Often-Overlooked Cause of Stone Damage

Chemical Damage on Natural Stone

Improper cleaning products are the usual suspects when it comes to chemical damage on natural stone. Many people use stone-safe cleaning products, wipe up spills right away, use coasters, and take other preventative measures in an effort to preserve the elegant finish of their natural stone, but still mysteriously end up with chemical stone damage anyhow. How does this happen?

Overspray From Cleaning Products

Think about it. There are so many different surfaces in a typical home that are regularly sprayed, scrubbed, wiped, or otherwise cleaned, from glass, window blinds, and mirrors to appliances, furniture, and baseboards.

Overspray from cleaning products can easily land on surrounding areas, such as granite countertops, marble vanities, and travertine floors.

When acidic cleaning products commonly used on non-stone surfaces come into contact with the calcium in marble and other types of natural stone, a chemical reaction called etching can take place. Etching will appear as a roughness on the surface of the stone and sometimes leaves cloudy-looking white marks frequently  mistaken for “water stains.”

How To Prevent Overspray Damage

Just as you wouldn’t set to work painting a wall without first using painters tape and plastic or drop-cloth to protect surrounding areas, even so, you should take measures to protect your natural stone from overspray.

It might be overkill to mask and protect your marble vanity before you spray vinegar on your bathroom mirror, but it only takes a moment to spread an old towel over your vanity. Before you drench your window blinds with extra strength bleach cleaner, cover your marble window sill with saran wrap. If you are cleaning your baseboards, keep a bucket of water and a sponge nearby to quickly rinse and wipe away any cleaner that drips onto your natural stone floor. You get the idea.

Figuring out how to prevent overspray damage to natural stone isn’t difficult, and it can be accomplished in countless ways with what you already have laying around the house.


If your stone is already damaged from overspray, don’t panic. You don’t have to replace your natural stone. We can hone and polish the damage away and restore it to like-new.

This is one of a series of articles written and published  on behalf of Stone and Tile PRO Partners.