Removing Greasy Smudges From Marble Using The Cotton Swab Method
- Procedure code:
- Outdoor Sculpture Manual - Center For Public Buildings
- Last Modified:
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REMOVING GREASY SMUDGES FROM MARBLE USING THE COTTON SWAB
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 cleaning greasy
smudges from marble by absorbing the stain with cotton
swabs. This method is typically used for small localized
B. Grease stains are usually light brown or yellow in color.
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. Ethyl Alcohol:
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.
1. Other chemical or common names include Carbinol;
Methanol; Methyl hydrate; Methyl hydroxide;
Methyllic 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).
B. Mineral water
C. Cotton swabs
A. Glass or ceramic container for mixing the solution
B. Wooded utensil for stirring the ingredients
A. Examine the marble surface CAREFULLY to determine the
cause of staining before proceeding with any cleaning
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
A. Thoroughly rinse the area to be treated with mineral
B. Pour a small amount of mineral water into the container
to be used for mixing. Add an appropriate amount of
ethyl or methyl alcohol to the mineral water and stir the
solution with a wooden utensil. NOTE: The water/alcohol
ratio should be small, as the primary function of the
water is to slow down the evaporation of the alcohol.
C. Saturate a cotton swab in the solution and daub the
D. The oil from the stain should be absorbed into the cotton
swab. As the swab becomes soiled, substitute clean swabs
E. Repeat as necessary until the stain has dissipated.
NOTE: A polished marble surface may require repolishing
after treatment. See 04455-02-P "Repolishing Marble" for