Oil stain in granite

hogarMarch 19, 2009


Do you know how to remove an oil stain from granite? My DH did the dishes last night and accidentally left some olive oil on the granite. It doesn't look like a big deal (about 1 inch) but I can tell and It's driving me crazy. Please adivse...:(

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I cleaned an oil mark off of a granite sample with denatured alcohol and a micro-fiber cloth. Please note that the sample was not sealed so I can't say for sure that non-diluted denatured alchol won't break down your sealer, assuming your counters are sealed.

I have heard of 4:1 solutions of water to denatured alcohold being used to clean granite so I assume at that concentration it is safe for most stone sealers.

I should also note that the sample was Indian Absolute Black which is very dense so the stain but not have been very deep. It may not have been a stain at all.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:12AM
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I think I'd try a little vinegar mixed with water, on a soft cloth, then wiped dry with a microfiber cloth.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:26PM
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Cleaning an oil stain off of your Granite with a "Pancake Poultice"
by Kevin M. Padden - AZ School of Rock / Natural Stone 101

Oils stains are very common in residential kitchens. We lead busy lives
and thus, stains can happen - heres how to remove one - easily and efficiently
and note - this is what has worked for ME - is it the ONLY way? - NO, but I say again -
this is the regimen that has worked for me...... since 1985.

Determine the staining agent - KNOWING what caused the stain is half the battle - in this case - itÂs an oil stain - so weÂll have to use a removing agent that will break up the oil in order to "lift it out" of the stone

Assemble your components that youÂll need to get the stain out - they are as follows:

a plastic throw away cup - I prefer the plastic solo type cups that are 16 oz size clear or colored - it does not matter - just that it is plastic and you can afford to throw it away if you want to. Do NOT use styrofoam as it will NOT work!
dry plaster of paris - available at any hardware store or big box home improvement center
Acetone or MEK Solution (methyl ethyl keytone) - SAFETY NOTE - these two liquids are HIGHLY FLAMABLE - when working with these - remove ANY & ALL SOURCES OF IGNITION - Like Smoking, turn off your gas range - turn off the auto pilot light device - these two liquids are really DANGEROUS - so treat them with respect, and keep the kids away while your mixing up and spreading out. Send them to grandmaÂs house r something like that so you wonÂt have to worry about them immitating what they see you doing, because this will look like fun to little kids (I know - I ARE ONE - IÂm a little kid trapped in grown manÂs body)
measuring cups to measure the liquid - youÂre not going to need alot - unless you have a really big stain
3M BLUE TAPE - Not WHITE, Not CLEAR - 3M BLUE TAPE!!! ONLY.... Many brands of white masking tapes will ;eave a residue from the adhesive thatÂs on them - making more work for you to do than just removing a small oils stain!!!! Trust me - I found this out the hard way back in 1985 - so consider your tuition paid in full for this lesson!!!
Clear Visqueen Plastic or Saran Wrap - depending on the size, youÂll need at least a 12" x 12" piece
a table spoon
a putty knife
close proximity to your sink with running water - most of these stains are in kitchens so this one should be a no brainer - that is - unless you are a total moron, which - in that case - A. stop reading this now, B. go watch Sponge Bob Square Pants..... and C. YouÂre going to be making alot more of these stains in the future, so D. get used to them... you DO NOT need to be fooling around with FLAMABLES anyways!!!


have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case - if you follow the rest of these instructions - thereÂll be no need to use it, but theses days, you have to "disclaimer" the living snot out of everything - just to protect yourself from the random twit that has no comon sense

A couple of cautionary notes to you BEFORE proceeding any further at this time -
1.THIS PROCEDURE WORKS BEST ON POLISHED GRANITES - Stones that are HONED, LEAHERED or ANTIQUED (where the surface is NOT POLISHED) may have some residue from the dried plaster of paris - so remember - unless your stone is polished - you may have to scrub the dried plaster off of the stone with LOTÂS of ELBOW GREASE - just wanted to make sure you KNOW what youÂre getting into - BEFORE you get there..... IF you have a piece of scrap of the same stone - do a "test run" on the scrap - to see how much the paster adheres to the textured stone.

2. TEST your stone to see if it was DYED. This is especially critical if it is an Absolute Black, Chinese Black or any stone that may have been DYED at the finishing factory prior to shipment here in the United States - There are (and this is really NOT a lot) a very small number of stone finishing plants overseas - where they cut up the blocks of Granite into slabs - and apply a topical coating of DYE to enhance the color of the stone. I have seen this in a few isolated instances in Absolute and Chinese Black - where the stone comes out of the ground actually more like a charcoal grey, and the finisher dyes the stone a jet black do it will sell better. Test a PIECE OF SCRAP stone that you have that is the same stone in your application - with a dry white cloth, some Acetone & MEK solution - take a few drops of each liquid and apply it to the SCRAP stone piece - immediatley rub the SCRAP - hard - with the dry cloth for about a minute. After a minute is up - look at your white cloth tha has the liquid on it - on the side it was in contact with the stone. IF I IS DARK IN ANY WAY - YOUR STONE HAS BEEN DYED. Proceed with caution, as the Acetone and or MEK solution will now - not only remove the oil stain, but also the dye - so use discretion on this or contact your Fabricator for assistance. Chances are your stone was NOT DYED - But test a piece of scrap FIRST - to be sure.

