etching & water stains. How do I remove them (if I can) & then protect it?
Marble is a great stone to use for many applications like floors, showers and bathroom vanities. Kitchen countertops.... not so much.
As you are finding out, marble is reactive to acidic foods and drinks like pineapple juice. Acids will corrode and "etch" marble leaving dull and discolored spots.
For this reason most designers and fabricators will warn clients away from installing marble as a kitchen countertop.
Although you can remove etch marks on polished marble (not honed) using Marble Polishing Paste it will be a on ongoing marble repair chore since the only way to prevent etching is to avoid contact with acids... impossible in a kitchen.
Marble countertops do not stain easy especially when polished. It can be nearly stain-proof, but it does etch easy... in seconds in fact.
Etch marks look like "ghost" marks or "water stains", so people think marble "stains" easy, but staining and etching are two completely different issues.
However, once etched the marble does become much more susceptible to staining. So, when you spill pineapple juice it will etch the marble quickly and if you don't clean it soon it will start to absorb and may also stain.
So, use the paste for any lighter colored and dull etch marks you have.
If you also have stains (which are always darker) then you'll need to follow the instructions in the Removing Marble Stains Manual (see link in previous question).
As noted you may have staining and etching in the same spot. So, remove the stain first, then repair the etching.
The paste is also good for buffing out light scratches, which is another issue you have to contend with marble kitchen countertops vs. granite, which is much harder and nearly impossible to scratch.
Going forward, you should use cutting boards, trivets and coasters and follow all other marble cleaning do's & dont's to help minimize contact with acidic substances during food prep.
This is the only prevention. Well, there are a couple permanent topical coatings that can block etching, but I (and most stone pros) will recommend that you NOT apply such coatings... they can cause more problems than they solve despite the salesman's claims.
Sealing won't do anything for etching. Sealing only protects against staining (substances absorbing), which shouldn't be much a problem for you anyway.
In fact, it's quite likely that your marble (if polished as I assume) is so non-absorbent that it won't even absorb a sealer.
Sorry you have to find out all this after the fact, but that's the deal. Marble countertops are still very durable, it just requires much more effort and marble maintenance to keep looking newish than granite does.
I recently bought my marble table which I only use for guests. The first time I had guests over, one of them accidentally placed a lime on the table top.
Now I have a white marble stain and I have only tried to take it out with soap and water, but have not succeeded.
I'm afraid to try something harsh. Can you please help?
Yes I can Beverly! Unbeknownst to your guest, lime and lime juice is acidic (like most fruit juice) and that is bad for a marble table.
Marble is a calcite-based stone that reacts with acids instantly. The acid corrodes or eats into the stone making dull spots and white spots that people often call "water stains".
Sometimes the result is a "glass ring". Actually, the process is called "etching" and it isn't caused by water (not pure water anyway).
Etching is common with marble, although it isn't actually a "stain". These are two separate species.
Too often consumers and homeowners are not properly educated by sales reps on how to care for marble and natural stone.
Nothing you can do about it to prevent it except use coasters, etc. to avoid contact with acidic foods and don't use harsh chemicals to clean... use a specially formulated Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning spray for safe cleaning.
It's also a common mis-perception that sealing solves this issue...wrong. Sealing has nothing to do with etching. Sealing marble will only retard substances being absorbed causing marble stains.
Etching is a different animal. To remove the little lime spot and restore the color and shine you'll need to use a specialty marble polishing product.
You can sometimes find the right stuff at your hardware store (it must be specifically for etch marks... not just a "marble polish" which is what is usually in stores) but I'd suggest using our favorite Marble Etching Remover/Polish (linked above).
It's a professional product made just for this issue. Works better than any other we've tried. Just follow the directions and it should do the trick and re-polish the dull spot.
However, just for your information... if the etching is severe (rough surface), it may require professional restoration.
Severe etching rarely happens, so likely nothing for you to worry about. But even if severe enough to require professional marble repair (that's expensive), it's best to apply the etch remover product first. It's very effective.
We live in a house with marble or granite window ledges (I have no idea which!).
We stupidly made preserves recently involving large jars of lemon juice and salt and sat the jars on the window ledge for several days (not realizing they leaked!)
Now there are large jar shaped white stains on the window ledge. The salt and lemon juices has eaten away the polish and into the stone and I can feel a slight depression in the circles.
Please, can you tell me how we can restore the stone window ledge and it's polish to its former condition?
Thank you!!! Naomi
Naomi, Thanks for the picture! That really helps.
The ledge is not granite. It is a very rare granite that will react to acids like marble.
Looks like limestone to me, which is similar to marble in that it is a calcium carbonate based stone that IS reactive to acidic substances.
You have most certainly "etched" the stone... and it looks pretty severe. I'm not surprised that you can feel a depression where the lemon juice ate away the stone.
If the stone was still smooth, without any depression, then you could do it yourself using the Etch Remover Marble Polishing product (see links in first question).
But, I'm afraid with the severity of this etch mark (depressions and likely rough), possibly your only option in this case is to hire a professional stone restorer to come and physically grind down the stone surface until the etch marks are blended in and then re-polish the surface.
