Produced from limestone over perhaps millions of years, the quarries in Italy's Apuane mountain range yield a rich, white marble that is world-famous for purity. Once prized by Michelangelo, who sculpted many masterpieces from Carrara marble, Italians still savor the look of marble in their homes. But in Italy, the scars and stains so easily imparted on Carrara marble stand as marks of character, almost like a picture history. In your home, you can enjoy the beauty and elegance without the marks with careful care. A poultice -- purchased or homemade -- can take out most stains.
Blot up spills immediately using a soft, clean cloth. Avoid rubbing the cloth around as this actually pushes the substance into the marble as well as spreading it in a wider area. Dab, instead, changing cloths as necessary until all of it is gone.
Investigate the source of the soil and stain to help you determine the most effective poultice for stain removal. Look at the color, location and the formation of the stain for clues. A stain that looks like a brown splotch, found in the kitchen near the coffee pot, is likely a coffee stain, for instance, while a reddish colored stain near a plant container or metal object might be rust.
Mix a small amount of water -- distilled, if possible, to avoid adding chemicals or minerals -- with a few drops of gentle, pH balanced dish soap. Use a soft to medium-bristled brush to work at the area, taking care not to spread the mess. Sop up the solution with a cloth and dip your brush back in the water, reapplying and repeating. This treatment may remove some light stains if they have not yet had the chance to set.
Switch to a solution of 1 part water to 1 part ammonia or 1 part water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide....
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...facturer's instructions completely. Both methods are harsh on Carrara marble and should remain on the surface as little time as possible. Some iron actually comes from inside the marble and treatment may only lighten the stain.
The most common stains occur in the organic, oil, ink or rust categories. For other stain categories, many of these poultices still work, however. Consult stain removal charts for unusual stains and removal ingredients.
Some stains are permanent. Poultices may do little more than lighten the stain in these instances.
Treat burn marks with a poultice, then sand or refinish the marble to complete the repair.
Ensure adequate ventilation during stain poultice application. Many of these chemicals emit harsh odors that may irritate the eyes, skin and lungs.
Never mix bleach with ammonia -- a toxic gas will result when combined.