Natural stone makes for a beautiful backsplash. Common choices include marble, granite, quartz, and onyx. But can a stone backsplash stain? And if so, how can you prevent and remove them? We've researched this topic, and in this post, we will answer these questions for you.
Yes, the surface of natural stone is porous and can become stained if it isn't sealed. The best way to prevent this is to have the stone sealed at the manufacturer before installing it or sealing it yourself. The method that you use to remove the stain will depend mainly on the type of stain.
There are several stain cleaning solutions that you can use to remove stains from your backsplash, including:
- Dishwashing liquid
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Paint remover
- Commercial stone cleaners
How To Remove Stains From Natural Stone
The first step to removing any stain from natural stone is to blot it with paper towels immediately. Be careful not to wipe the area, as you don't want to spread the stain across the stone. Next, wash the stained area with mild dish soap and water and then rinse it off. If the stain remains, refer to the methods below for stain removal.
Note that certain types of stains will require specific cleaning agents to be safely and effectively removed from natural stone. It's important to consider the type of stain first before deciding on the best removal method.
Types of Stains and How To Get Rid of Them
An oil-based stain will usually darken the stone and should be removed with a degreaser. The easiest degreaser to use is simply mild dish soap. However, you can also use Goo Gone or a mixture of 3 tablespoons of baking soda, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of vinegar as well. To remove the oil stain, apply the degreasing agent to a soft sponge or microfiber cloth and then wipe down the tile until the grease breaks up. You can use this method on grease from cooking oil, butter, meats, grooming products, and DIY cosmetics.
Coffee & Wine Stains
You don't have to purchase expensive cleaning agents to remove coffee and wine stains from backsplash tile, especially if the stains are fresh. One of the best ways to quickly lift the stains is to apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and leave it on the affected area for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once the stain has lifted, wipe the surface down thoroughly with warm water and buff it dry.
Over time, natural stone that is exposed to humidity can develop rust or iron stains. These stains can also develop when building fasteners such as nails, screws, and bolts make contact with a stone for extended periods of time. The best way to remove these stubborn rust stains is to use a poultice stain remover. You can purchase a ready-made formula at your local hardware store or online.
You can also create your own by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Apply the solution using a soft cloth or sponge and allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes. Be sure to rinse the solution thoroughly and then buff the stone dry.
Mold & Mildew Stain
Moisture and humidity can cause mold and mildew to stain natural stone, especially if exposed to it over a long time. A quick way to get rid of these stains is to use an approved cleaning solution to lift the stain from the stone's surface. Allow the solution to sit on the same for the recommended time, and then gently use a soft bristle brush or cloth to clean the area.
While some experts recommend bleach, it's generally not advised. However, many people do use it in a very diluted form for mold removal. If you decide to use bleach, be sure to dilute it with three parts of water and rinse it thoroughly after the stain is lifted.
Hard Water & Efflorescence
Hard water stains and efflorescence can be removed with a solution of baking soda and vinegar. You can mix two parts of baking soda with one part of vinegar to create a paste. Next, take a sponge or soft cloth to remove these stains. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
If the paint stains are smaller than the size of a quarter, you may be able to scrape them off using a razor blade or utility knife. However, if the stains or larger or have had time to set into the stone, you may need to use a more thorough method. If the paint is oil-based, you can use a paint stripper to remove it from the stone. You can apply the paint stripper using a rag or a microfiber cloth, but be sure to wear rubber gloves when doing so.
If the paint is water-based, you can use methylene chloride or a citrus-based paint remover such as Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover. It's best to re-polish the stone's surface, as paint thinner can cause it to etch.
Can you paint over stone wall tiles?
Yes, you can paint over stone wall tiles. Stone tile is naturally porous, so it's recommended that you use latex paint for this application. The reason is that latex paint is very durable, flexible, and has better fade-resistant than oil-based paint. You'll also need to apply primer to the wall tiles before painting them--generally, one to two coats should suffice.
Is natural stone good for a kitchen backsplash?
Natural stone can make for a beautiful backsplash, as it typically has universal appeal. Stones such as marble, granite, and travertine, while more costly than ceramic tile, can last for several years if well-maintained. The good thing is that natural stone is generally pretty easy to maintain. So if you're looking for a dynamic backsplash that will stand out, natural stone can be a great option. However, it's important that the stone is sealed.
Natural stone that isn't sealed will be more susceptible to surface stains that may dull or discolor it. Backsplashes are exposed to heat, humidity, food particles, and oil daily, depending on how often you cook. A sealed backsplash can repel water, dirt, and oil, which will prevent it from becoming stained. If the natural stone backsplash is not sealed, you'll find that you'll need to spend a lot of time and effort to keep it clean--which is no fun.
How do you clean natural stone kitchen wall tiles?
There are quite a few different ways that you can clean natural stone tiles. Let's take a look at them.
Use White Vinegar
White vinegar can be used to remove stains from stone tile, and it can also be used as a general all-purpose cleaner. It's best to dilute the vinegar with water for regular maintenance cleaning.
Use Baking Soda
You can use baking soda as a stand-alone cleaning agent or combine it with one part of vinegar to remove stubborn stains. You can sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the tile or a cleaning rag and apply it to the tile for regular cleaning or stain removal. In the case of stubborn stains, you may need to let the baking soda sit for 5 to 10 minutes before removing it.
Borax is another great option to clean oil and grease stains from your natural tile. To use this as a cleaning agent, mix it with 1 part of lemon juice until it forms a paste and then apply it to the wall tile. Let the paste sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before removing it with a wet cloth or sponge.
Does stone backsplash need to be sealed?
Yes. Stone backsplash definitely needs to be sealed, or else it can become a headache to clean and maintain. Stone is naturally porous, meaning that it will absorb liquids and chemicals faster than non-porous surfaces, making it more susceptible to staining. Oftentimes, stone backsplashes will come pre-sealed by the manufacturer. However, you can also re-seal the backsplash yourself. To do this, you can use a surface sealer, an impregnating sealer, or a penetrating sealer.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has shown you the various ways that you can clean and remove stains from a natural stone backsplash. Remember to always test new chemicals on an inconspicuous area before applying them to your natural stone to prevent potentially damaging it.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: