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How to Remove a Rust Stain from Marble

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lynn from New Jersey on the line who’s dealing with a rust stain. Tell us about it.

    LYNN: Hi. I have a marble window sill in my bathroom, in the tub shower. And I had a razor on it and it rusted. It made a spot about the size of a quarter.

    TOM: Oh, well, wasn’t your husband shaving or what?

    LYNN: That was me.

    LESLIE: It was her. Girls shave in the shower; boys do not.

    TOM: Oh, OK. Alright.

    LESLIE: Lynn, let me guess. It’s like a white, Carrera marble, too.

    LYNN: Yes. The house was built in the early 50s so it’s the kind that they would use as saddles, too, for the doorway and the window sill.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And how old is this rust stain? Is it fairly new?

    LYNN: Yes, it’s just a few weeks.

    LESLIE: OK. Because the newer the better. The longer it sits there, the more chance it gets to sort of permeate into the marble since it’s so porous.

    LYNN: Oh. Right.

    LESLIE: And generally, with marble, because it’s a hard, natural surface – but it’s softer than, say, a granite and it leaves it a little bit more vulnerable, so you have to be really careful. And here’s a tip with your can of shaving cream: take clear nail polish and paint the bottom of it when you first get it.

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: This way, when the bottom of the shaving-cream can gets wet and it sits on the marble, it won’t form a rust ring because it’ll be sealed with the nail polish.

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: So just …

    TOM: See, these are things that guys would just never think of because, first of all, we wouldn’t have the nail polish.

    LESLIE: It’s a girl thing. Exactly. Well, you might but that’s a pantyhose thing. Never mind.

    TOM: We’d just let it rust.

    LESLIE: But, Lynn, what you really need to do is you need sort of – not something that’s super-abrasive but you need a rougher, liquid type of cleanser that you kind of have to create. And when you’re dealing with marble, it’s called a poultice or poultice? I can never say it. But you can make it out of a variety of things and you want it to be kind of thick and you can use something called kaolin or fuller’s earth or diatomaceous earth.

    And these are things that you would find if you ever went for a facial, because they absorb oil or in this case, stains out of a porous surface like your skin.

    LYNN: Oh, OK.

    LESLIE: And if you Google-search them, you can – they’re not expensive; you can buy them at a bunch of different places because they’re sort of meant for the beauty industry. Most of them are all-natural.

    And then what you want to do is sort of mix it with water until it gets to the consistency of peanut butter?

    LYNN: Right.

    LESLIE: And then you want to spread it on the stain to about a thickness of a ¼ to a ½ of an inch, with a wood or a plastic spatula. And then you cover it with white paper towel or in this case, a gauze pad: something that would absorb the stain up through this poultice and then into that piece of fabric or whatever it might be?

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: And then let it sit there covered for a day or two.

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: And it should draw out the stain. Of course, if it’s a rust stain and it’s been there a while, it could just be permanent. But because you’re dealing with a light marble and a lot of these are skin-lightening products, as well, you’re not going to have – you should not, I should say, have a discoloration. But that should do the trick.

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: And next time, just be careful.

    LYNN: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You’re welcome.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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