the same kind of sealer (if any) that was used when your stone was installed - look at your contract documents - many Fabricators will list out the brand - or you can call whoever did your stone to find out what the brand name and product name of the sealer that was used - THIS IS IMPORTANT - as the following procedure will reove the sealer (if any) from your stone, so youÂll need to put some more sealer back on in a kind of "spot application" just where the stone had the poultice (does tha make sense?)
a dry cloth - I like the old school baby diapers (like the kind that my mom had me in back in 1955) Pampers & Huggies available today will not work as good. Use some kind of dry 100% cotton cloth - preferably - white.

From here on out, weÂre going to presume that you have an oil stain on your Granite, your stone is POLISHED, was sealed at the time it was installed, and t is NOT dyed - for the sake of keeping this applicable to the masses......

Poultice Application

Turn off all gas ranges, your stoveÂs auto pilot light, stop smoking, extinguish all candles and other sources of fire ignition like sparklers, roman candles, flame throwers, and large bonfires - again, you should be dialed in with the safety stuff on this by now...OK???? THINK SFAETY

Get your plastic throw away cup, and into it, pour in about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of either Acetone or MEK solution that you measured in your measuring cup

Rinse out your measuring cup and wash quick with soap & water - set aside to dry

Start pouring in to the cup - your plaster of paris - in small amounts - like 1/8 of a cup at a time - you can eyeball this - you donÂt need to measure exactly - just keep pouring in a little dry plaster of paris at a time all the while - mixing with the table spoon - until your "mix" has the consistancy of pancake batter - not stiff, but nut runny like water

The clock is running on you now - so work quickly - 1. rinse off your table spoon and dry it - youÂll need it in few moments 2. pour out some of the "mix" onto the stain - donÂt waste time on steps "e" "f" "g" "h" and "i" - do them as quickly as you can - no more than 5 minutes total from start to finish
COMPLETELY cover the stain with the mix to a thickness of aproximately 1"

Get your now CLEAN spoon, and use it to spread out the "mix" so that it overlaps the perimeter of the stain by 1 inch in all directions - eg- if you have a 1 inch round stain, the mix should be spread out so that itÂs 3 inches in diameter - covering the stain and surrounding stone by 1 inch - to a thickness of about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch

Once the "mix" is spread out to the correct area size, get your plastic saran wrap or clear plastic visqueen, and cover your wet "pancake poultice" completely so that the plastic extends beyond the perimeter of your "pancake poultice" by another 2 to 3 inches on all directions (at least) - 5 to 6 inches is fine, but donÂt go too much past that - I like about 2 inches myself.

TAPE DOWN the plastic to the stone on all edges of the plastic so that you create a seal and the Acetone or MEK fumes will be trapped inside of the poultice assembly that you have now created. Remember to use ONLY 3M Blue tape for this step - (No... I do NOT get a kickback from 3M to say this - it sure would be nice - but 3M Blue Tape has NEVER failed me - so I am a very satified customer for life - or as long as they make it - IÂll be buying it - just wanted to make that point clear)

Keep the kids away from this when they get back from GrandmaÂs house, and leave this "Poultice Panckae" alone for 24 hours.

You can turn your gas range back on now, but donÂt smoke near the "poultice pancake" - better yet - donÂt smoke at all (easy for me to say though... I never have and I never will!!!)

AFTER 24 hours has passed - remove the 3M Bluetape and the plastic sheet that you put on yesterday when we were applying the poultice.

Get your putty knife, and carefully start to "pry" off the now hardened, white pancake - off of your stone counter. Be careful not to scratch your stone - Granite is very hard, but you can scratch it - especially - JUST when you think it wonÂt....

Once you have removed the "poultice pancake" from your polished stone, it should pop right off and leave little or no residue behind. You may have to wipe down the spot area, but in most cases - this will be the MOMENT OF TRUTH - did it work???

In most cases, a one time application of a poultice will do the trick, and youÂll be amazed at the results from this simple procedure, however, you may have to repeat the process over as many as two more times, or until the stain is totally gone.

Now itÂs time to re-apply a coat of sealer (if any was used originally on the work). You will not have to re-seal your entire kitchen - just they area that you had the poultice pancake on

Allow the sealer (that you have applied LIBERALLY) to sit on the surface of the stone for 5 minutes

Wipe off any of the excess sealer, and allow to dry - turn a fan on and open a window to help ventilate any fumes, and help dry the spot faster - you cab also use a hair dryer in "cold" mode - no heat should be used.

