Water Ring Marks On Kitchen Marble Tile

by Janelle Bedard
(Wichita, Kansas USA)


We moved into our new home December 31st, 2007. I chose marble tile for our kitchen counter top and raised bar in the kitchen. We love the looks of the marble and the beauty of it.

However, we now have some water ring marks from glass left on the counter from the glasses "sweating."

I do not know the name of the tile but it is a light cream color. As was recommended by the company we purchased the tile from, I did put a sealer on it. But that didn't prevent the marks.

How do I go about removing the stains?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


First, I can appreciate your love of the look of marble, but the company you bought from should be fired if they did not warn you that you would FOR CERTAIN have this problem with marble in the kitchen.

What you have are technically not "stains." Marble stains are left when a substance is absorbed into the marble and are always darker than the marble.

"Water rings" are very common. They are not an absorbed stain, but rather the result of a chemical reaction called "etching." And they are not caused by water.... at least not "pure" water.

But since the etch marks are always lighter than the marble they seem to be clear "stains" as if from water. Confusing, but no.... two different issues.

Marble is a calcite based stone (travertine and limestone too), which reacts with acids to etch the stone.

Etching is basically corrosion of the stone that occurs when in contact with acidic substances like juice, coffee, mixed alcoholic drinks, fruit, tomatoes, salad dressing, most household cleaning products, etc.

It is most pronounced on polished marble where the acidic substance immediately destroys (eats through) the thin polished layer leaving a dull spot.

The dull spot is actually just the raw marble left after the shiny layer is gone. However, it isn't a spot "on" the marble at all. In fact, some of the stone has been removed. A process of marble polishing (rather than physical removal) is required to fix the damage.

Commonly the dull etch mark is in the shape of a glass ring since acidic drinks are often the culprit.

Don't ask me how it happens when an acidic drink is IN the glass or bottle that is simply "sweating" and that leaves a ring, but it does.

What likely happens is during drinking residue from the acidic liquid collects on the outside of the glass and then condensation mixes with it and carries it down to the countertop surface where the etching begins.

It happens in mere seconds and cannot be prevented, except by not allowing contact by using coasters and trivets.

This problem with etching is the reason why marble is NOT recommended for a kitchen counter top.

Sealing does NOT prevent etching.

Granite does not react with acids. That is why granite is the stone of choice for the kitchen.

Removing Etch Marks

I'm assuming you have a polished (shiny) vs. honed (matte) finish on your marble tile.

If the etch mark is mild, then you can remove it... or rather restore the shiny polish using this ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste. You can use this first yourself without complicating the problem.

If the etch mark proves to be severe (rare rough to the touch spots), you'll need to hire a marble repair professional to re-polish the marble.

If your marble is honed, then I would call a professional (no product available for a honed surface) or you can give it a shot yourself following the easy instructions in the Removing Etch Marks e-book.

And use coasters and large cutting boards for all food prep from now on.

Comment back and let us know how it turns out.

Comments for Water Ring Marks On Kitchen Marble Tile

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Sunflower Oil to Polish Marble
by: Anonymous

I read somewhere that one can make matte stains on marble shine again by polishing with sunflower oil and a soft cotton cloth. Before I try that and make my polished marble kitchen counter look even worse than it does now, does sunflower oil really do the trick?

Using Sunflower Oil to Polish Marble
by: Ryan

Well, putting oil on your countertop will make it shine for awhile until the oil collects dirt and gets grimy.

Also, unpolished marble is more absorbent than polished, so the oil will eventually leave a stain.

To remove dull etch marks you need to physically re-polish the stone.

If you have dull etch marks use a marble polishing powder like our Marble Polish / Etch Remover to re-polish the surface and remove the marks.

Good Luck!

Marble Top Bar
by: Anonymous

I have a marble top bar that has ring marks on it. I would like to know if there is something I can use to remove these ring marks

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