Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures
- Removing Ink And Dye Stains From Marble
- Procedure code:
- Outdoor Sculpture Manual - Center For Public Buildings
- Last Modified:
- Removing Ink And Dye Stains From Marble
- Last Modified:
REMOVING INK AND DYE STAINS FROM MARBLE
THE CLEANING OR REMOVAL OF STAINS FROM STONE MAY INVOLVE THE USE
OF LIQUIDS, DETERGENTS OR SOLVENTS WHICH MAY RUN OFF ON ADJACENT
MATERIAL, DISCOLOR THE STONE OR DRIVE THE STAINS DEEPER INTO POROUS
STONES. USE THE PRODUCTS AND TECHNIQUES DESCRIBED HERE ONLY FOR
THE COMBINATIONS OF DIRT/STAIN AND STONE SPECIFIED.
A. This procedure includes guidance on the removal of ink
and dye stains from marble by a combination of absorption
B. Wine, ink and dyes are generally water or alcohol based.
They are readily absorbed into dry stone when they are
spilled or applied to the stone. As the water or alcohol
base evaporates, the pigment residue is left deposited on
and possibly below the surface.
C. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
D. For additional information on poulticing, see 04455-02-R.
E. For general information on the characteristics, uses and
problems associated with marble, see 04455-01-S.
NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common
name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as
the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of
purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate
for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased
when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common
names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).
A. Methyl Alcohol (CH3OH):
1. Other chemical or common names include Carbinol;
Methanol; Methyl hydrate; Methyl hydroxide;
Methylic alcohol; Colonial spirits*; Columnian
spirits*; Green wood spirits*; Manhattan spirits*;
Pyroligneous spirit*; Pyroxylic spirit*; Standard
wood spirits*; Wood alcohol*; Wood naphtha*; Wood
2. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
3. Available from automotive supply distributor,
chemical supply house, dry cleaning supply
distributor, drugstore or pharmaceutical supply
distributor, hardware store, paint store, or
photographic supply distributor (not camera shop).
Ethyl Alcohol (C2H5OH):
1. Other chemical or common names include Ethanol;
Ethyl hydroxide; Ethylic alcohol; Methyl carbinol;
Cologne spirits*; Fermentation alcohol*; Grain
alcohol*; proof spirit*; Rectified spirit*; Spirits
2. Potential Hazards: FLAMMABLE.
3. Available from chemical supply house, hardware
store or liquor store.
4. Denatured alcohol, which carries no liquor tax,
should be a satisfactory substitute for ethyl
alcohol for stain removing purposes.
B. Hydrogen Peroxide (H202):
1. An unstable compound used especially as an
oxidizing and bleaching agent, an antiseptic, and a
2. Other chemical or common names include Peroxide of
hydrogen*; Solution of hydrogen dioxide*;
Superoxol*; (hydrogen peroxide is commonly sold as
a 3% solution; Superoxol is a 30% solution;
Superoxol causes flesh burns; 3% hydrogen peroxide
3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC (when concentrated);
CORROSIVE TO FLESH (gasoline, kerosene and mineral
spirits are each a mixture of compounds from
petroleum, all of which fall within a specified
range of properties); FLAMMABLE (in high
4. Available from chemical supply house, drugstore,
pharmaceutical supply distributor, or hardware
C. Ammonium Hydroxide (NH5O):
CAUTION: DO NOT MIX AMMONIA WITH CHLORINE BLEACHES, A
POISONOUS GAS WILL RESULT! DO NOT USE BLEACH ON BIRD
1. A weakly basic compound that is formed when ammonia
dissolves in water and that exists only in
2. Other chemical or common names include Ammonia
water*; Aqua ammonia*; Household ammonia*.
3. Potential hazards: TOXIC; MAY IRRITATE THE EYES.
4. Available from chemical supply house, grocery store
or pharmaceutical supply distributor, or hardware
D. Filler material such as Kaolin or Fuller's Earth
E. Mineral water
F. Plastic sheeting
G. Clean, dry towels for blotting the cleansed surface
A. Wood or plastic spatula
B. Waterproof container for mixing paste
C. Wooden utensil for stirring the ingredients
D. Masking tape
A. Examine the marble surface CAREFULLY to determine the
cause of staining before proceeding with any cleaning
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
A. For ink stains formulated from metallic salts, follow
procedures for removing iron stains from limestone and
marble (see 04400-06-R).
B. For non-metallic ink stains, mix methyl or ethyl alcohol
with filler material to form a thick paste the
consistency of oatmeal.
C. Thoroughly rinse the area to be treated with mineral
D. Using a wooden or plastic spatula, apply the paste to the
stained surface in layers no more than 1/4 inch thick.
The poultice should extend well beyond the stain to
prevent forcing the stain into previously clean stone.
E. Cover the poultice with plastic sheeting to prevent it
from drying-out too quickly.
F. When the paste has dried, remove it from the surface with
a wood or plastic spatula.
G. Flush the surface with household ammonia.
H. Thoroughly rinse the clean surface with mineral water,
blot with clean dry towels, and allow the stone to dry
I. If there is residual staining, repeat the treatment to
achieve the desired level of cleanliness.
Apply a bleach poultice containing a 6% solution of
hydrogen peroxide mixed with filler material. Follow
procedures C. through G. above.
NOTE: DO NOT USE BLEACH ON DARK COLORED STONES AS THIS
WILL CAUSE THE STONE TO LIGHTEN.
CAUTION: DO NOT USE MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA. THIS WILL
PRODUCE A TOXIC GAS
END OF SECTION