How to Remove Water Spots from Marble Countertop

Have you been taking those beautiful marble countertops for granite? Now your result is unsightly water spots on your lovely surface.

Don’t worry, all you need is a short chemistry lesson and a few simple tools. Your marble will be back to itself in a few days.

The first and most important step is to identify which type of mark you’re dealing with. This will affect how you go about removing it. Put on your safety goggles and channel your inner Bill Nye, let’s understand the science behind that pesky ring of water.

Hard Water Deposits

Hard water leaves signature raised marking on marble surfaces. This process happens over time. Water spots or drops left on marble will eventually evaporate. 

These water spots aren’t stains at all. These “etches” happen because the mineral deposits etch themselves into the marble. Some may have color, and some may not.

After the water is gone, the left are tiny bits of deposits and minerals on the marble surface. These are the easiest to clear away because no damage has occurred to your precious stone. Nevertheless, be careful not to get too aggressive with your scrubbing techniques!

Hard Water Etching isn’t Hard to Fix

DO NOT use an all-purpose cleaner. Marble is not an all-purpose surface (try saying that five times fast!). Cleaning products not specifically intended for marble will dull the surface and cause further damage leaving you with more problems.

For the cleaning option with the least hassle, contact a stone expert for recommendations on safe cleaning products. Purchase said recommended cleaning product and carefully follow all directions. 

If you’re like most Americans, you want the spot gone now. Right now. If hunting down a specific cleaning product is too much hassle, make your own. 

Using only water and baking soda, make a thick paste. Work the paste on to the water spot. Rinse the paste away with water and follow with another clean cloth to dry.

A third acceptable option for hard water spot etch removal involves you and #0000 grade fine steel wool.  Very lightly buff the affected area in a circular motion until that dull spot is gone.

Reducing Your Deposit Habit

Any surfaces in a bathroom or kitchen are susceptible to standing water. Try as you may, completely eliminating hard water deposits on your marble isn’t a likely reality. Raised water spots most commonly occur around faucets, showers, and sinks. 

To reduce the occurrence of dull water deposits on your marble surfaces, fully dry any wet areas. Even a little bit of standing water can cause dullness to the marble texture over time.

Oil-Based Stains

If your marble surface is in your kitchen, oil-based stains will come from cooking oils, milk, butter, and grease. For bathroom marble vanities and countertops, face cream, lotion, and oil-containing hair products are your most likely culprits!

Oil-based stains are actual stains within the stone itself. Oils can easily seep through that porous marble surface. When this happens, the oil discolors parts of the lovely marble surface. 

You Need Poultice and Patience

If you can get to it relatively quickly, the chance of getting that unsightly oil stain out is pretty good! The longer it sits, the more difficult it will lift out.

Your answer is poultice. Pronounced Pohl-tiss, it’s a paste that will work with the chemistry of your countertop to lift the stain right now. In the medical world, the word poultice refers to something used to draw out or reverse inflammatory conditions.

Leave your scalpel at the hospital. You need tools made of plastic or rubber to keep from scratching your precious marble surface! 

Before you go to town with a giant spot in the middle of your surface, test a small amount in an inconspicuous spot. Consider it your marble poultice practice.

Oil Get It Out Myself

A DIY poultice is easy to make with baking soda and 6% hydrogen peroxide (lighter surfaces), acetone (for darker surfaces), or water (for everyone who is afraid do discolor their marble.)  Before you begin, clean the surface as well as you can. Leave the area a little wet.

A damp surface will allow the marble’s pores to open up further.

Mix your two ingredients together to make a thick paste. It should be thick enough to stay on a knife or spatula without sliding off.

With your scratch-free spatula or putty knife, apply 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick poultice paste to the affected area. Cover the area with plastic wrap and seal the edges with masking or painter’s tape. 

Leave your little poultice patch 24-48 hours. During this time, the poultice will work those granite pores to draw that oil stain right out. When the time’s up, scrape up the poultice and use a damp, clean cloth to wipe the excess away. Repeat this process a few more times. This is your chance to practice poultice patience!

Oil Buy It at The Store

If you don’t want to make your own poultice, you can purchase some already made. Contact a countertop expert. Follow their recommendations for the best poultice purchase.

Organic Stains

These are coffee, wine, juice, or anything acidic that has prolonged contact with a marble surface.

Organic stains are difficult to prevent because they are caused by so many commonplace items! If you’ve decided to move the Keurig from its two-year place on your countertop, you may be in for an organic stain surprise!

Thankfully, organic stains can usually be removed easily. Caution: test out your cleaning solution on a small, hidden spot before attempting to remove the stain.

The ingredients I’m about to share with you may lighten the color of your darker surface.

Ammonia Going to Tell You Once

Organic stains can be spot cleaned without much hassle. You’ll need a clean cloth, some ammonia, and 12% hydrogen peroxide. 

You don’t need a lot of this solution, it’s a spot clean, not a full-service detail. Combine a few drops of ammonia with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Dip the rag and dab the stain.

Multi-purpose Poultice

The poultice is back! You can also use the above-mentioned poultice method with your marble countertops as well. Just be cautious of the color-changing effects your materials may have on your surface.

Remember to Seal the Deal

It’s very likely you had the marble vs. granite countertops consideration before deciding on marble. One of the best things about marble is its soft, elegant look. Marble’s soft, porous properties often forgotten because it feels so tough.

In order to keep your marble looking sleek and fresh, some low effort maintenance is required. Sealing your surface on a regular basis will help prevent staining and etching from routine use.

As a general rule, marble surfaces should be sealed every three to six months. If you have a surface more prone to damage, you may want to stick to the three-month rule. Simply apply a sealer to your surface, wait 15 minutes, and remove any extra with a clean cloth.

Contact your stone countertop expert and follow their recommendations for the best marble sealing products. How you care for your countertop will affect how well it keeps its beauty and holds up to daily use.

Don’t Even Think About It

While many products exist to safely care for marble surfaces, more products exist that will harm the marble! 

NEVER use a multi-purpose cleaner on your marble surfaces. Stay away from vinegar, ammonia-based window cleaners, or anything you might use to scrub soap scum off your bathtub. Bleach should be added to your do-not-use list as well. 

Next Time You Spot the Water Spot…

You’ll know exactly what to do! You now have the ability to identify and rectify that marble countertop water spot! 

If it’s a stain or an etch, you can take care of that as well! Whether you have marble to love or you’d love to have some marble, we’d love to chat with you! 

Give us a call at 314-819-2999, send us a message, or stop by our showroom. Check out our variety of kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, backsplashes, and more. If marble isn’t your favorite, we can help you find a surface that is!


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