Once the newly sealed area is dried, the color of the stone should MATCH all of the surrounding stone - if this is the case - everything is perfect - youÂll just need to take that 1950Âs era 100% cloth baby diaper (clean of course) or a dry coth, and buff the stone a bit where the sealer was just applied. Once you buff out the latent sealer residue, you are DONE!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU DID IT!!! :-D

Now that you have removed the stain from your Granite, and it has been re sealed at the area where the stain was - thereÂs one more thing youÂll need to do - be more careful using oils in your kitchen! Remember that ANYTHING you spill on your stone - ESPECIALLY if itÂs "EVOO" (Extra Virgin Olive Oil - MY FAVE!) or regular vegetable oils or greases - WILL SOAK INTO THE STONE - Even THROUGH a coat os sealer. Immediate clean up is the key to NOT having to become a regular applicator of "Poultice Pancakes"!!!!

Watch for this to be posted also at naturalstone101.com

Thus endeth the lesson

hope that helps.......


Kevin M. Padden
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural stone Industry

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:52PM
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Gee- I was going to give you the Marble Institute of America's stain removal information. And I'm not even going to read the above long post, I'm sure he's right & I'd tell you basically the same thing.
Go to www.marble-institute.com for more info if you need it.
Good Luck:)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:14PM
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    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 2:14PM
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If granite is sealed will you still need to do Kevin's long scary procedure for a stain?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Depends on the granite and the quality of the seal :) We never worry about our granite, and yes, DH leaves oil out all the time. Lemon juice, wine, etc., he's a messy cooker and our granite is tough as nails (as is the sealer thank god)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:33PM
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Thank You Kevin, great information I am filing away, fortunately our granite doesn't seem to stain... :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:58PM
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OR, you can just leave it alone, and it'll evaporate out on its own in a few weeks. :-)

The reason I say that is because years and years ago, before all the different sealers came out, the best enhancer you could use for stone was either lemon oil or olive oil. But they had to be applied every few weeks, because the oil would dry out of the stone, leaving it looking natural again.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Whew, I couldn't finish the post above, but I'll tell you what worked for me. I mixed baking soda and water into a thick paste, cover with plastic wrap, and left it for a few days. I've also used that for small oil spots left by others on my driveway (hence, my dislike of strangers parking on my driveway!). You can also buy poultices, which I used on my marble and worked well after 2 tries.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:38PM
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Sorry for the long post everyone - and the typo's...

I just switched over to a Mac and wrote that piece up on "Mac Pages"
and it does not behave like MS Word which I am WAY more used to...
(I'm going to install Word soon)

I will have an easier version for you to refer to on Natural Stone 101 very soon


    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:29AM
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Thanks so much to all for your willingness to help me out!!! I'll try these procedures on a piece of granite they gave me as a cutting board. I'll keep you posted...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:30AM
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good info - I'm filing this away, too.

hogar - you may not be using the cutting boards they gave you, but in case you are you may not want to. Granite is really hard and will dull your knives quickly!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:06AM
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That cutting board would be better used as a trivet...

I wish I could have gotten my pieces but my fabricator's policy was that they didn't give them out.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 6:16PM
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this happened to me in my first kitchen. i made a paste with baking soda and water. let it sit on the stain a few hours then rinse off. it worked for me. (i was told this by the owner and installer)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 6:59PM
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I have found that IF a solvent is used - or a liquid that will
break up the oil -other than water - the results will be better -


Since I am going to be filming a podcast for Natural Stone 101.com
this week on doing the oils stain -
and then - GETTING THEM OUT - I'll try your method too -
(to see if I've been wrong all this time about using a water based poultice to get oil stains out...)

Should be interesting......

Best Regards


    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 9:07PM
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The mildest method is to mix baking powder and water, form it into a paste and cover the stained area. Once the paste is on, cover it with a plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. Wash it off the next day.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:18AM
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I used baking soda (not powder) and acetone (finger nail polish remover) mixed into a paste and let it sit overnight. Next morning washed it off with water and the stain was gone.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:35PM
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When I had a perfectly circular olive oil stain on a sealed Juparana Bordeaux counter top, the stain disappeared over a period of about three days, as I recall. No poultice, no anything. That was the first time something like that happened, so I remember freaking out and being reassured by Bill and a few other forum members, maybe three and a half years ago or so. Now I don't even think about olive oil anymore. (However, I do think it was a stroke of sheer, but accidental, genius that I chose a granite that matches port, marinara sauce, tomato everything, grapes, juices, various flowers, raspberry vinaigrette, etc.)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 2:15PM
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I mixed simple green and baking soda on my sealed granite - the spot went from a ring to fill the area where the mixture was. I then spread the mixture in an organic way to look like a granite vein. It's not gone but at least it's not a circle and I don't have to re-seal it.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2014 at 8:03PM
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