Marble is an exquisite material used for home decor purposes that comes in two main types: cultured marble and real marble. Cultured marble is an engineered material, made from pulverized natural marble, cured in resins with a protective gel coating.
In contrast, natural marble is extracted directly from the earth and is considered to be a high-end luxury material. As it’s porous, it can get stained and discolored by dyes, such as food coloring or hair dyes.
While the cleaning methods for both types of marble are similar, it’s important to understand that natural marble is more likely to be scratched or dulled by common cleaners and proper care should be taken during the dye removal process.
This article will cover easy cleaning methods for removing dye stains from cultured and natural marble and ensuring it remains free from scratches. We have also outlined some of the best practices that you should consider during the cleaning process.
1. Assess Dye Stain
The first step of the cleaning process is to check the type of dye and assess the extent of the stain on the cultured or natural marble.
Hair dyes are the most common type of dyes that can stain bathroom marble sinks and countertops, while food coloring can stain or discolor kitchen marble countertops.
Different types and intensities of stains require specific methods to ensure the marble is free from permanent damage. More about this in the next section.
2. Select a Dye Removal Solution for Your Marble
You can use various cleaning or stain-removing solutions to remove dyes from both types of marble. All of these cleaners have different costs, levels of effectiveness, ingredients, and concentrations.
Depending on the intensity of the stain and how long it has been left to dry, you can choose any suitable dye removal solution from the ones mentioned in the next step.
Here’s a quick list of our recommendations:
- Dedicated Marble Cleaner
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Baking Soda
Some methods can take up to 24 to 48 hours for complete stain removal. This is because some products have been diluted to be less abrasive and damaging, which slows down the cleaning process but keeps it safe for use.
3. Apply Your Preferred Dye Removal Solution to the Marble
When using any of the cleaning methods suggested below, ensure that you use non-abrasive tools such as soft sponges, cloths, mild soapy water, plastic wrap, tape, gauze, and pads. This is important as it will avoid causing any damage to the marble’s protective layer and keep it free from scratches.
We also recommend against using chemicals on marble. Highly acidic and alkaline formulas can also dull the marble and should be avoided for cleaning. We have listed some of the most effective dye-removal solutions for marble below:
Dedicated Marble Cleaner
If you want to clean natural marble and remove any fresh dyes from it, you can use a dedicated marble cleaner for the job. A dedicated marble cleaner protects the marble surface from dulling and scratches while removing the dye easily.
We recommend using the Black Diamond Marble and Tile Cleaner since it is safe to use on natural and cultured marble. It is highly concentrated and is a product that will clear tough stains on marble surfaces effortlessly without leaving any streaks behind.
You may also use any other dedicated marble cleaner with similar formulas for this process. Cleaning hair or food dyes with a marble cleaner is the most convenient and easiest option.
Another great option revolves around using hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can clean light-colored marble and recover its original color easily. However, for darker marble, you need to test its effect in an inconspicuous area according to the steps that we will discuss shortly.
This is due to the bleaching agents in hydrogen peroxide that can potentially lighten the marble significantly. If the color of the marble remains unchanged, you can safely use it to remove dye stains from the marble.
Use a small piece of gauze or pad and lightly saturate it with hydrogen peroxide. Put the damp pad or gauze on the stain and seal it with plastic wrap and tape. Place a heavy object on the area and leave it for about 24 hours. Repeat the process if the stain is not fully removed from the marble after one day.
Rubbing alcohol (also called isopropyl alcohol) is a highly effective way of cleaning marble and removing light dye stains from it. It can also help in restoring the shine of this natural stone. Rubbing alcohol is non-abrasive and has a balanced pH level, making it perfect for use on hard marble surfaces.
For this process, take a small spray bottle and add 1/8 cup of water, a few drops of mild dishwashing soap, and 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol. Mix the solution well and spray the mixture on the stained area of the marble. This solution will remove all light stains from your cultured or natural marble countertop.
If the stains are too stubborn to be removed with a gentle rubbing alcohol solution, you can pour a small quantity of rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rub the stain with a soft nylon scrub pad. Ensure not to spread the stain to other areas.
Blot away the liquid on top of the countertop and check if the stain is removed completely from the surface.
Baking soda is an alkaline substance that can affect the sensitive protective layer of marble. It is also mildly abrasive, hence rub with caution to avoid creating a dull marble countertop. Nevertheless, a diluted baking soda mixture is a safe way to clean marble surfaces and make them shine.
Apply some baking soda to the dye stain and add a few drops of water until a paste is formed. The paste shouldn’t be too runny but have the consistency of sour cream. Cover the baking soda mixture on the stain with plastic and tape it down for the next 24 hours.
Remove the plastic sheet and gently clean the marble surface with warm soapy water and a soft sponge after 24 hours. Dry and buff the marble with a clean cloth for a beautiful finish.
Sometimes dishwashing soap works just as effectively for cleaning dye stains on marble countertops, especially if the dye stain is still wet. Use a mild dishwashing soap and water solution to clean the spill.
Ensure to use a dishwashing soap that is not abrasive or does not contain any acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice. You can also use a mixture of unbleached flour and mild liquid dishwashing soap for the job.
Take note that this technique works better for more intense dye stains. Add 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and a small amount of water to 1 cup of flour to make a thick paste.
Cover the stain with the paste and tape it with plastic wrap for 24 hours. Then, simply remove the plastic wrap and gently clean the mixture from the marble countertop with warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge.
Another alternative is using cornstarch, as it’s a mild cleaning ingredient that is easily available at home. It works best for oily dye stains that might be due to creamy hair dye or viscous food coloring.
For this method, spray a small amount of distilled water on the hardened or set stain. Make sure that you don’t apply this to areas of the marble surface that are clean. Apply a layer of cornstarch over the wet stain and let it sit for about 24 hours.
Wipe away the hardened cornstarch after 24 hours with a warm soapy solution and a sponge. Repeat the process if the stain doesn’t remove completely on the first application.
4. Wipe Away Excess Remaining Cleaning Solution
Once you have cleaned the marble free from hair dyes, food coloring, or any other type of dye discoloration, always wipe away the residue with a damp cloth. Water will remove any excess soap, baking soda, cornstarch, or other cleaning product from the marble.
Making sure that your marble is completely clean before drying also prevents streaks from forming and any impurities from entering its porous surface.
Best Practices for Removing Dye Stains from Marble
Keep in mind that marble is a porous and sensitive material. Any harsh chemicals, acidic solutions, and abrasive tools can damage the smooth and gleaming texture of natural marble. We’ve prepared a list of best practices that you should consider when removing any type of dye stain from marble.
- Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals – Harsh chemicals can be extremely harmful to marble and cause it to become irreversibly damaged with scratches and discoloration. These chemicals can also dull the finish on top of cultured or natural marble, giving it an appealing look.
- Wipe Dye Spills Immediately – Prevention is the best cure; therefore, if you notice any spills on your marble countertops or tiles, remove them immediately using any of the solutions mentioned above. Cleaning wet dyes requires less effort and elbow grease, and you can protect the marble from being permanently damaged.
- Test Cleaning Solution First – The safest way to ensure that a cleaning solution is right for your marble countertops or tiles is to test it in an inconspicuous area. This way, you can check the effectiveness of the cleaning solution and test if it causes any damage to the marble.
Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.