He put a ring on it! Now what?

He put a ring on it! Now what?

September 04, 2014

Q: Help! My boyfriend put a ring on it, but not the kind of ring I was hoping for. He forgot to use a coaster on my marble countertop and now there’s a visible water ring. Is there anything I can do to remove it?

A: Even the most careful marble owners can slip up now and then, resulting in an unsightly mark on the beautiful marble. It happens. And water rings are exceptionally common. However, it’s important to point out that water marks are actually caused when the minerals in hard water accumulate and build up. You may have noticed this in another place too, as water spots are notorious around the faucet where the water drips down and lies on the surface. Here are a few things you can try for removing hard water spots:

• Use a gentle detergent with water. Scrub lightly with a soft bristled brush.

• If the buildup requires a little more elbow grease, gently buff the surface with a piece of dry super-fine grade (0000) steel wool.

• If the mark remains, very gently scrape the surface with the edge of a razor blade and wipe away the residue with a soft, damp cloth.

Arabescato Corchia

Arabescato Corchia Polished 3cm; photo via Marble and Granite, Inc.

If it’s a water spot, one of the steps above should help. If not, then we may be talking about etch marks rather than just hard water spots. Did your boyfriend have water in his glass or was it maybe coffee or juice? If so, the liquid inside may have dripped down the side of the cup. Etching happens when acidic substances are left on the stone and they actually begin to eat away at the top layers. Some materials will etch but not stain, whereas others will both etch and stain.

If the etch mark is mild, you may be able to remove it. Well, you’re actually going to “restore” the surface rather than “remove” the mark. Once you’ve removed any staining, wet the surface with clean water and sprinkle on a marble polishing powder/paste (such as TeETCH by Tenax) Rub the powder/paste onto the stone with a buffing pad. Continue buffing until the mark disappears and the surface appears shiny again. If the etch mark is more severe, you’ll need to hire a marble repair professional to re-polish the marble.

Keep in mind that if you have honed marble, or any other surface finish than polished, your best bet is to call a stone professional.

The best way to deal with water rings is to avoid them in the first place. You already know that coasters and cutting boards are necessary. Just be sure to have them available and remind your guests to use them.

Also, keep in mind that part of marble’s charm is that it’s like a living, breathing entity. The surface changes and evolves over time through use and age. That’s part of what makes it so unique. So while you may be able to remove this water mark, keep in mind that the “lived with” patina of marble offers a beauty all its own.


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