Not a do-it-yourself job. Get some recommendations from a local stone warehouse and check references.
How do you remove a lemon juice stain on a marble countertop?
Removing marble stains is usually pretty easy unless the stains are old and/or deep, but traditional or common cleaning methods don't work.
However, it's also important to know what kind of "stain" you actually have.
There are two types of "stains" that can occur on marble countertops and floor tile. These two types of spots are completely different from each other (one is not a stain at all) although homeowners call both of them "stains."
Lemon juice will not typically "stain" marble.
A stain occurs when something absorbs into the marble and is always darker in color.
The other type of "stain" that is not actually a stain is called etching and is a known and fairly common marble maintenance issue.
Etching is a mark of corrosion caused by contact with acidic foods and drinks like lemon juice. The acid eats into the surface... like a chemical burn.
Also, etching can be caused by harsh cleaning products, which are most of the common and brand-name household cleaners at the store.
An etch mark will always be lighter in color than the marble. The etch spot will also be dull in color.
Etch marks look like ghost stains on marble and can often only be seen at certain angles.
Lemon juice will etch marble countertops, but typically won't stain it (because not much color to lemon juice). Although other acidic drinks like wine or coffee could both etch and then stain marble.
Okay.... fortunately etch marks can be removed on polished (shiny) marble using the Etch Remover (links above/below) which is made just for this problem.
If your marble has a honed (matte, non-reflective) finish, then the paste won't work. You'll have to follow the step-by-step instructions in the Cleaning Marble Secrets e-book.
Once you repair the etch marks, be sure to use coasters, cutting boards, mats, etc. to protect your marble and use ONLY products safe for cleaning marble.
Recently got new marble floor tile in kitchen (light cream marble).
The kids spilled apple juice on a small part of floor and it has left it a bit dull and you can notice splash marks were the apple juice spilled on the floor.
The juice seemed to penetrate through the seal and there are high spots on the floor. Is there anything I can do? Regards Mary.
Most fruit juices are acidic. Acids will react with marble floor tile and "etch" the surface leaving dull and often lighter-colored spots.
Marble sealers and sealing have nothing to do with etching. Sealers do not create an impenetrable protective shell. They absorb into the marble and work below the surface to slow down absorption of substances and help prevent stains.
Etch marks are not stains. Nothing has absorbed. The acid in the juice has physically damaged and corroded the marble. It's like a chemical burn.
Luckily, mild to moderate etch marks can be repaired on polished marble using the Marble Polishing Etch Remover (links above and below)
On honed (matte finish) marble the paste won't work and you'll have to follow the instructions (which are easy and use common household items) provided in the Restore Etching e-book (find links above and below).
Hello, we accidentally spilled about 4 ounces of aloe vera leaf juice on our bathroom counter, which we think is travertine.
It was left on the countertop for almost a day and left light areas on the brown countertop. It left light rings around the outline of bottles that were on the counter.
Can we polish it with marble cleaner? Thanks, Ralph
Ralph, travertine is a sister stone to marble. Marble, travertine and limestone all have similar characteristics, so any product made for "marble" can be used for repairing or cleaning travertine as well.
Like marble and limestone, travertine will react with some chemicals and foods/drinks corroding the surface and leaving a dull spot. It's like a burn and called "etching".
The acidic aloe vera juice has etched the surface and it needs to be re-polished.
Since the juice was left on the surface for a long time the etching could be severe. If the etched areas feel rough, then you may need a professional to re-polish the surface.
However, it's usually worth it (much less expensive) to try fixing it yourself first using the Etch Remover Polishing product (see links above and below). Use this only if your countertop has a reflective, gloss-type finish.
If the etch marks are still smooth and just dull, then the marble polish will do the trick no sweat. Yes, it works for travertine exactly like it does for restoring marble etching.
For future care and maintenance, you should use only products safe for cleaning travertine and don't let acidic substances or foods (alcohol, fruit juice, coffee, soda, etc.) come in contact with the surface.
Hi I've spilled lemonade on my cream marble hearth and its gone dull.
Is there anything that can be done to remove the stain?
Lemonade is acidic like many foods and drinks... fruit juices. Acids will corrode marble, damage the finish and leave dull and discolored spots... it's called "etching" and its a known marble maintenance issue.
It isn't a "stain" though. Nothing is on or in your marble hearth. The marble has been physically corroded by this chemical reaction.
To remove/repair etch marks we recommend using the Etch Remover recommended elsewhere on this page (see links above). It's the best product out there for restoring the shine and cleaning dull marble etch marks.
Etching is always lighter in color and usually look dull.
Etching is a result of a chemical reaction with acidic foods and drinks like coffee and orange juice. Nothing has absorbed, in fact some marble has been destroyed and removed essentially. It's like a chemical burn.
On "honed" or any non-polished surface the Etch Remover product should not be used, but you can repair etch marks following the techniques detailed in the Removing Etch Marks ebook (found on same page as "Stain Removal" manual... click link above).
Also, it's helpful to know that you can get stains and etch marks in the same spot. Something like coffee, juice or wine could spill and etch the marble countertop and then absorb to create a stain.
When this occurs you need to remove the stain first, then repair the etch mark.