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Proper stone maintenance practices that are performed daily will help prevent staining problems. The two best methods of stain prevention are to treat the stone with STONE SPRAY-N-SEAL® and to immediately pick up spills before they are absorbed into the stone.

The objective of an impregnator/penetrating sealer is to prevent liquids from absorbing through the stone surface. However, if spills set for a long period of time the stone may still absorb the liquid, even with a sealer. Natural stone is porous by nature. Stone stains very easily because its pores will absorb like a sponge. The older a stain gets, the more difficult it is to remove.

One question that is often asked is how are stains removed from stone? The only safe way to remove a stain is to reabsorb it out of the stone. Since the stain was absorbed through the pores, it must be reabsorbed through the pores. The natural absorption process must be reversed.

In order for a stain to be removed, the type of stain must be identified. Different types of stains have various removal processes. There are five common types of stains:

  1. Organic: Coffee, tea, tobacco, food, cosmetics, and plant food.
  2. Biological: Mildew, algae, and fungus.
  3. Metal: Rust, iron, bronze, copper, etc.
  4. Ink: Pen and magic marker.
  5. Oil Based: Tar, grease, cooking oil, skin and hair oil.

To determine the type of stain you must ask the correct questions and be aware of the following:

  • What is the color and pattern of the stain?
  • What sat near the stain previously?
  • Are there plumbing pipes or air ducts near the stain?
  • Was there a plant near the stain?
  • Is the stain associated with a certain location?
  • How old is the stain?

Once the stain is recognized, an appropriate stain removal method must be designed. Knowing the absorption level and chemical sensitivity of the stone will help determine proper techniques. If the stain cannot be identified, then a test patch with different methods should be examined. The process that works the best should be used for the main application.

To remove the stain, an absorbing poultice must be used. A poulticing material can be anything that absorbs from a cotton ball, to a paper towel, or even a cotton shirt. In most cases, an absorbing powder poultice is used to extract a stain.

In the poulticing process, the stone will absorb the chemical from the poultice, then the chemical loosens the stain, and the poultice reabsorbs the stain from the stone. During this process, it is important to begin with the gentlest method first. First try and remove the stain with SCI's PLAIN POULTICE POWDER mixed with STONE QUEST. If the stain still remains, then begin the poulticing process.

Common Poultice Method:

  1. Wet the stained area with distilled water. This will isolate the stain and intensify the removal process. (Do not use hot water and do not apply if the air temperature is below 32 degrees.)
  2. If a powder is used, blend the powder and the chemical or water to a thick paste consistency like peanut butter. SCI's Ready To Use Poultice Powders only need to be mixed with water. Apply with a wood spatula.
  3. Apply a layer of about 1/4" thick to the stained area.
  4. Cover the poultice with plastic food wrap and tape the edges down with an easy to remove adhesive. This traps the moisture and prevents the poultice from drying to quickly.
  5. Be sure that the poultice is completely dry before removing the wrap. Proper drying time is 24-48 hours. If the poultice is removed early, the stain may not be removed.
  6. When dry, take the wrap off and remove the dry poultice with a wooden spatula. The poultice should now be hard. Rinse the area wit